(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
There are no “ten reasons why you should watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha.” There’s only one. Okay, there are two. First, the film’s music revives memories of a bygone era and second, the film has opened to good reviews.
The kitschy 90s music – mostly heard at dhabas, chai shops, bazaars, small towns, bus terminals, and in playlists of music connoisseurs like me – is back in this Yash Raj production that has Ayushmann Khurrana and first-timer Bhumi Pednekar playing the central characters. The film is set in the Haridwar of 1995.
The composition has all the ingredients of a perfect 90s Bollywood song: after years, Kumar Sanu and Sadhna Sargam team up with Anu Malik as the composer, who says Dard karara – a love song – sounds like a crisp roti.
We, of course, cannot forgive Malik for being true to himself. Recall his penchant for saying brainless nothings on ‘Indian Idol’ season after season. But you can’t forget his latest composition.
Dard Karara is shot in Rishikesh, under the famous Lakshman Jhula. The song rolls just before the end credits and is a celebration of the lead pair’s love after they patch up. Their marriage sours because the boy found his wife to be too fat and unattractive. He didn’t want to marry her, but buckled under family pressure.
A huge fan of Sanu’s voice, he runs a cassette shop in Haridwar with his father. The film is littered with snippets of songs from the 90s.
In the end, the husband and wife take part in a contest – called Dum Laga Ke Haisha – in which the man is supposed to piggyback his spouse until the finishing line. The winners get a reward of 10,000 rupees. Sanu makes an appearance as the guest who throws open the race. The once-sparring couple eventually win the race, and decide to live together.
In the song video, it’s not just the famous 90s musical trio making a comeback. For the viewer, a familiar terrain is revisited when you see the hero wearing a saffron suit and a satin shirt; the lovers make a grand entry as a motley group of dancers open the sequence; a tracking camera follows the gyrating performers by the banks of Ganga; dupattas, holi colours are made to fly in the air; multiple mug shots of the dancing couple are seen all over the screen. It’s the stuff that is meant for the big screen.
But it seems Malik, who made his debut as a music composer in the 1970s, is playing familiar tunes in his so-called comeback. Dard karara vaguely reminded me of ‘Saajan’, the 1991 super-hit film that had Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit in a love triangle. That’s not a bad thing, given Malik’s history of taking inspiration from multiple sources.
And it’s ditto for Tu, another familiar, but new Kumar Sanu song in Dum Laga Ke Haisha. It’s peppered with his unforgettable hay hay hay singing style.
Watch the film because it has a solid storyline, something “movies ought to have before they get made, the very thing that Bollywood forgets, unbelievably, so often.”