This week’s release, Dream Girl, has a complicated love story, which could have been more interesting if the development of events were probable and necessary. For the want of natural flow in the plot, the movie seems to be forcefully stretched, yet some dramatic revelations do not let the audience deviate.
In a bid to make it something more than a plain love story, the movie raises concerns about a serious debate that has been going on for a long time: whether men should ‘accept’ their lovers even after they find out that they have ‘lost’ their virginity to someone else? However, the story fails to give justice to the issue; it turns out to be something suitable for a children’s values education textbook.
Unnecessary moral colouring
Primary themes of the movie are concerns of daily life of Nepali urban youth: relationship, love and sex. Though the idea of virginity is not much discussed in open and formal forums, many youth consider it a significant issue they need to think about when they decide to tie the knot. The movie has made a successful attempt to raise concerns over it.
However, it has failed to give justice to the complicated issue as it takes one side of the debate. The movie’s moral alignment makes it vulnerable to misinterpretation and controversy. Further, the hero’s handling of the issue is apparently trivial and foolish. If it were presented ‘amorally’, the movie could be considered an intriguing and unique love story.
Likewise, too much emphasis has been given to the debate on whether ‘good’ people can smoke, but it does not contribute anything to the overall plot. Rather, the audience may get confused about why the movie is trying to teach them moral lessons.
Realistic yet dramatic development
The major flaw of the plot lies not in its dealing with the issue of marital fidelity, but in the way events develop. The beginning is tedious because the director presents a minor character to ask the central question of the movie, which the audience expect the film to answer: why and how the hero and the heroine land in a foreign land without any concrete plan? The retrospection begins as an answer to the question. This leads to a clichéd love story.
Whereas the first half of the story line is too predictable and boring, the second half is exciting, because it is dramatic. The lovebirds, who had once left their families to create a new world of their own, develop serious misunderstandings. They decide to leave each other and live alone over the issue of losing virginity to the third person.
Later, the hero and the heroine meet again, thanks to some ‘almost impossible’ events, forcefully inserted, perhaps only to give a dramatic turn to the story. However, by the end, the spectators wonder why the writer failed to give a concrete and meaningful denouement to the story despite such a forced insertion.
Female body ‘on sale’
The hero is obsessed with the idea that his ‘dream girl’ should neither smoke nor drink though he is seen with a glass of liquor later. He makes his girlfriend’s virginity an issue, but his classmate later reveals that he had sex with her earlier. But, the movie does not endorse his views as the writer makes him realise his wrong judgment. It seems the movie attacks patriarchal values by exposing the man’s hypocrisy.
However, the underlying structure of the plot deconstructs the idea. Sexism is deeply rooted in both the story and its cinematic presentation. There are many noticeable dialogues that consider women as objects men use to satisfy their sexual needs and desires. Not only villains, but some members of the protagonist gang also objectify women.
Many dialogues have double meanings. Interestingly, the heroine treats herself as a sexual object for her man. When the man requests her to come with a glass of milk on their nuptial night, she satisfies him with a joke about her breasts. Of course, intimate partners can joke about their body, but they should not be food for public consumption. When a movie does it, it is considered a cheap tool to entertain the audience.
The female body has been unnecessarily exposed. It is noticed at least three times: when a supporting actress sleeps with her overage partner, when the heroine dances in her miniskirt while other dancers are in sari cholo, and when she is in miniskirt again as the couple seeks refuge at an old lady’s house. Likewise, she is in shorts when two men in suits discuss her marriage.
The single silver lining
Perhaps the music is only one silver lining that lets the audience feel happy about their decision to watch the movie. The two songs are beautiful and suitably composed. The first song—Timro mayama harauna thalaeko dherai bhayo—is quite emotional, but it perfectly suits the situation. The filming of the song is impressive with multiple wide shots, showing the breathtaking views of beaches in Phuket, Thailand. Leads–Aakash Shrestha and Ashma Giri–who generally fail to impress the audience with their acting dance well to suit the environment.
The second song—Phul tipera chadhae maile timrai naauma—gives a differently beautiful flavour. The song has the potential to catch the audience’s attention as it is suitable for group dance events.
Besides, the lead actors’ acting seems artificial. It is Giri’s debut movie, hence she needs more training. Experienced Shrestha needs to learn more about versatility, natural movements and conversational dialogue delivery.
Dream Girl cannot be a dream movie for anyone. Go watch it and you will know why.
Runtime: 120 minutes
Genre: Love story
Scriptwriter/Director: Rishi Raj Acharya
Cast: Aakash Shrestha, Ashma Giri, Wilson Bikram Rai, Arjun Shrestha, Laxmi Giri, Surbir Pandit, Saroj Khanal