Double XL Movie Review: Satramm Ramani’s Double XL is the kind of movie which certainly had the potential to break conventions in Bollywood. Like Dum Laga Ke Haisha, a few years back. It promises to challenge superficial notions the society places on physical attributes, especially for a woman, and considering Bollywood is one of the biggest culprits in this perception crime. All Double XL needs to have a sensitive touch, a set of good actors, a screenplay that engages and confronts viewer’s dogmatism and in the end, be a heartening watch. That it fails on nearly every front is a colossal disappointment. Double XL Song Taali Taali: Silambarasan TR Makes Bollywood Singing Debut with This Peppy Track Featuring Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi.
Double XL is about two plus sized women Rajshri Trivedi (Huma Qureshi) and Saira Khanna (Sonakshi Sinha) and the challenges their waist sizes are bringing to their professional and love lives. Saira wants to launch her fashion label and she needs to shoot a video for that in London, but she finds out that the director, also her boyfriend, is having an affair. Rajshri from Meerut considers herself a cricket pro and wants to see herself as a cricket expert on television. Her biggest roadblock, apart from the fact that channels prefer slim-waisted models with zero knowledge over her, is her nagging mother who wants to see her married as soon as possible.
By a stroke of luck, these two women meet and Saira hires Rajshri to direct her ad in London. They are also joined by slightly eccentric, weed-living cinematographer Srikanth (Mahat Raghavendra) and in London, Zorawar (Zaheer Iqbal), who becomes their line producer. The rest of the movie is how these girls become besties while battling perceptions over their sizes, achieving their dreams and finding love again.
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Double XL, scripted by Mudassar Aziz and Sasha Singh, is the kind of movie whose conclusion you can smell 10 miles away, and it doesn’t defy your expectations at that. Which ain’t a bad thing, if the path in between is enjoyable enough. Double XL, unfortunately, doesn’t have the kind of narrative that truly grabs you, even though the potential of its premise demands and deserves that. As a plus sized man for years, it is heartening to have a film that questions not the person who is often shamed for his or her weight, but those who do so. Double XL does have its two main leads never compromise on what they are, which is a cool thing to do, but it does a feeble job in stacking up the challenges they face and make things quite easy for them in the end. Real life ain’t that fair. And it feels quite hypocritical when the men they chose to be with are slim and conventionally good-looking, while dissing on suitors from small towns. Well, like Saira herself says in the film, “Sau kilo ki kyun na ho, par Hrithik Roshan chahiye…” Double XL: Satramm Ramani Shares His Experience Directing the Film; Says, ‘Asked Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi To Put On 15 Kgs’.
It is commendable that Double XL mentions the challenges plus sized people faces on a daily basis, be it in their family or in their workplace, especially in a glam-obsessed industries. This is addressed best in Rajshri’s anguished rant about channels choosing women for their looks as presenters instead of their knowledge, when men are never subjected to such a purview. But it is presented in such a loud and garish manner that the events feel off-putting.
Like the scene when Saira and Rajshri meet for the first time at the washroom of a channel. Both are down in their pits and they cry out to each other, and in turn, realise they need each to solve their crises. But the crying feels so shrill, especially Sonakshi’s, that it is hard to feel anything for the women here. This kind of treatment applies to nearly every scene that you stop caring for any of the characters and what they want to venture out for.
It also doesn’t help that Double XL forces chemistry and camaraderie on its leads, and doesn’t allow them to develop these on their own. Saira and Rajshri’s friendship is instantly established, and despite Rajshri only having shot selfie videos earlier, turns up making fabulous videos for Saira that are completely okayed in first go. Rajshri’s big moment in her goal-achievement is restricted to an interview with Kapil Dev, sporting Pathaan-like long tresses, but we never get to see what exactly makes her a pro in the game, because the movie chooses to mute that scene. In the end, she does achieve what she wants to do, but her success is shown as being a fashion prop for Saira. And then there is the forced romance with Srikanth, that comes out of nowhere and we are asked to suddenly root for these two.
As for Saira and Zorawar’s romance, that is equally bad if not worse, because the latter starts to hit on her with lame jokes right from the moment they meet, make creepy advances and still she ends up falling for him. But the scene that disappointed me the most is when Rajshri acquits her mother of all the years of forced pressure that she had put upon her about her weight, because it ‘forged’ Rajshri to be a successful person. If only family-induced toxicity works out this Hum Saath Saath Hai way, Life would have been so better for everyone!
When cinema from other industries, especially Malayalam and Tamil cinema, are doing a fine job at challenging problematic societal norms, Double XL‘s approach to tackling body positivity is as shallow as a puddle, where neither the drama nor the comedy fail to make any sort of mark. For a film that wants to defy conventions, what Double XL manages to eke out are painful groans from the overbearing weight of tired cliches that it drags along.
(The above story first appeared on Fresh Headline on Nov 04, 2022 11:30 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website freshheadline.com).