Thursday, 12 March 2015
Robinson L reviews the 2009 Bollywood romantic comedy Dil Bole Hadippa
Myself, Veera Kaur. Right and lefthand batsman.
So the cricket-prodigy protagonist of Dil Bole Hadippa introduces herself. Veera (Rani Mukherjee) is a world-class batsman who dreams of playing professionally. She gets her chance when English cricket player Rohan Singh (Shahid Kapoor) returns to India at his father's request. Choudhary Vikramjeet “Vicky” Singh (Anupam Kher), is tired of his team's nine-year losing streak to the team of his old friend, Pathan Liyaqat “Lucky” Ali Khan (Dalip Tahil). Rohan reluctantly agrees to shape up his father's Indian Tigers to defeat Khan's Pakistani Champs at the next annual match.
On the first day of tryouts for the new team, Veera is turned away at the gate because (to paraphrase the guard) “this is a man's game; go back and play in the girl's league.” That night, the male star at the Best Friend Dance Company run by Veera's uncle is too plastered to go on, and Veera has to play his part in the performance. Seeing as how this entails dressing up as a man, complete with mustache, it's only a matter of time before the obvious idea occurs to her.
You can work out the rest of the plot for yourself from there. Dil Bole Hadippa treads over excessively familiar ground, rarely if ever deviating from the standard formula. (Veera and Rohan begin their association with some semi-friendly bickering and from there continue a hot-and-cold relationship until the end.) But the cast and crew tell the story with such energy and exuberance that the result is a charming film which still manages to put a smile on your face.
Before I gush, I'll acknowledge the movie has its flaws. I went along with the bickering couple, but some of the girl-disguised-as-a-boy clichés still ground my nerves, such as the “oh no, I have to be seen as boy and as a girl at the same time” scene. And, of course, there's the scene where Rohan discovers she's really a woman, and then rejects her for deceiving him. Ptolemaeus pointed out that while he does of course accept her in the end (d'awww) he never properly apologizes for mistreating her like that.
Yeah, Rohan's kind of a jerk. Lovable, but a jerk.
These and other flaws not withstanding, Dil Bole Hadippa is a good movie; light on thoughtfulness, heavy on fun. Being a Bollywood film, it comes complete with an array of happy, upbeat, toe-tapping songs and dance numbers. Like this one:
(Lower quality, English subtitled version available here)
Heck, I'm the sort of guy who always resented the musical and dance routines which pre-seventies Hollywood films were obligated to include, because they brought all the action to a crashing halt. But the numbers in Dil Bole Hadippa? Carry on all day, as far as I'm concerned.
Simply put, Dil Bole Hadippa is lighthearted, escapist fun. While not geared to be intellectually challenging, the movie provides some interesting political commentary about India's relationship with both England and Pakistan. Doubtless, such discussion would be par for the course in India itself, but for an outsider it can be quite instructive.
If you're into lighthearted, escapist fun, feel-good comedy romances, and/or Bollywood song and dance routines, I predict you'll find Dil Bole Hadippa a good fit.
So forget your worries, show some heart / And shout out hadippa!
All quotes taken from the DVD English subtitles. No, I do not speak Hindi.
Themes: TV & Movies