Director: Avnish Barjatya
Cast: Rajveer Deol, Paloma, Tisca Chopra (in a special appearance) and others
Where: In theatres near you
Rating: 3 stars
Any film that comes out of the house of Barjatyas is laced with a preconceived notion of being a clean family entertainer. High on drama and enriched with Indian traditional values, Sooraj Barjatrya’s directorials from Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) to his latest Uunchai (2022) have everything that a family needs to see on the big screen. Taking forward the legacy of his home production, Avnish, son of Sooraj Barjatya brings this coming-of-age film Dono that is surprisingly fresh and entertaining.
Dev Saraf (Rajveer Deol)— a not-so-macho and completely an underdog shifts his base to Bengaluru to establish his start-up leaving back his one-sided secret love for his childhood sweetheart Alina.
Meghna Doshi (Paloma)— a Mumbai-based corporate executive breaks up with her boyfriend Gaurav after she meets with an identity crisis.
The two meet in Thailand for a rosy wedding of Alina and Gaurav’s friend Nikhil. And what happens next is not run-of-the-mill lived happily ever after— rather the two find closure with their exes and love between them rekindles way more organically than expected.
Ever since the film was announced, the seeding thought for romance suckers has been slightly off; with two newcomers, although both the nepo kids never had a godfather-like Karan Johar. When he launched Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan in Student of The Year (2012)— the debuts had a bigger godfather than Sooraj Barjatya’s son. But, Avnish, Paloma, and Rajveer have made a decent and sweet film in totality.
Avnish creates aww moments like never seen before. Dono is definitely in the space of films like Anjaana Anjaani (2010), I Hate Luv Storys (2010), Break Ke Baad (2010), Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012), and even Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai for that matter, that amazed with their respective endings.
The new kid from the Deol family, Rajveer, the younger son of superstar Sunny Deol and brother Karan Deol, who was a part of two torturous films— Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (2019) and Velle (2021) does an excellent job as a newcomer. His portrayal is synonymous with his character Dev. His breakdown especially at the interval time isn’t what you expect from the first timer. Definitely, he still has a long way to go.
Paloma, another star-kid joins the bandwagon of so many of them already in the Hindi film industry but is watchable. Barring her lean and lanky personality, she stuns with her expressions, voice, and dance moves too.
Who says Bollywood stands for those typical love stories? With Dono, come what may, Avnish proves that a likability of the genre lies in the writing. It is surreal to see Avnish’s apt learning from his maverick filmmaker-father besides his inner self that compels him to move ahead with the times. Dono is an easy-breezy watch that might do wonders on OTT, but good word of mouth can favour the film’s box office collection.