Katrina Kaif is a star. Bollywood really hasn’t played host to a bigger female celebrity since Madhuri Dixit; a stunner who can command a huge opening weekend, guarantee box-office success and effortlessly provide the viewer his money’s worth just by flashing a smile or knocking a thumka clear out of the park. Who cares if the film was trashy? Katrina wore a mini in it!
While that’s the public perception of the half-Caucasian girl, it is heartening to see Madame Sheila herself not being content with only being a picture-perfect showpiece, and hence trying her level best to experiment with roles and try to become an actual actress. Clearly, her ex-boyfriend, whose Bodyguard created moneymaking history for the industry last week, needs a lesson on craft dedication from her. Katrina Kaif is learning how to act, even when she seems to be doing just fine without it.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the most important thing about Yash Raj’s latest Mere Brother Ki Dulhan in which our Ali Zafar plays big brother to Kush (Imran Khan) in a film that dedicatedly sticks to its masala roots. So younger brother Kush is out to find a bride for his elder brother Luv (Why would you name your characters thus?) and finally hits upon the perfect bride in the form of Dimple (Katrina Kaif).
There is not much of a story to tell after that, which is why you might end up finding yourself either fairly amused or completely bored. However the general likeability surrounding the proceedings, especially in the first half, is undeniable, thanks to director Ali Abbas Zafar. Much credit also goes to some engaging music, witty dialogues and the three main actors.
Our Pakistani export, Ali Zafar, might just be the first actor from this side of the border to have actually made a mark on India’s film industry. He is, without a bias, the pick of the lot as he seems remarkably at ease in a role that requires both charisma and great timing. Zafar, surprisingly, has both, and he gets to shake a leg with Katrina. Quite a lottery for our Channo-boy!
Imran Khan – always looking like he’s ready to endorse Ponds cream or a vanilla ice-cream – does well, in spite of not having the typical ‘hero’ image that the film could have benefited from. Khan seems to know that acting is not his strength just yet and that works in his favour, as he doesn’t try too hard and you end up warming up to him.
And finally, back to the lady — Katrina Kaif actually does rather well in this film. Though most of her A-league contemporaries still command a better hold of the craft, Kaif might not be behind for too long now.
As for the film in itself, it’s endearing and funny because of its unpretentious ‘entertainer’ roots, but Ali Abbas ends up stretching the tale and the second half is nowhere near as much fun as the first. Originality and subtlety are nowhere to be found in a theatre screening this film but if that’s what you are looking for, I suggest you don’t enter it in the first place.
I am going with 3 out of 5 for Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. An unmemorable film that makes for a pleasant weekend outing, it’s a full-blown ode to the most outdated love triangle template of Bollywood.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, September 18th, 2011.