Body shaming is so normalized in our society that we all have been victims of it at some or the other point in our lives. Isn’t it? The saddest part, however, is how this does not always come from some distant relative or neighbor, but from our very own instant family who mock us for our weight and appearance. Well, for how strong of an impact cinema has on our lives, there couldn’t be a better way to bring this topic to the spotlight and Bollywood’s latest release ”Double XL”, starring Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha, deals with the same issue.
The film depicts the journey of two plus size women – Rajshree Trivedi (Huma Qureshi) and Saira Khanna (Sonakshi Sinha). Rajshree, who’s a resident of Meerut, has only one dream since forever, that is becoming a sports presenter. The first time we meet her, she’s in a deep sleep having a sweet dream of dancing with Cricketer Shikhar Dhawan when her mother (Alka Shukla) wakes her up. Rajshree’s mother is always stressed for her marriage as her daughter has already crossed 30 years but not getting any marriage proposals and she considers her overweight to be the reason behind it. Rajshree’s mother keeps repeating day and night that before it is too late, get married but Rajshree has got some other plans.
On the other hand, there’s Saira Khanna, a fashion designer who belongs to an urban family and dreams of launching her own fashion label in London along with her boyfriend. The upbringing and dreams of these women might be different, but they feel the same kind of inferiority from the society and the people around them about their weight. Society considers both of them to be mis-fits for their profession. After facing all kinds of rejections and taunts, they meet by chance and from there the story takes a new turn. How Rajshri and Saira fulfill their dreams by becoming each other’s supporters and how Shrikant (Mahat Raghavendra) and Zorawar Rahmani (Zaheer Iqbal) not only join them in this journey but also see their beauty and fall in love with these two girls irrespective of their weight is what the story ahead is made of.
Director Satram Ramani brings a film on a very thoughtful subject like body shaming, which is so much important especially in today’s times but the way it is treated on a whole it feels like a let down. His casting was perfect, he also made the film with good intentions, but the kind of sensitivity and connection one wants to feel while watching movies on such topics is somewhere lacking. When we watch films on such touching and relatable topics, we expect to be swept along with the story- to feel all those emotions of happiness and sorrow and to relate to the characters joy when life gives them a chance. But the fact that Rajshri and Saira’s biggest dream is fulfilled so easily, is beyond reality.
As the film goes on, the story shifts away from its central issue and feels much more like we’re watching a conventional movie on making dreams come true. But sadly, the story doesn’t do justice to this either. A touch of comedy definitely provides good entertainment while handling such sensitive issues but sometimes due to over-doing of scenes, the seriousness of the message starts getting affected and that’s exactly the case with “Double XL” too.
In terms of acting, it’s Huma Qureshi who dominates the film and how! She totally lived the character of a plus size girl from a small town who dreams beyond her capacity. Sonakshi Sinha also does justice to her role as an urban girl, but her character doesn’t have enough layers to win viewers sympathy. Zaheer Iqbal entertains in the bubbly character of Zorawar Rahmani but sometimes gets on nerves because of his overacting whereas Mahat Raghuvanshi as Srikanth has proved to be promising. Alka Kaushal brings to life all typical middle class mothers of an unmarried daughter who has crossed her 30’s. All in all a bang-on cast.
With everything considered, the film is good in bits and pieces, it even connects with you at certain instances but that connection breaks away with double speed. The pain and struggles of the people who are overweight is not evident at all and the story with a very important issue remains mediocre. There is no doubt that the film has some strong messages such as how important it is to get rid of your mental frustration than to change your physical appearance in order to fulfill your dreams. But on a whole, it ends up missing the spot.
“Double XL” is now showing in cinemas near you.