Double XL Review: Sonakshi Sinha, Huma Qureshi starrer shines with a powerful second half

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Film: Double XL

Director: Satramm Ramani

Star cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Huma Qureshi, Zaheer Iqbal, Mahat Raghavendra

Bollywood Bubble ratings: 3/5 stars

double xl

Double XL Movie Review:

Ever since the promotions for Double XL started, the makers and the cast have been insisting that while the film tackles the issue of body shaming, its messaging is that dreams do not look at any size. The film has a cliché start to establish the body shaming, they use the tried-and-tested formulas of family’s comments, prospective grooms rejecting due to size issues and boyfriends cheating. There isn’t anything wrong in doing cliché things, but the risk with that is that you need to do it convincingly, otherwise it comes out cringey, and that’s where Double XL lacks in its first half.

The calling out scenes look involuntarily a bit preachy while the breakdown scenes look a bit hammy. I understand that excess food intake causes increase in size but the film is too invested in food intake in the first half. The first meeting between Sonakshi and Huma falls a bit flat because they both are crying and the emotional breakdown doesn’t come out convincingly. The two male leads, Mahat and Zaheer also don’t appeal to you instantly. The signature South Indian person struggling with their Hindi character arc for Mahat looks a bit too overdone, while Zaheer’s hyper attitude just looks over. The most irking part for me through the story was that in both Sona and Huma’s arc, it’s women only who pull them down, be it their mother, aunt or boyfriend’s friends, while it is the men who uplift and support them, like Huma’s father, Sona’s brother, Zaheer and Mahat. But thankfully, as the first half draws to a close, these shortcomings also almost come to an end as well.

 

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The second half is where the film soars. Both Huma and Sonakshi seem invested in their character’s stories and goals. Even Mahat comes into his own and exudes an innate charm on screen. I expected Zaheer’s portrayal too to get a little more enjoyable, but his graph as a character has a lot of ups and downs. The plot gives you an insight into the girls’ backstories and what I really liked is that the writers explored different reasons for both the leads’ relationship with food. The scene where it is all discussed between Sona and Huma forms for a heartwarming scene that made me laugh and also feel emotional, while connecting to them.

There is another scene I must praise which happens between Huma and Mahat, where they both have a heart-to heart and the emotions are quite raw from both sides in it, making you feel invested in it as a viewer. Kapil Dev has a charming cameo that will once again proves why is he so lovable. Nikki Aneja Walia and Dolly Singh have brief appearances in the film as well but I really felt bad that they used dub voices for them instead of their own, since both their voices are so loved and relatable. The love angles seemed a bit incomplete for me for both the couples, but their team up as four friends was actually enjoyable.

 

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Story:

Double XL tells the story of two girls, Rajshri played by Huma who dreams to be a sports presenter and Saira played by Sonakshi, a designer  who wants to launch her own brand. They both belong to the plus size category and having gone through fat-shaming their entire life, they have a coincidental run in with each other. How that accidental meet up leads them to empower each other while gaining confidence in themselves, with support from people around them, forms for a heartwarming story.

Star Performance:

Huma is the star of the story hands down. She has an in-depth story arc that sees her evolution from being a small town girl from Meerut who has big dreams but low confidence, to actually working towards them and achieving them. Barring the first half, she shines in the emotional scenes, brings out an authenticity and credibility that you relate and empathise to. Her conversations with her mother in the film are just too natural and you can feel how she wants to break free and yet feels the restraint due to her love for her. Huma indeed offers a nuanced performance.

 

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Sonakshi also delivers a power-packed performance but it grows gradually. Her first few scenes seem a bit too mechanical but once she gets to London, you actually see a completely different Sona. Her journey from being self-conscious to a confident woman is something you can’t help but admire. And her chemistry with Huma is indeed quite eclectic.

 

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Zaheer seems to be trying a bit too hard to be the ‘high on energy, funny’ guy. But his “You can call me Zo, Zaa, Zoro” dialogue gets a bit too much after a while. He has a charisma and presence that you just can’t ignore ant it works in his favour, but he does need to work on making his portrayal seem more real.

 

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As for Mahat, he has made an impressive debut. The points where the makers try to show him as a brooding artist, just interested in smoking, there is no connectivity you feel with the character. But as soon as the layers are peeled off, you are mesmerised with his boyish charm. His emotional scene with Huma is one of the highlights of the film.

Direction/Screenplay:

Satramm has indeed done an impressive work considering this is only his second feature directorial. He hasn’t made the film preachy, except at some points where it happens involuntarily. The screenplay is tight and the film doesn’t seem to be lagging or running off at any point. The camerawork is phenomenal and it captures the beauty of London quite amazingly while the music, especially towards the end is just too beautiful. While in second half Satramm was able to pull out impressive performances from his actors, the first half he seemed to be struggling. Huma’s venture into production with brother Saqib Saleem is also worth commending.

 

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Conclusion:

Double XL is a good film that succeeds to a certain extent in getting its message across. It takes time to connect with the characters and the story, but it happens before its too late. My only issue is that the first half seems like an extended food commercial, but the second half is where it shines. One of my bigger complaints with Double XL is that increase in weight is not always because of excess food intake but due to some medical conditions as well, and I wish that the makers would have highlighted that too, even if by just glancing through them. Other than that, the film is worth a watch.

Watch the trailer of Double XL after the film’s review:

 

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Also Read: Kabir Khan, Ashutosh Gowariker, Farah Khan, and other filmmakers root for Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi starrer Double XL