Would lactose intolerance have saved con artist Dolly’s victims from being cheated?
Dolly (Sonam Kapoor) has a routine that you can set your watch by. She bats her eyelashes at impressionable young men, creates a convincing family set-up comprising parents, a brother and a grandmother, goes through the nuptials, knocks out her husbands on the wedding night by plying them with drug-laced milk, and decamps with the loot. Dolly practises her trick on groom after groom, never stopping for a minute to wonder what would happen if any of them insisted on another beverage to facilitate the consummation.
Dolly the Virgin doesn’t even appear to be aroused by the smell of money. Her motivations to cheat families of their wealth aren’t strong enough to justify the glee with which she faking her affections. Nor are her escapades too convincing. Dolly’s collaborators, including her fake father (Manoj Joshi) and brother (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub), travel together like a unit wearing identical T-shirts that scream, “We Will, We Will Con You.” The weddings are orchestrated to the hilt, with even the photographer, videographer and priest in on the heist.
It’s only after Sonu (Rajkummar Rao) has his heart broken and his cupboard emptied out that the napping police wake up to Dolly and her Travelling Circus. Investigating officer Robin (Pulkit Samrat) clenches his jaw and puffs out his chest, for he knows something about Dolly that will be revealed only later. Samrat is the movie’s nominal hero, and Varun Sharma plays Dolly’s other target Manjot, but this is Rao’s show all the way. Munching his dialogue with an accent as thick as the sugarcane fields he owns, Sonu is the movie’s most perfectly realised character, whose outrage conceals a velveteen heart.
Abhishek Dogra’s 98-minute mishmash of the 2013 Punjabi comedy RSVP Ronde Saare Viah Picho and the Hollywood production Heartbreakers coasts along on its wafer-crisp running length. The humour is easy on the ears, the assorted characters mug gamely, especially Archana Puran Singh’s smothering Punjabi mother, and the premise fulfills the romcom’s basic requirements. Some work was needed on the key characters, especially Dolly, and some thought should have been given to whether the subplot of Ayyub’s Raju, Dolly’s partner in crime and her admirer, was required at all.
The movie’s greatest advantage is its business-like interest in racing to the end credits. Hindi romcoms usually stretch on like historical epics. Dogra drops the curtain soon after he has raised it, as though realising that like the bare jewellery boxes, there isn’t much here to see.