The movie is peppered with stereotypes that make you want to scream, ‘cringe. cringe. cringe’!
Director: Satram Ramani
Writer: Sasha Singh and Mudassar Aziz
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Huma Qureshi, Mahat Raghavendra, Zaheer Iqbal
Bollywood has often attempted to touch upon relevant topics and make movies out of them. Sometimes it has worked in their favor (case in point: Vicky Donor, Badhaai Do... well, basically every other Ayushmann Khurrana film). But, more often than not, a volley of progressively-themed films often leave you puzzled about the entire point. Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi starrer Double XL, unfortunately, testifies to the latter.
Yes, I’d like to give some brownie points for the attempt. But the poor storyline, shoddily written dialogues, and some really poor performances simply overshadow the message of the film. But before we delve into that, let’s meet the two protagonists of the film – Rajshri Trivedi (Huma Qureshi) and Saira Khanna (Sonakshi Sinha).
Rajshri is a small-town girl whose mother only has one goal in her life – to get her daughter married before she hits the 30-year bar. And while the mother makes Rajshri meet lanky boys who think she is too fat, the girl harbors dreams of becoming a sports presenter. Saira Khanna, too, has a similar story. She’s a bold, chic, and confident girl who dreams of launching her own fashion label. The only thing holding the two women back happens to be their weight and societal standards of how a young woman’s body should look like.
Of course, when scrolling down a million Instagram reels, one might have come across topics like body shaming and body positivity, and yes, you might think that both Sonakshi and Huma’s characters will be fighting the stigma of being big with a degree of ingenuity. But, the narrative goes in a downward spiral right from the get-go. Rajshri and Saira’s worlds collide when they are rejected by the world due to their weighty issues. However, a miracle transpires and the two girls eventually decide to go to London to prove a point to naysayers. Rajshri has to meet the owner of the sports channel, who rejected her for being overweight. On the other hand, Saira has to shoot a video for investors to show them why should they be investing in her label.
The story shows far too many instances where the two characters discuss their weight woes and how life gets pretty challenging to navigate several instances of body shaming every other day. Yet, neither of them succeeds in eliciting any emotion or deep thoughts about the stigma, in me as a viewer. There is a particular scene where a bunch of skinny girls is seeing gossiping about Saira, and it’s so cringey that you honestly just wish to unsee it. While I was hopeful that things would change, sadly, the screenplay only gets weaker with every passing scene. Also note, the two fly to London with a cinematographer Srikant (Mahat Raghavendra), who is only concerned with smoking weed everywhere – an unnecessary detail added to the character. And then enters Zaheer Iqbal, who is the line producer of Saira’s film.
The team (of four) then gets on to shoot the content for Sonakshi’s film. Mind you, a discussion about the central theme of the film is still missing. The film progresses with their time in London, only to arrive at a climax with a shocking turn. Things get a little interesting here, but I won’t spoil the only good scenes of the film by disclosing them here. I will, however, discuss a scene where Sonakshi and Huma talk about how plus-size women are made to feel. It momentarily led to an eerie silence around me in the cinema hall, possibly because it egged a few of us on to think deeper into real-life body shaming instances that occurred to us or someone dear.
The film ends on a happy note, with the two girls achieving their dreams, breaking the stigma, and establishing how size does matter, but only as long as it makes sense to you. By the end of it, you are impressed by Sonakshi, who looks amazing on-screen. She appears natural and to be at ease all through the movie. Huma, who aces every role she is given, is a charmer in every sense of the word. The scenes where she is seen arguing with her mother are the high notes of the film. However, it’s quite like most other small-town girl roles that she has played before. No surprises here. Srikant adds humor to the film and Raghavendra did a great job in essaying the role. Zaheer, who is just a few films old, seemed to be caricaturing Salman Khan on the screen. I did hear the viewers actually cringe at one of his recurring dialogues. Jimmy Shergill appears in a cameo role, which is a pleasant surprise. He owns the screen as usual in the few minutes that he appears.
Satram Ramani’s direction, however, seems to have weakened the story. While I would admit that a film is a good attempt to talk about body issues, the film lacks general direction. A lot could have been done with the screenplay, a lot could have been omitted as well. Sasha Singh and Mudassar Aziz have been able to tap into how plus-size girls feel and what happens when their worst fears surface, but the story looks weak overall with some scenes and romantic twists that were simply unnecessary. The half-baked execution and writing made the film lose its plot.
This one is skippable, especially if you’re on the lookout for any meaningful takeaways from the movies you watch. However, watch it only for Sonakshi Sinha on the big screen, she’s worth it.
(Featured Image Credits: T-Series)