Dulha Mil Gaya is a film caught in a time warp both literally and figuratively. The much-delayed movie is a bargain-basement version of Yash Chopra-Karan Johar movies from the late 1990s.
So we have misguided, materialistic NRIs who are reformed by a virtuous, homely Indian girl; exotic foreign locations; a trip back to Punjab where dancing sardars are bouncing to shava shava; the inevitable karva chauth sequence and even Shah Rukh Khan.
It's a familiar retread that offers little laughter or entertainment.
Fardeen Khan plays Tej Dhanraj, also known as Donsai, which is slang for dollar in Trinidad. This is the kind of man who picks up a woman from the water while he's water-skiing and blows-up 10 million dollars a year.
As required by his father's will Donsai must marry a friend's daughter or he cannot inherit the five billion dollars left to him. So, Donsai rushes to the Punjabi heartland and marries Samarpreet Kapoor, played by Ishita Sharma, the desi girl who makes arhaar ki daal and says "latrine" instead of washroom.
Then he leaves her back in the village and returns home to his playboy ways. But the determined Sher- da-puttar makes her way to Trinidad where a supermodel named Shimmer, played by Sushmita Sen, gives her a make-over.
Eventually Tej falls in love with his own wife who now wears backless gowns and gold eyeshadow. In return, Samarpreet shows Shimmer what a real Indian woman is. She makes Shimmer do karva chauth and when Shimmer shows more interest in her career than in her adoring boyfriend played by
Shah Rukh Khan, Samarpeet gives her a much-needed lecture on priorities. She says, "Indian ladkiyan rishte nibhati hain aur sau crore ghar chalane se behtar kya career ho sakta hai."
If that doesn't make you cringe, there is plenty else that will.
Debutant director Muddassar Aziz, who has also written the story, makes sure to underline every emotion and sentiment.
Pink cushions tossed around Shimmer's house actually spell out the action in large letters and the background music is unintentionally comical.
Everytime Shimmer in yet another over-the-top outfit is on screen, the soundtrack goes Shimmer, Shimmer. And in my favourite moment, when Shah Rukh jumps into the sea to retrieve Shimmer's toy poodle, we hear random sounds of true lover, true lover.
The actors are all on auto- pilot but there is some fun to be had watching Sushmita play an exaggerated version of herself. She is the diva to beat all divas.
There's a lovely moment when she thinks that Samarpreet has tried to commit suicide. She says, "Well I don't blame her. Look at her hair and make-up, even I would kill myself."
Dulha Mil Gaya is regressive and stale. The most creative aspect of the film are the characters names- apart from Shimmer, we have a flamboyantly gay cook named Lotus and a butler named Valentine.
The Boston Globe critic Wesley Morris once said that the only highlights in Oliver Stone's Alexander were in Colin Farell's hair. Well, the only highlights in this film are in Fardeen Khan's hair.