By Taran Adarsh Bollywood Hungama News Network
Cricket, like Bollywood, is an addiction for a wide majority of Indians. DIL BOLE HADIPPA tries to capture the spirit of the game and the aspirations of a sportsperson, who's keen to play for her pind. On paper, the concept, which bears an uncanny resemblance to SHE'S THE MAN, sounds interesting, but the problem is its writing, which is tame and mediocre.
Let's elaborate. The plusses, first...
It's mandatory for cricket-based films like LAGAAN and VICTORY, which conclude with a cricket match, to have a thrilling finish. DIL BOLE HADIPPA too has a awe-inspiring end.
Also, the story of an ordinary girl who aspires to play cricket for the national team is motivating, with Rani Mukherji handling her part with complete understanding.
But there's a flipside too. The romantic moments between Rani and Shahid Kapoor lack fizz. Even the assorted characters in the film, like Sherlyn Chopra, Vrajesh Hirjee and Rakhi Sawant, contribute nothing to the film. They're mere props.
Final word? You expect DIL BOLE HADIPPA to score a century, like several films churned out by Yash Raj. But it settles down in the half-century range. Strictly average!
Veera [Rani Mukherji] is a fire-cracker of a girl who lives in a small village, but chases big dreams. She works in a local theatre group, but dreams of playing cricket in the big league. Yes, believe it or not, she wants to play with Tendulkar and Dhoni for India.
While Veera dreams on in India, Rohan [Shahid Kapoor] is an accomplished captain of a county cricket team in England. Rohan returns to India to captain his father's cricket team, which has been losing consecutively for the last 8 years.
In a village where girls don't play cricket, Veera has to put on a turban and beard and become a man to fulfil her dreams. Her brilliance on the field earns her a place in Rohan's team and Veera Kaur becomes Veer Pratap Singh. But what happens when the secret is out?
DIL BOLE HADIPPA has a patchy script. It's interesting initially, but takes the beaten path later. Rani's obsession for cricket is well established at the outset. So is the friendship between Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil [who heads the Pakistani team]. Also, the initial scenes between Anupam and Shahid are well integrated in the story.
The film shows promise when Rani transforms from Veera to Veer. All this happens in the initial 20-25 minutes, but the story comes to a screeching halt thereafter.
Problem begins... Shahid loses his heart to Rani and the film suddenly turns into a love story. Sherlyn surfaces in between to spice up the proceedings, but nothing happens. The conflict during the finale - when Shahid learns the truth - doesn't make the desired impact either. Even the re-emergence of the mother [Poonam Dhillon] in the story looks like a complete compromise from the writing point of view.
However, the match between the Indian and Pakistani teams in the climax is well executed and though the viewer is well aware what the ending would be, it keeps you hooked nonetheless. Unfortunately, the final speech by Rani [after the match is won] is outright predictable. The film would've benefitted with an innovative end.
Anurag Singh shows sparks of brilliance at times, but how one wishes the debutante director and his writers would've come up with a solid script. Pritam's music doesn't help either. Barring the title track, the balance songs are plain average. Cinematography is nice.
DIL BOLE HADIPPA belongs to Rani and as always, she delivers a sparkling performance as Veera as well as Veer, carrying both the roles effortlessly. Shahid plays second fiddle to Rani, which is very surprising. Nevertheless, he enacts his part well. Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil lend decent support. Poonam Dhillon has nothing to do. Rakhi Sawant and Sherlyn Chopra are wasted. Vrajesh Hirjee is passable. Shri Vallabh Vyas does well.
On the whole, DIL BOLE HADIPPA is an ordinary fare. At the box-office, the film has some chances in North mainly thanks to the Punjabi flavour. The holidays ahead may help its prospects at plexes essentially, but the single screens will be dull.
Bollywood.com Rating: 3