Banner: Pooja Entertainment
Producers: Deepshikha Deshmukh,
Jackky Bhagnani, Mayank Jain,
Director: Aleya Sen
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Saqib Saleem,
Nidhi Singh, Srishti Shrivastava,
Supriya Shukla, Abhilash Thapliyal
Writers: Aleya Sen, Tonoya Sen
Sharma, Shiv Singh
Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Guru
For Bollywood filmmakers, writing a romantic script is not difficult as there are limited premises that work with the Indian audience. But bringing a fresh angle, with treatment, performances and feel of the film is where a director’s expertise comes in. And for her directorial debut, Aleya Sen has made quite an effort with Dil Juunglee.
The plot is basic – boy meets girl; they fall in love; and things go south. They meet again years later, and this re-ignites their feelings. But the subtle nuances of a modern day romance are very evident throughout the film, thanks to the talent of lead actors Taapsee Pannu and Saqib Saleem, who make up for the flaws in the screenplay.
The story begins with a struggling model and wannabe actor Sumit Uppal (Saqib Saleem) trying to make his way out of Delhi and get his big Bollywood break. He enrolls in an English-speaking crash course, which is taught by Koroli Nair (Taapsee Pannu). The two become friends and eventually fall in love. As they plan to take their relationship to the next level, cold feet and commitment issues come to the fore and they break up.
Seven years and mandatory makeovers later, they run into each other in London. Both of them try to act mature and even double-date with their respective significant others. While Sumit, a somewhat established actor now, is dating his co-star, Koroli is planning her wedding with a guy who is every girl’s dream man. As Sumit and Koroli try the friendship route, old feelings resurface. The movie unfolds as we see the two deal with their unresolved love.
As mentioned above, the story of this film is a version of something we have seen before, both in Hollywood and Bollywood. But there is a freshness to the film that will make you smile. The film is compact, going from one point to another without wasting any time but making sure the narrative is explained.
Sen’s writing shows strong influences of the reality of all relationships of today while retaining the essence of a sweet Hindi film romance. The film, with all its complications and tug-of-war feelings, is very relatable to the youth, which was a smart move on the makers’ part as they are the target audience.
Another plus for the film is the dialogue, which packs in fun one-liners as well as intense feelings, giving the audience a full package. Sen also manages to get the right essence of Delhi in the language, which lends authenticity to the characters.
While there are a lot of positives for Dil Juunglee, there are some negatives too. The film falls predictably at times, and more often than not, one can actually guess the next scene. Also, while Sen has managed to draw good performances from the main cast, some of the supporting cast is not strong enough to hold up the script.
There aren’t too many songs in the film and they are well placed. The remake of the classic track Ghazab ka hai din takes you back to the 90s, with its melody and romantic picturisation. Guru Randhawa’s Punjabi song Nachle na is a fun dance number. Other tracks are no chartbusters but blend easily with the storyline.
Director Aleya Sen had promised the audience a fun, youthful ride when the trailer of the film released. And she should be given credit for her attempt to deliver it. Dil Juunglee might not be a cinematic masterpiece but it gives you a whiff of the simple, uncomplicated love stories of yesteryear with a contemporary style.
Performance-wise, Taapsee Pannu is fantastic. Saqib Saleem is a delight to watch, with his Delhi-boy accent and quirky antics. Srishti Shrivastava as the best friend is annoying. Nidhi Singh is decent. Abhilash Thapliyal is okay. Supriya Shukla is good.
Verdict: A decent joy ride.