Dum Lakaga Kae Haiisha
By Adite Banerjie*............... Multiplex movies are quite a trend these days. Films like Piku are recent examples of that genre with impressive revenues at the box-office also. In terms of scale, budget, audience, these can best be categorised as middle of the road films. On the content front, they are not your run-of-the-mill, big-budget masala stuff. One such film is, Dum Laga KeHaisha, directed by Sharat Kataria. Set in Haridwar in the 1990s at a time when the VCR/audio cassette technology was on the verge of obsolescence, the film has a lower middle class guy (played by Ayushmann Khurana) as its protagonist who works for the family video cassette shop. A school dropout, who could never pass his English language exams, he is constantly harangued by his father. The other family members consist of his mother and an aunt. The story gets off the ground when he is forced by his family to marry an educated, overweight girl. Troubles brew between the couple as a result of this “weighty” issue and finally get resolved to a happy ending after many twists and turns. The character arc of the guy goes from a guy who ridicules his wife in front of his friends, to a guy who is more accepting. And the wife too transforms from a strong woman with a mind of her own (who aspires to become a teacher) into a loving, simpering housewife. On the plus side, the characters are very authentic and the film is a window to the world of small town India. The most endearing and funny moment in the film is when the couple fight it out by not exchanging a single word but playing songs of old Hindi films on the tape recorder. The climax revolves around a contest which is titled “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” where couples are engaged in an obstacle race. The men have to carry their wives on their back and race to the winning post. It is a crude metaphor for the obstacles of married life. The mandatory happy ending was perhaps to be expected. But, for a film that was otherwise totally rooted in reality with its authentic UP-tinged colloquialisms, it was a little difficult to imagine that a guy lugging his portly wife like a sack of potatoes would race past the others who were much fitter and slimmer! While it scores a point for not judging people (especially women) on their looks, it loses the plot in every other front. It seems to suggest that women are to be borne like a burden on the shoulders of their stolid and suffering husbands! *Adite is a romance author and screen writer

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