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Will Dream Girl be able to take the tradition of successful gender-swap stories forward?

It is safe to say that Raaj Shaandilyaa directorial Dream Girl might look different at first, but it is, in fact, cashing in on a tried-and-tested formula of the Hindi film industry.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi | Published: September 10, 2019 1:58:25 pm
ayushmann khurrana Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Dream Girl releases on September 13.

Ayushmann Khurrana is all set to play a woman in his upcoming film Dream Girl. Well, he will imitate the voice of a girl in the comedy-drama. But this is an interesting take on gender-swap, which both Bollywood and Hollywood have done successfully in the past. The movies in question might not have been critically acclaimed but they have surely managed to evoke laughter.

Perhaps the best example is the Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh starrer Rafoo Chakkar. The movie, which released in 1975, is still regarded as a kind of milestone when it comes to depicting same-sex love and gender swap stories on the big screen. The plot follows two friends, Rishi Kapoor and Paintal, who happen to witness a murder. In order to avoid a thrashing by the goons, they hop on a train dressed as women. What follows next is reminiscent of a Shakespearean comedy. The film was received fairly well, with Asrani even managing to secure a Filmfare nomination for his performance in the Narendra Bedi directorial.

victoria no 203 A poster of the Ashok Kumar starrer Victoria no 203.

In the Ashok Kumar starrer Victoria no 203, a female dresses as a male victoria driver, while in the more recent Dil Bole Hadippa, Rani Mukerji played a talented cricketer by the name of Veer Pratap Singh. These instances tell us that when it comes to ‘role-reversal,’ Bollywood movies have been playing the game for a good few decades now. In fact, Victoria no 203 was quite the success and spawned remakes in other languages as well like Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and even Kannada.

As it so happens, the Hindi film industry is not the only one to have cashed in on this interesting angle of ‘gender-bender.’ Hollywood has been at it for years as well. Of course, the blockbuster Mrs Doubtfire comes to mind immediately wherein the late Robin Williams portrayed the iconic Mrs Euphegenia Doubtfire. A much loved Hindi film called Chachi 420, starring Kamal Haasan in the lead, was inspired by Mrs Doubtfire. Both the movies did good business and went on to achieve cult status.

kamal haasan Kamal Haasan in a still from Chachi 420.

Therefore, it is safe to say that Raaj Shaandilyaa directorial Dream Girl might look different at first, but it is, in fact, cashing in on a tried-and-tested formula of the Hindi film industry. However, this doesn’t mean the project is lacking in potential. A good script and sound performances will work in the movie’s favour. And if Ayushmann Khurrana’s previous projects tell you something, it is that the man doesn’t just give his nod to every other project that comes his way.

Director Raaj comes from a comedic background, but the kind that often falls back into the safe and simplistic zone of slapstick comedy. He has written scripts for Comedy Circus, Kapil Sharma and Krushna Abhishek. Raaj has also penned the dialogues of movies like Welcome Back and Jabariya Jodi. However, will the experience of the director prove to be a perfect fit for the lead star’s risk-taking abilities? For the answer to that question, we will have to wait until the release of Dream Girl on September 13.

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