In a stereotypical Bollywood movie, we have seen a beautiful, almost flawless girl moving about exotic locations and a love-struck boy trying to achieve success in form of this girl. With the multiple twists and turns interspersed in 3 hours along with several action, romance and emotion-packed scenes, the hero ultimately wins the girl over and the movie ends on a happy note. This is actually Bollywood, something that can hardly ever turn into reality. People watch this movie mostly for the beautiful girl, the hot hero, the scenic locations and some just for the heck of watching a new flick every week. The viewers know the differences between the ‘reel and ‘real’ lives and hardly ever try to connect with the characters in these over-the-top conventional Bollywood flicks.
And once in a while, you get movies like ‘Dum laga ke haisha’. Coming from the Yash Raj banner, one would expect it to be the same rom-com with a far-fetched story. That’s only till you watch the trailers. In the first theatrical, a fat lady was seen swinging her body while dancing, trying to match steps with the very realistic looking hero along with the booming voice of Kumar Sanu, which was a welcome change from the current hot favourite Yo Yo Honey Singh. The songs and the setting of the movie set in the 1990s at once struck a chord with most of us coming from an era before 2000! And thus, like many others I opted to watch this unconventional Yash Raj movie, even before reading reviews which suggested this movie is a must watch!!
Coming to the movie, the story is about a not-so-intelligent hero who is forced to run a cassette-shop because he could not perform well in exams, the main killer being the English language subject itself. Although he is quite satisfied with his job, being a huge buff of Kumar Sanu, his family condemns him into marrying a fat, not-so-beautiful yet well-qualified girl. Owing to his low academic credentials, he does not get say in his own wedding and life, and ends up sulking because of the tragedy that befalls him. The movie has extremely realistic and relatable characters, the locations are soothing and not pretentiously fancy and the songs rendered by the lead playback singers go well to keep the pace of the movie. The story involves the same-old conventional plot in a way, where the hero and heroine end up together as a happy couple. What is different is how this ultimately materializes, inspite of the physical, emotional and ego-related hurdles they face. What is beautifully and realistically portrayed is how the protagonist realizes that the external appearance of a human being is not the crux of a person or more specifically a girl. It is the inner beauty that actually makes the person wonderful and worth loving, living and dying for!
One may again ask, it is based on the same old Bollywood plot, then why this frivolous praise. However, the praise is not even a bit frivolous, it is every inch well deserved. For this movie brings to fore a subject very close to reality. The acceptance of the girls with not-so-great physical attributes in matrimonial alliances, which form the majority of the female population in the world, more so in India-some would argue is still difficult. In this male-chauvinist society rooted all over the world, with India scoring in the top few, injustice is often met to a majority of these girls. Most of them are refused in infinite proposals during arranged marriages, whatever the other mental, social, professional attributes be. If the girl does not have pleasant physical attributes, there are only a handful of rational people who consider these proposals as decent matrimonial alliances. What happens to the rest of the majority, I am not sure. Most probably, they end up having to marry against huge dowries, with widowers or divorcees or may be worse. I am afraid if they get a say in the most important decision of their life, additionally because of shortage of options. Every matrimonial advertisement in newspapers or online websites seek fair, slim and beautiful girls, as if having a lesser of the physical attributes will make them any lesser of a person! This is the plight of girls in ours and many other countries, even in the 21st century. Here comes the importance of this movie. This movie conveys a very strong point: the irrelevance of physical attributes in portraying the true character of a person. There’s more to every person than beautiful looks, the intelligence, the understanding and the sensibility needed to run a family are more significant. The movie demonstrates: how once past the physical prejudices, every person is lovable in their own special way! Only then you can realize how wonderful, kind and compassionate, loving and caring and truly a gem that person is. All you have to do is get past that. Once you are, you realize the ultimate truth. That inner beauty is what matters in life. Always.
A salute to this movie for dealing with a sensitive topic with such aplomb. And in it’s becoming a commercial success, I hope it opens the eyes of millions of male chauvinists; makes the lives of a majority of girls like us, slightly easier. And eventually help everyone to look beyond the physical appearances to discover the inner beauty of the people around!
Thank you ‘Dum laga ke haisha’!:)