|Mere Brother Ki Dulhan|
|Ali Abbas Zafar|
|Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ali Zafar|
The plot is not new. Sorry Bhai ( 2008) had a similar story--the hero falls for his brother’s bride-to-be. It’s an audacious plot by conservative Indian standards. Perhaps the only acceptable way is to make a comedy out of it, and the only way to make it a hit is to add on Bollywood A-listers.
London boy Luv (Ali Zafar) has given brother Kush (Imran Khan) a task. Having just broken up with his girlfriend of five years, Luv says he wants to get married within a few months. ‘Before the end of the year, I want to be settled,’ he says, also citing how lonely it gets in London. Kush is on it. He takes a train to Dehradun to (perplexingly) pick a small town girl for his London-settled brother.
So he does the rounds of houses and endless samosas but doesn’t find the right girl. What he does find are 22-yr-olds whose fathers blatantly ask Luv’s salary (in pounds and rupees), girls who do “steeching”, and one who wants to be a film star.
A matrimonial ad leads them to a house where the girl is anything but regular. Kush knows Dimple a.k.a D (Katrina Kaif) from back in college where they had developed an unlikely friendship. She was the wild child with a guitar who held impromptu concerts illegally. He’s the kind who keeps to himself, but among the few who do not misunderstand her “friendly, open and bindaas” temperament. She appreciates that; he thinks she’s perfect and should never change.
Now they meet, years later, when he’s scouting for his brother’s bride. He still goes along with the plan. D is to marry his brother. All set. But then, of course, Kush falls in a dilemma.
The conflict is hardly probable. I mean who gives their brother a deadline for finding a bride, and who’d take such an impossible deadline this seriously? The ride may be all too familiar (the rom-com route of a conflict that resolves itself at the finale), but it’s still intermittently fun. The songs go all spoofy, doing a takeoff on Chaiya Chaiya, Dabangg, Amar Akbar Anthony and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Other portions too are sly winks at other films – the Sholay dialogue, and the letter-reading tradition of yesteryear films where the face of the writer appears on the letter. So far, so fun.
Debut writer-director Ali Abbas Zafar’s storytelling could have been far more sure-footed. Continuity jerks apart, the films leaves several questions callously unattended. What happened to Kush and D’s friendship once college was over? At what stage of life is D now? We see enough of her in the past, but know nothing about her present. And if she’s really doing nothing with her life except waiting to get married, isn’t that a character- sketch transgression?
There is further lack of consistency in her characterization. Her living life-to-the-fullest attitude gets interpreted as a rebel, and contrastingly, also as a ditzy girl with an infant’s IQ. So she thinks running away from home is fun, gets whiny, drinks beyond her capacity, mistakes someone on sleeping pills as dead (and doesn’t bother with the hospital), and so on.
Kush’s characterization is very simplistic, but at least it’s consistent. Luv’s character sketch is again a bundle of puzzles. He’s flirtatious but wants to marry, misses his ex-girlfriend but is happy to move on. You’re never quite sure what’s happening. The convoluted finale (too many things happening), finally makes way for the predictable ending.
The cast does well. Katrina Kaif rocks the show. As the free-spirited D, Kaif is fantastic. The scene where she’s being led away by the cops – rebellious swagger, steely eyes, unafraid smile—is priceless. Imran Khan plays the cool boyfriend from I Hate Luv Storys and Break Ke Baad. He’s instantly likeable here as well, and makes his good guy act believable. Ali Zafar (Tere Bin Laden) does well as the self-absorbed and confused brother.
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan has the sparking performances, the interesting pairing, and a few fun moments. But it’s essentially an assembly-line, rom-com product. Recommended for fans of this genre, who’ll be generous enough to forgive the film’s downsides.
Verdict: Two and a half stars