Dolly ki Doli successfully weds comedy and caper

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      Starring Sonam Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, and Pulkit Samrat. Rated G. In Hindi with English subtitles. Now playing

      The ostentatious wedding ceremony is central to the plots of most Bollywood films. This makes sense, as it is directly proportional to the place marriage occupies in many South Asian cultures. In Dolly ki Doli, director Abhishek Dogra takes us through a fun and irreverent story that challenges the established expectations of that institution.

      Dolly (Sonam Kapoor) has attracted the affection of Sonu (Rajkummar Rao), a moderately wealthy sugar-cane farmer. After some convincing, their families agree to the match and an elaborate ceremony takes place. The next morning, Sonu and his kin wake to find their home entirely stripped of its valuables.

      It turns out that Dolly is less of a shy bride and more of a master con artist. Her crew of bandits had posed as her overly protective family to ensure that the ruse was successful. Poor Sonu is one of many duped husbands they’ve left behind. We learn this through a rapid montage of wedding scenes in which Dolly reconfigures herself into whatever identity best suits the marital hopes of the targeted groom and his family.

      All works well until she pursues Manoj (Varun Sharma). He’s easily caught, but Manoj’s hilariously overbearing mother (Archana Puran Singh) has the audacity to reject Dolly. Meanwhile, Delhi police detective Robin Singh (Pulkit Samrat) begins to close in on her. His investigation has been hampered because Dolly never leaves any pictures behind. (Do none of these hapless men own a cellphone?)

      Kapoor is refreshing as a chameleon who can smart-talk her way past any man’s better judgment, and while there are some gaping holes in the plot, the comedy makes up for it. Dolly ki Doli is an enjoyable ride, and at 100 minutes it lasts about as long as the marriages it depicts.