Director – Raaj Shaandilyaa
Writers – Naresh Kathooria, Raaj Shaandilyaa
Stars – Paresh Rawal, Ananya Panday, Ayushmann Khurrana
Dream Girl 2, the sequel to Ayushmann Khurrana’s 2019 film Dream Girl, is anchored in comedy. The actor underscores that the film is a complete entertainer designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of audiences.
Across his career, Ayushmann has navigated various societal and sensitive topics in his films, ranging from sperm donation in Vicky Donor to body shaming in Dum Laga Ke Haisha, erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, and premature baldness in Bala.
Nevertheless, Dream Girl 2 maintains a similar essence to its predecessor. Ayushmann elucidated, “It’s a slapstick film, a movie with mass appeal that resonates with front-row viewers. We’re not venturing into specific issues here. It’s a film where you can unwind and enjoy; it’s not meant to be socially conscious,” he shared in an interview with PTI.
“Dream Girl proved to be a film that fetched me the highest box office returns in my career. It established the right tone, and we’ve carried forward that tonality. Thus, this movie caters more to tier-2 or tier-3 cities, not just multiplexes, but also single-screen cinemas,” he added.
Directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa, Dream Girl featured Ayushmann Khurrana as Karam, a man who makes a living by assuming the persona of a female voice named Pooja. The film, which also starred Nushrratt Bharuccha, Annu Kapoor, Manjot Singh, Vijay Raaz, and Abhishek Banerjee, emerged as one of the highest-grossing films of 2019.
Four years later, Ayushmann and his team return with the sequel, aiming to surpass the achievements of the original. “The primary inspiration for this movie was the audience’s affection for Dream Girl. That impelled us to create something fresh or take it a notch higher with increased stakes. We were always pondering, ‘How can we do this?’ And Raaj came up with the ingenious concept of unveiling Pooja as an actual character, not just her voice but also visually in the film. That’s the next level we’ve attained in Dream Girl 2,” he detailed.
In Dream Girl 2, set to hit theaters on August 25, Ayushmann reprises his role as Karam. He adopts the persona of Pooja by cross-dressing to earn money for marrying his love interest, portrayed by Ananya Panday.
Ayushmann Khurrana, aged 38, acknowledged the challenge of striking a delicate balance in his performance to ensure that his cross-dressing portrayal doesn’t come across as insensitive to the opposite gender. “I always strive to make my character portrayals as genuine as possible while also being mindful of the subject matter’s sensitivity. Ultimately, it’s about providing entertainment. We’re not belittling anyone, and that’s our objective with this film. However, the film’s essence is comedy.”
Amusingly, Ayushmann shared that the women in his family found him “pretty” when dressed as Pooja. “They thought I looked quite pretty, and my mom always desired a daughter. So, her wish has been fulfilled. Every boy has a childhood photo of themselves dressed in a frock. I have one of those pictures, and I believe I’ll share it on Instagram soon,” he quipped.
Ayushmann further highlighted that the sequel has been crafted on a grander scale. “When the first film achieves success, you allocate a larger budget. This film boasts a grander look; the production values have escalated. The star cast is more extensive, and we’ve introduced eminent actors like Paresh Rawal, Seema Pawar, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav. Moreover, there are additional characters, which has enhanced the enjoyment,” he elaborated.
The Hindi film industry seems to be moving beyond the underwhelming year of 2022, with consecutive box office hits like Pathaan, Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, Satyaprem Ki Katha, and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. Ayushmann’s theatrical releases Anek, Doctor G, and An Action Hero also faced challenges last year. An Action Hero later garnered appreciation with its debut on Netflix.
Ayushmann finds encouragement in the evolving preferences of audiences. “There was a phase when people stayed home and watched films. Now they’re eager to experience it on the big screen. I’m pleased that even mid-budget films are finding success, which is a welcome change. It boosts my confidence since my films aren’t typically big-budget ventures. They’re small-budget films with substantive content,” he concluded.