Dolly Ki Doli
Director: Abhishek Dogra
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao, Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Rajesh Sharma
Bottomline: Funny in parts, Dolly doesn’t live up to the promise.
A light comedy that tries to make a social statement, Dolly Ki Doli is let down by uneven treatment and the inability of the lead player to break away from the image that the market has created for her. Based on a real life story of a girl who dupes young men after entering into matrimony, debutant director Abhishek Dogra has an explosive idea where an amoral girl exposes the duplicity of the society by using a ritual that is considered sacrosanct. Dolly could well have been the thief of Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye but Dogra wastes the opportunity.
He mounts the first heist involving the Haryanvi boy Sonu (Rajkumar Rao) well. Rajkumar’s chaste Haryanvi and misplaced confidence sets the tempo. The funny tone continues in the second episode as well when Dolly traps mama’s boy Manoj (Varun Sharma). The interplay between the fake family of Dolly and the real father and mother of Sonu and Manoj respectively provides hilarious insight into connubial business.
But soon the modus operandi becomes repetitive and cracks begin to appear in the screenplay. It is hard to believe that a girl who goes out all out to dupe men on a regular basis manages to eject from every knot without physical intimacy. She is not even tested. Then Dogra takes leaps of faith that don’t go with the mood that he has set. How Dolly’s accomplices come together and how she manages to operate without getting caught in these photo friendly times remain unanswered.
The entry of Saif Ali Khan in a cameo and the subsequent turn of events in the second half makes it look even more staged.
It seems like a rooted, subversive tale has been watered down to suit Sonam Kapoor’s urbane image targeted at teenagers. She plays the effervescent part well but there is no transformation as the narrative progresses from one boy to another as we never really get to know the core of the doll that Dolly is. Rajkumar Rao and Zeeshan Ayyub show how to do it even in a comedy. Thankfully, the climax is not a cop out but by then one had lost interest in Dolly’s escapades.