Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Hindi film Double XL earlier in the day. This weekend marks a three way tie with female protagonists at the centre of it. So for those who were saying that “female oriented films”(using this for a lack of a better term) aren’t being made, here is your time to support it! I personally would be covering the other two as well but first up I decided to choose Double XL simply because it looked the most promising of the three in terms of its subject. Its trailer seemed to be in a typical Ayushmann Khurrana zone which promised some good doses of humour with a heartwarming message. So then does Double XL manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Double XL traces the journey of two oversized females as they beat all odds to reach their goals. Now the subject in itself is a winner here especially since the showbiz has been used to projecting female protagonists in a particular template. There was once upon a time a “size zero” image that was doing the rounds which may have put so much pressure on young girls who would have been at an impressionable age(or even otherwise). Well it is best to accept ourselves the way we are, male or female, and if you are happy mentally then that is something that matters the most. But coming back to the story here – it was an opportunity to make something heartfelt. But it is the screenplay standing at 130 minutes that weighs down the whole film with some patchy and cliched writing.
Let me get this straight – I cannot praise a film just for its novel subject. The subject should be backed by a strong screenplay that is entertaining but also not preachy. And here is where the “formula” genre stumbles often. Either the drama gets too generic and cliched in its writing or the subject at hand is compromised in the name of entertainment. Unfortunately for Double XL, the former and latter, both hold true.
The film opens with two parallel tracks of two protagonists of the film and how they have been facing rejection in life due to their weight. I really felt the foundation was just not there – the track of Huma was still believable but the track of Sonakshi was frivolous and never had that empathy which is required while tackling a sensitive subject like this. While it is fine to consume it as humour, the drama would definitely lose out on its seriousness if it is treated as frivolous. But this is just the start.
The drama is watchable in parts with a few heartfelt scenes here and there, but it doesn’t hold your undivided attention completely. There is a considerable screenplay lag in the middle when the drama shifts to London. Not only is it half hearted but it drifts away from the main theme of the film. I wish there was a considerable effort in focusing on the theme and less on the far less important love story that just contributed to barely anything in the overall screenplay. And yes a little more sensitivity would not have made the messaging even more effective!
By the time the events leading up to the final act begin to unfold, giving drama some relevance and structure, you as a viewer are distracted which is such a shame. Even the final scene has a monologue which doesn’t leave any impact whatsoever and here was another flaw. I wish the messaging was more subtle which would have resulted in it being more effectively. So the only way I could sum up the screenplay was a missed opportunity, and in a very big capacity!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are corny and over the top. It is one thing to make things entertaining but if you are trying to be funny without actually being funny then it can be termed as irritating. The music is good here but the songs do hamper the flow of the drama. The BGM is far too generic to have any sort of impact. The cinematography and editing are alright. Director Satramm Ramani misses the mark here and by a huge margin. The drama lacked a female gaze which was very important making the drama neither entertaining nor impactful with its social issue messaging.
The performances are a mixed bag here. The film has three cameos(one of them is Shikhar Dhawan and keeping the other two under wraps) and all of them have a good impact here. Mahat Raghavendra as Srikanth is pretty good and has a quiet little charm to his character. Zaheer Iqbal is a good actor but here as Zoravar(Zo, Za whatever) he definitely goes overboard upto a point that it starts getting irritating. I am unsure about the brief given to him about his character but it didn’t work at all. Sonakshi Sinha as Saira does a good job here although it could have been a little more heartfelt. The best performance of the film is delivered by Huma Qureshi who is really good as Rajshri with a great presence.
Double XL is really “light” in its writing that weighs down the entire film making it a missed opportunity. Available in a theatre near you.