In the latest – but not the last – instance of a movie taking its title to heart, Double XL has broad humour, freighted emotions and immense bagginess. The loud enthusiasm of the actors is what lingers in a comedy that has something important to say but no interesting way of saying it.
Mudassar Aziz’s screenplay, directed by Satramm Ramani, revolves around two overweight women who become partners in a mission to shame the body-shamers. Rajshri (Huma Qureshi) and Saira (Sonakshi Sinha) challenge conventional notions of beauty, the bias towards thin women and hiring policies guided by appearance rather than competence. Never mind that the ultimate benchmark of success in Double XL is … a fashion show.
Rajshri’s girth has stalled her ambition of being a cricket commentator. Desperate to escape Meerut and her cacophonic mother, Rajshri teams up with Saira, a fashion designer who has recently learnt that love is fickle. United by similar experiences and a shared love for junk food, our heroines embark on a journey of self-discovery that fortunately takes them and all of us to London.
There, Saira and Rajshri meet Zorawar (Zaheer Iqbal) and Shrikant (Mahat Raghavendra) while shooting a promotional video for Saira’s label. Zorawar has a tendency of making do with whatever is at hand (a bit like this movie). Shrikant is fond of the gnomic thoughts that emanate from sweet-smelling cigarettes (a bit like this movie).
One of the high points in Double XL is when Rajshri’s mother (Alka Kaushal) shrieks at her: what was your dream, when did you have it and pray why? Despite confronting prejudices towards overweight women with a fair degree of honesty, the film is too fond of fairy tales to be revelatory.
Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha – both of whom gained weight for this film – take a valiant swing at indifferent dialogue, repetitive self-esteem tutorials, ghastly costumes and moments that frequently demand over-emoting. Mahat Raghvendra, whose Shrikant brings in a synthetic Tamil flavour, and Zaheer Iqbal, who exemplifies the film’s random quality, admirably bring up the rear. The actors are so busy having fun that they don’t even notice when Double XL wraps up its themes, says all it has to say, and then carries on and on.