By Subhash K. Jha
Film: "Dulha Mil Gaya"; Cast: Sushmita Sen, Shah Rukh Khan, Fardeen Khan, Ishita Sharma; Director: Mudassar Aziz; Rating: * 1/2
There is only one reason why this hideous satire gone awry can be tolerated for a bit. Sushmita Sen playing the broadly satirical and hugely self-important Shimmer just simmers on screen!
Dazzling despite her fluctuating weight, in-sync with her character in spite of a script that doesn't seem to know its mind, and utterly oblivious of the bustling mess that first-time director Mudassar Aziz has created, Sushmita just has so much fun with her character.
Sadly no component in the plot supports Sushmita's unique ability to create a woman who is simultaneously sexy and cerebral. How did Aziz think he could pass off this exotic but idiotic echo of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 1969 "Pyar Ka Sapna" as a contemporary take on commitment-phobia?
There are some interesting sporadically-touching moments in the mish-mash of chaotic comic timing and misguided social messages. Watch Sushmita in that moment when all her cynicism about the validity of the sweet innocent village girl from Amritsar dissolves in a fleeting close-up. That moment is worth more than the entire film.
"Dulha Mil Gaya" seems to endorse garishness in place of glamour, hedonism rather than a high-life and a ceaseless stream of awkwardly-written jumble of scenes that would probably be rejected in a halfway decent American sitcom on the haughty heiress and the incorrigible playboy.
Sushmita is every inch the haughty heiress. But how much of the rest of the cast ranging from Fardeen Khan to the over-the-top Howard Rosamayer (playing the effeminate man Friday) can she control?
One expects the screen to light up when 'guest' star Shah Rukh Khan turns up in the second half. Tragically the anarchic humour of the second half dips to an all-time low, leading to a fractured climax that even the most diehard romantic would find hard to stay awake for.
Yes, the first half has its interesting interludes. Shimmer's first encounter on flight with Samarpreet (Ishita Sharma), the poor lost bride looking for her playboy husband in Trinidad, crackles because of Sushmita's patronising preening. The way Shimmer takes the bereft Samarpreet under her wings could have been done with more restraint and panache.
The gaudy interiors just don't match with the natural scenic splendour of the Trinidadian outdoors. Artificiality is the middle-name of this wacky wedding on speed.
Most of the time we get the feeling that the crew of this film went to Trinidad to party with noisy music for company. Someone forgot to carry the script for this corny Caribbean cruise.
It's largely unbearable even for diehard Sushmita Sen fans.