Think of your favorite fast food meal – the one that you default to when you’re running late on your way home from work or when you just don’t feel like cooking. Dil Bole Hadippa! (“My Heart Goes Hooray!”) is the movie equivalent of your go-to drive thru meal: easy and predictable, but enjoyable.
Rani Mukerji plays Veera, a Punjabi girl who works for her family’s traveling theater troupe but dreams of playing cricket professionally.
She gets her chance when the national team’s manager, played by Anupam Kher, guilts his son Rohan (Shahid Kapoor) into returning from England to lead India to victory over Pakistan.
Of course, the team won’t even consider letting Veera try out; it is a men’s team, after all. Using one of the theater troupe’s fake beards, she dresses up as a man and calls herself “Veer.” She easily makes the team.
As in any romantic comedy featuring cross-dressing disguises, Veera gets to know Rohan off the pitch and out of makeup and falls for him. It’s only a question of when and how she’ll inevitably have to reveal her double life to him.
This type of story is as old as time, or at least as old as Shakespeare. There’s not much that can be done to change the formula, so all that matters is how much fun the journey is.
Thanks to Rani Mukerji, it’s a lot of fun. There’s no other actor who portrays joy as well as her, and it’s hard not to get swept up in her happiness. Shahid Kapoor does a fine job playing off of Mukerji, complementing her while never stealing the spotlight.
Following the Hindi fast-food-film formula, Dil Bole Hadippa! hits all of the major narrative touchstones: India is the best nation in the world, Indian women are the most virtuous, and the country is always better than the city. The movie shows fertile fields, women in colorful saris, and a village festival with a Ferris wheel.
The only deviation from the stock formula is that, in Dil Bole Hadippa!, Veera and Rohan ride through wheat fields on a bike, instead of on a tractor.
The problem with this kind of fast food movie is that everyone already knows how it’s going to end – and how it’s going to reach that end. With that being the case, there’s no reason for Dil Bole Hadippa! to run as long as it does (around 2 hrs. 12 min.). The last half-hour drags. And, since the ending is predictable, it’s probably worth leaving early to avoid traffic leaving the movie theater parking lot.