The recipe is simple and uncomplicated...
Take My Fair Lady.
Add Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye.
Spray Naseeb Apna Apna.
Sprinkle Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
Hey presto, Dulha Mil Gaya is ready to serve.
In fact, My Fair Lady has been a hot favourite of Bollywood. Recall Man Pasand [Dev Anand, Tina Munim] or Hum Tere Aashiq Hain [Jeetendra, Hema Malini]. Similarly, a number of storytellers have rehashed Rajshri's all-time hit Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye [Prem Krishen, Rameshwari] in various avtaars, over the years.
Dulha Mil Gaya is a mix of the above-named films. Like they say in filmi lingo, it's old wine in new bottle. So what? How different can a love story be, since this genre has been done to death in Bollywood? Point noted, but the narrative ought to be engaging if it has to strike a chord and that's where Dulha Mil Gaya falters.
Merely assembling A-listers and filming the movie at panoramic locations isn't enough. The film ought to have meat and that's missing here.
Let me elaborate. Debutante director Mudassar Aziz, who has also penned the script, borrows from the past, going for the tried-and-tested stuff, but the narrative, already low on fuel, comes to a grinding halt by the time it reaches its finale.
Donsai [Fardeen Khan], a young commitment-phobic debonair, is petrified with terms like marriage and long-term relationships. Samarpreet [Ishitta Sharma] is a quintessential Punjabi girl, for whom relationships are to be cherished.
Shimmer [Sushmita Sen] is a diva from the world of glamour for whom love and relationships aren't important in life as independence and success are. Pawan Raj Gandhi/PRG [Shah Rukh Khan] is a suave multi-millionaire whose heart still remains larger than his bank balance and for whom winning love is the only victory there is.
When paths cross for these four characters, they not only land up influencing each other with their outlook on relationships, but also get influenced themselves and learn a whole new meaning of the term.
Something that got ignited with D.D.L.J. continues to shimmer to this date. Our stories continue to travel from firangi land to the fields of Punjab. Dulha Mil Gaya too does that [initially], before My Fair Lady and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi take over.
To give the credit where it's due, Dulha Mil Gaya has some interesting moments, but the problem is they are few and far between. One expects things to perk up when SRK's character is introduced [in the post-interval portions], but your hopes go crashing as nothing worthy of note occurs.
The writing has gaping flaws, which are difficult to absorb after a point. The girl travels all the way from Punjab to Trinidad and Tobago, but not once do her concerned parents call to enquire how she is. Strangely, even the girl doesn't feel the need to inform them. If that's not enough, Sushmita takes upon herself to tame Fardeen, giving you the impression that she thinks from her heart. But when it comes to her relationship with Shah Rukh, she behaves in a rather odd manner. SRK, on the other hand, seems completely besotted by her, even though she never reciprocates his feelings. Hence, her somersault in the end - just because Ishita has given her some bhashan - doesn't look convincing.
Mudassar Aziz's direction is a shade better than his writing. And that's not saying much. Given the fact that newer stories are being attempted in these fast-changing times and in view of the fact that he had some of the best talents on board, Mudassar should've seized the opportunity and told a refreshingly different and absorbing tale. But he doesn't. Sure, a few sequences are clever and smart, but that's not enough. The music is of a mixed variety. 'Akela Dil' is groovy, while the title track is strictly okay. Cinematography is appealing.
Sushmita excels in a role that demands her to be hoity-toity. She enacts her part effortlessly. One wishes to see her more often on the big screen! Fardeen does a good job, especially towards the end when he's about to confess something vital to Ishita. Ishita delivers a sincere performance. It's a pity that a superstar like Shahrukh is terribly wasted in an inconsequential role. It may not go down well with his fans.
Mohit Chadha has screen presence, but gets no scope. Johny Lever is wasted. Ditto for Tara Sharma. Suchitra Pillai and Howard Rosemeyer are passable. Parikshit Sahni, Bina Kak and Viveck Vaswani are as usual. On the whole, Dulha Mil Gaya doesn't work!