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Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



Dolly Ki Doli (Dolly’s bridal palanquin), Review: The Milky Way

Dolly Ki Doli (Dolly’s bridal palanquin), Review: The Milky Way

Dolly Ki Doli is about a cheat called Dolly, and her support gang of confidence tricksters. Their modus operandi is that Dolly’s so-called brother Raju identifies prospects, then Dolly and the gang lures these eligible bachelors into falling in love with Dolly, leading on to marriage. On the wedding night, Dolly serves drug-laced milk to the groom and his immediate family, ensuring they fall into deep slumber, and the gang then decamps with the groom’s wealthy possessions. Inspector Robin Singh is assigned to go after the gang and nab them. He is initially reluctant, but when he sees a sketch of the suspect, he agrees.

Debutant director Abhishek Dogra, who has previously assisted R. Balki on the Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan starrer Paa, spent six months chasing producer Arbaaz Khan (also an actor, brother of Indian superstar Salman Khan and husband of Malaika Arora Khan), but as soon as Arbaaz heard the story, he bought it. Perhaps it was not such a good decision after all. The title is a mere alliteration, kept for recall, for there is no real Doli in the film. Moreover, the heroine changes her name down the line, to avoid the police, something she ought to have done every time, if she had any brains. Wedding caper after wedding caper passes off like clockwork, which is incredibly hard to believe. Umashankar Singh and Abhishek Dogra’s script meanders along, with few twists, and just a couple of good punches, one of which features the old granny, programmed to utter just one line, and the other when instead of drugging the milk, Dolly….. As director, Dogra makes some good use of Sonam Kapoor’s latent talent but is unable to exploit the immensely talented Rajkummar Rao to the fullest.

Sonam Kapoor as Dolly is energetic, but her dialogue delivery is still lethargic and her pronunciation slips in some places. A con-woman? A trickster? A woman who revels in looting and cheating? That veneer wears thin on Sonam’s persona. It’s tough to decide whether tall and plump (early days) suits her better or tall and lean (as in DKD) does. Here, she is often shot at angles that make her look even taller. Never mind the scene where a mother refuses to marry her son to Sonam because she is taller than him.

Pulkit Samrat (Fukrey, O Teri, Jai Ho, Bittoo Boss) as Robin Singh look like a cross between a young Salman Khan and Aamir Ali of TV serial FIR. He has a smallish role, with little or no depth. There are a few scenes at the end, but those are hardly convincing. Rajkummar Rao as Sonu Sarawat is good, as usual. Except for his push-button, albeit disarming smile and the slight slur in his rapid fire speech, there is little you can fault him for. Varun Sharma (Fukrey, Rabba Main Kya Karoon, Warning, Yaaran Da Katchup) as the short groom hams, yet draws some laughs. Gulfam Khan (Ek Haseeena Thi, Talaash, Lakshmi) as Sonu's Mother is delightful, and even more delightful is the actor who plays Sonu’s father (Rajesh Sharma?). Manoj Joshi just goes through the motions as the gang-leader who plays Dolly’s father, while Brijendra Kala’s Sub-Inspector Khan act is a patchy mumble and he hardly looks his part. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, playing Sonam’s ‘brother’, has a spark.

Archana Puran Singh will be Archana Puran Singh, and Malaika Arora Khan (Mrs. Arbaaz Khan in real life) will be Malaika Arora Khan. Her toned body may no more induce wolf-whistles on a scale it used to, but the number she sways to is easy on the eyes, and has catchy lyrics. Besides MAK, there’s Saif Ali Khan, also in a Special appearance. It’s a highly contrived role. To his credit, he gives it some dignity, and underplays quite well.

Music directors Sajid-Wajid have five songs to play with, and four of them barring the title song, are above average. The fixation for 1930s-40s nasal singing in item numbers continues unabated, even two decades later. Here you have Mamta Sharma belting out ‘Fashion khatam mujhpe’, while de rigueur Sunidhi Chauhan is again summoned to play to the gallery in ‘Phate tak nachana’ (dance till it tears: what inspired poetry!). But what takes the cake is ‘Babaji ka thullu’, an end credit roll song that has obscene innuendo written all over it. But why single out this song? There is a generous dose of double-entendre and foul language all along the palanquin’s journey, till the end. Mercifully, the journey lasts a mere 100 mintes.

Rating: **


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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