Dil Bole Hadippa! (Anurag Singh, 2009)
I admit it—I’m a sucker for big Bollywood productions. (Which is odd considering how much I despise most American musicals.) I’m also a very big fan of cricket and I have generally been impressed with many of the “updated Shakespeare” attempts that have come across my screen (viz. recent Coriolanus review). So what we have here is a Bollywood movie about cricket that’s based loosely on Twelfth Night… it’s like someone went fishing in my brain and came up with the perfect combination of stuff. Which is not to say Dil Bole Hadippa! Is the best movie in the world or anything, but for what it is, it’s a barrel of fun.
Plot: Veera Kaur (Veer-Zaara‘s Rani Mukerji) is a cricket-obsessed young woman who’s sick of watching her small border town’s circket squad lose to the squad of their Pakistani neighbors every year. After their eighteenth loss in a row, she goes to join up and is turned away for being a woman. Problem? Not in Bollywood, where a glamorous young lady can smack on a mustache, don a turban, and become Veer Pratap Singh, who suddenly appears out of nowhere in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, and no one questions this! (Just run with it…) Meanwhile, Vicky Singh (Bend It Like Beckham‘s Anupam Kehr), the squad’s owner has a son, Rohan Singh (Chance Pe Dance‘s Shahid Kapoor), who’s gone off to become an international cricket star; Vicky convinces Rohan to come back and train the squad in preparation for next year’s match. So they have a trainer who knows the goods and a mysterious new star, and everything’s great… until Rohan starts falling for Veera. Cue comedy of errors.
There is nothing here you haven’t seen before, but Singh, an associate director since the mid-nineties stepping into the big chair (this is his second film as a director), has learned his craft well; it’s an engaging little movie with likable characters stuck into dumb, but funny, situations. Yes, you’ve got to suspend a whole lot of disbelief to get it to work, but it’s a Bollywood movie—if you’re not already suspending disbelief when an entire town suddenly breaks into a choreographed dance routine, you’re probably watching the wrong genre. There’s a fun script, a decent-if-not-yet-great director, and top-notch stars. There’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s romance, and above all there’s cricket. What more could you want? *** ½
Trailer. Engsubbed trailer.