Despite its over-familiar premise, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan packs a light tone and some easy laughs, before the weight from all its clichés causes it to topple over like a house of cards.
Kush (played by Imran Khan) is an assistant director in Bollywood films, whose London-based brother Luv (played by Tere Bin Laden’s Ali Zafar) assigns him the job of finding him a suitable bride when he breaks up with his long-term girlfriend. With his mother by his side, Kush visits the homes of a half-dozen prospective brides – each a worse stereotype than the last – before they zero in on Katrina Kaif’s character Dimple, the seemingly perfect daughter of a Delhi diplomat.
Kush, who had met Dimple five years ago while in college, remembers her as the rebellious rocker who was taken away by the cops when she staged an impromptu concert for thousands. Still a free-spirited livewire, Dimple is looking to settle down now, and Kush and his family thinks she’ll be perfect for Luv.
Directed by first-timer Ali Abbas Zafar, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan starts off breezily, with enough comic moments to keep you engaged. There’s an amusing scene in which Dimple subjects Luv to a Koffee With Karan-style rapidfire interview on Skype, and another sequence in which she distracts Kush while riding pillion on his scooter. But it’s when the film introduces its conflict at intermission point that everything begins to go downhill.
The tiring and predictable second half is basically a string of elaborate set-ups to call off the marriage. Given that it’s a Yash Raj Films’ production, you shouldn’t be surprised by all the self-referencing to previous in-house hits. Say hello also to every wedding-movie cliché like best friends and mentally challenged siblings who help the hero win his girl, extended families who bond over jalebis and bhaang, and the jealous ex who shows up just in time to stake her claim.
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is redeemed to a large extent by the charismatic presence of Katrina Kaif, who is easily the star of this show. Offering an uninhibited and winning performance as the mad but endearing Dimple, she makes you forget many of the film’s flaws. Imran Khan brings that boyish charm to his part, playing your next-door nice-guy with unmistakable sincerity; he makes Kush a hero to root for. Now if only they could muster up some sizzling chemistry! Ali Zafar, on the other hand, hams it up like there’s no tomorrow, and fails on account of trying too hard.
The film doesn’t always work because it relies too heavily on silly stereotypes and clichés, and because you can see exactly where it’s going from the moment you settle into your seat. I’m going with two out of five for director Ali Abbas Zafar’s Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Aside from a few enjoyable moments, this film recycles so much that you’ve already seen before.