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ONCE upon a time when love was a less complicated mess, Bollywood spark Aditya Chopra made Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, in turn triggering off an entire generation's romantic fancies. In the decades that followed, DDLJ pretty much defined the template for filmmakers chasing the mush mantra moolah.

Shuffling that template this time is Karan Johar, self-confessed DDLJ addict who incidentally was a starry-eyed assistant to Adi Chopra on that film (he also had a tiny cameo). K. Jo, who today towers among the Bollywood power set, borrows the basic DDLJ formula and turns it head on.

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, HSKD if you want it cuter, is an all-new flavour of familiar syrup. You get all over again Punjab da pind plus sarson da khet, bhangra binges and the shdi ka ghar hoopla. The soni dulhania-to-be is chased by the city-slicker dude right into her home turf even as she is all set for an arranged marriage of her kadak pitaji 's choice.

While on kadak pitaji, that vital accessory every Bollywood piece of mush must have is loyally maintained. Ashutosh Rana tries out the late Amrish Puri's shoes, eyeballs suitably bulged out at all times.

The departure: K. Jo and debutant director Shashank Khaitan set out to reverse the DDLJ formula.

This time, the desi boy is the hero, a flawed fumbler. The NRI dude who arrives in India is perfection personified. Dulhania, too, gets an oomph twist. Nice girls from Ambala don't mind strutting the chutzpah anymore.

Plus, she can out-guzzle the guy in a beerdrinking binge and doesn't mind the odd pre-marital romp.

Varun Dhawan plays desi boy Rakesh Sharma, Humpty being his pet name, and he is the son of the university bookstore owner at DU. The package is less ambitious, proportionately lower in budget than DDLJ, so Delhi substitutes DDLJ's European vacation as the hero-heroine's frolic backdrop.

Heroine Kavya (Alia Bhatt) arrives in town for shdi shopping from Ambala. She meets Humpty, he falls for her after the routine nch-gna / tamasha quota that brings them closer, she heads back home for marriage, he decides to chase her to Ambala and to prove he is her right match.

HSKD makes the DDLJ cliches trendier.

The mix of melodrama and mush is maintained, but the package is fresh, feel-good fun. Where Khaitan's screenplay departs is in visualising of characters. Varun, Alia and Sidharth Shukla (cast as Kavya's NRI suitor) impressively seem like people who could indeed exist.

Well okay, let's say exist with a pinch of salt. It's a Karan Johar production after all.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 12, 2014
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