Thursday, 9 February, 2023
HomeFeaturesReel TakeShallow, superfluous, frustrating—Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi’s Double XL is a dud

Shallow, superfluous, frustrating—Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi’s Double XL is a dud

The film does not know what to do with itself. The ‘message’ is half-baked and serious issues like binge eating are not addressed properly.

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In an industry that barely gives space to diverse body types, Satram Ramani’s Double XL is another missed opportunity. Shallow and out-of-sync with reality, it never expands on the promise shown by the trailer. Instead of championing the cause of overweight people, Double XL betrays it, joining a fairly large canon of superfluous and empty Bollywood films. A damp squib, to say the least.

The two-hour film begins with Rajshri (Huma Qureshi), an aspiring sports presenter stuck in the narrow bylanes of Meerut with a mother (Alka Kaushal) who only wants her to get married. Rajshri faces rejections from prospective suitors because she’s ‘healthy’. She finally gets a call from her dream sports channel for a job interview, but they refuse to give her a chance because she doesn’t fit into the body type that draws viewers.

Saira Khanna (Sonakshi Sinha) is a fashion designer who is on her way to creating her own label. Khanna’s all-abs Haryanvi boyfriend cheats on her with a slimmer girl, and the breakup impacts her project. How Saira and Rajshri meet and help each other forms the crux of the story. The duo is helped by Tamil cameraman Srikant (Raghavendra Mahat) and a line producer Zoravar (Zaheer Iqbal).


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Unconvincing performances

The problem with Double XL’s lead pair is that they talk in cliches and one-liners instead of actual sentences. It is as if two plus-sized women can never have normal, boring conversions and need to constantly pump each other up. This only overturns the film’s premise, which is that overweight women do not have to be looked at differently.

Sonakshi Sinha fails to evoke any reaction even as she stands in her boyfriend’s bedroom, witnessing his infidelity first-hand. The attempt to make sad moments impactful through humour has never been so horribly out-of-place than in this scene.

While Sonakshi never makes you root for her, Huma feels relatable and delivers a convincing performance as a small-town woman with more disadvantages than the former. But what can a performer like Huma do when the writing is so sloppy?

The chemistry between the lead pairs is so absent that you wonder if they settled for the first ‘nice guy’ they found.

Raghavendra Mahat as the Tamil cameraman who continuously smokes weed and develops feelings for Rajshri is a splatter of one trope after another—from how a Tamil man must behave to how he must dance. Zaheer Iqbal’s Zoravar is akin to a creepy ’90s hero who keeps cutouts of Saira in his house and tries to woo her. More horrifying than romantic, to be honest. Even his attempt to display a Shah Rukh Khan-like charm fails miserably.


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Confused message

Double XL does not know what to do with itself. The ‘message’ is half-baked and serious issues like binge eating are not addressed properly. There is no depth to the struggle of being stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting to lose weight and relying on food for emotional comfort. It is relegated to a 2-minute conversation between Rajshri and Saira.

It is interesting to see how Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi, who have both faced trolling and fat-shaming throughout their career, chose to be part of a film that is so privileged and surface-deep that it is frustrating. Its message never lands, and you have already watched the key moments in the trailer.

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(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)

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In an industry that barely gives space to diverse body types, Satram Ramani’s Double XL is another missed opportunity. Shallow and out-of-sync with reality, it never expands on the promise shown by the trailer. Instead of championing the cause of overweight people, Double XL betrays it,...Shallow, superfluous, frustrating—Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi’s Double XL is a dud