Simply feel good!
By MovieTalkies.com, 18 September 2009
Director Anurag Singh's Dil Bole Hadippa, for Yash Raj Films stays true to the tried-and tested Yash Raj formula of feel good fare. The film is sweet and receives a terrific boost from the combined efforts of Rani Mukherjee and Shahid Kapur and, of course, cricket. The debutant director may not have exactly cracked a sixer on the first ball like the protagonist of his movie, but he definitely shows promise.
Cricket has been married into Hindi films on a quite a few occasions but they have not all been as success as say a Lagaan was, but Singh gives it his best shot and the effect is not at all bad. Of course, it calls for a little suspension of disbelief and one just has to go with the flow of the script. The lesser players hardly get anything worthwhile to do and it is a bit sad to see Anupam Kher playing a role which has so little in it for him. That is one of the problems with the movie. The makers could have taken anybody else instead of Kher and it would not have made a darn difference to the movie. Besides Kher, even actors like Poonam Dhillon, Dalip Tahil, Sree Vallabh Vyas, Vrajesh Hirjee hardly have anything to do and very few dialogues to speak. Of course, Sherlyn Chopra and Rakhi Sawant get a better deal as they at least get to do what they do best unlike the others.
What really lifts the film, besides the cricket factor, is the chemistry between Rani and Shahid. In a sense, the duo is absolutely unsuited to each other, but because of their acting prowess, they really seem to switch on the chemistry, and how in this movie. It's a treat to watch them as they are as different as chalk from cheese. Shahid is a much more studied and meticulous actor while Rani seems to be the more spontaneous of the two. However, they both seem to have made an effort to be at ease with each other and that shows in the movie.
Like we said, the film's story does call for suspending one's sense of judgment. Veera (Rani Mukherjee) is a typical Punjabi kudi, all heart and a die hard patriot. She has this dream of playing cricket for India and opening the innings with Sachin Tendulkar. Despite being better than all the boys in the Punjab, she is unable to fulfill her dream of making it to any cricket team as the men will not allow her to play with them. And there is no women's cricket team conveniently located for her to enlist in it.
Anupam Kher, one of the rich men of that part of Punjab, has a team of players who play the Aman Cup every year with a team from Pakistan, which is owned by his childhood friend, played by Dalip Tahil. For the last eight or nine years, Pakistan has been thrashing Kher's team. After yet another loss, he calls in his son Rohan, (Shahid) from England, on the pretext that he has an heart attack. He has been long separated from his wife, played by Poonam Dhillon who lives in London with their only son. Rohan learns a little about love and India when he encounters Veera. She, on the other hand, dresses up as a sardar and gets herself selected in the trials for the Aman Cup. She is easily the team's best batsman and has the ability to hammer every ball of an over for a sixer. Day lighting as Veer on the cricket field and Veera in the Sarason Ka Khet, she succeeds in getting Rohan to fall in love with her and India. But Shahid discovers her fraud in the middle of the match and is stung by her deceit and misreads it. He is left with no other option but to allow her to bat when his team is down to nine wickets with only him standing on the other end. After that Veera takes over as Veer and slams the opposition for sixes galore. The film then moves to its logical conclusion and all ends happily.
The film has been tailored to fit for Rani Mukherjee, with Shahid sharing almost equal weightage. But the result is that most of the other characters get totally neglected and that does not work to the film's advantage. If it was any other actress besides Rani, it would have been difficult for her to carry the role through. It requires an actress of stature and charm, who has it in her to beguile the audiences into accepting her as the Sardar who can hammer any ball, no matter who the bowler, for a six. But since Rani has oodles of charm and the talent, she emerges as the winner. She is absolute at ease in this setup and it shows in her performance. She also seems to be looking quite radiant and happy, making her perfect for the role of Veera and Veer. But, yes, as an actress, there is no new ground that she is breaking here. She's been here before.
Shahid is a perfect foil to Rani and slips into his character quit easily. He rises above the script and makes more of his role than there is. One of his best scenes is when he discovers that Veer is actually Veera. He matches Rani step for step in the dance sequences and is equally charming in their interactions as Rohan and Veera.
Anurag Singh tells a sweet story but his screenplay is quite faulty in places, and at others, he neglects to smell an opportunity to add value to his script. There is hardly any scene in between which shows how Veera deals with her other teammates in the locker room. She seems to find it so easy to slip in and slip out of her disguise, that it takes quite a bit of believing. There is hardly any interaction that she seems to share with her uncle or any other others that she works with in the nautanki company.
However, like we said, cricket and the two lead actors seem to carry the day through for this Yash Raj venture. The film's music suits the mood of the movie and is upbeat and racy. The film gets its look right for a Yash Raj movie and one cannot complaint about the production values. But in the final analysis, the film's fate really rests on how well the audience takes to this feel good fare. It is a breezy tale at the end of the day, with little room for angst and tears. For the rest, it is only about saying Hadippa!