Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Dil Dosti Dilemma Review: Prime Video’s Latest Series Is So Sugary That It Might Give You Diabetes

Teenage years usually bring a raging volcano of confusing emotions, new aspirations, dilemmas, self-doubt, and much more. And that’s precisely what Prime Video’s latest original series Dil Dosti Dilemma tries to tap into. The series features a young girl called Asmara (Anushka Sen) as its protagonist; a typical teenager from an uber-rich family, whose entire existence revolves around her best friends’ validation.

She wears fashionable clothes, speaks vogue, loves to shop and party, and is embarrassed by any aspect of her reality that might not align with the carefully crafted persona of a classy girl that she has built for herself. She gets embarrassed by uncool gifts from her grandparents and can’t seem to share her real emotions in front of her equally pretentious friends.

When her mother realises that Asmara might have grown into an entitled, thankless adult who has lost all respect for her roots, she decides to cancel her two-month-long trip to Canada and send her to her grandmother’s house in a small town instead, as a punishment.

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Revathi Pillai’s character is quite gullible in the show and has a lot of self esteem issues 

What follows next is a predictable sequence of events where the spoilt girl has a hard time adjusting to the small-town life, only to end up loving it there. The show evokes stories that we’ve all heard and seen many times. Don’t be too surprised if it reminds you of the moral stories of childhood, because it is equally sugary, if not more. The occasional screen presence of Shruti Seth, playing Asmara’s mother in the series, whose acting skills still seem to be stuck in time, might remind you of the popular 90s show Shararat, if you were an ardent fan like me.

While the show attempts to superficially portray complex emotions that teenagers experience, it barely gives off the taste of reality. Everyone is too loving, understanding, and accommodating – the series often ends up feeling like the Sooraj Barjatya version of coming of age. It’s a world where nothing as dark as HBO’s Euphoria might exist. In this Toyland version of the world, a teenager can easily become a torchbearer of morality, and the adults not only silently follow, but also indulge in frenzied celebration of the person. It’s like the show has been written by a teenager hell-bent on spreading goodness in the world.

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Tanvi Azmi plays Anushka Sen’s grandmother in Dil Dosti Dilemma 

The show does try to touch upon teenage relationships when it shows a boy trying to manipulate Asmara’s best friend Naina into thinking that he likes her, only to use her to get to her father, who is a renowned tennis coach. Even though he feigns interest in her for his ulterior motives and is an expert at gaslighting, the character is still treated in a saccharine manner.

The only thing that stood out about the show was the honesty with which it attempts to show the sense of self-doubt that seeds deep inside the hearts of teenagers. It beautifully captures that sweet spot in adolescence where innocence and sinfulness co-exist.

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Anushka Sen’s character continues lying to her friends about being in Canada while being in Tibbri Road

The series, however, fumbles where it ought to show similar care to its other characters, egregiously portraying Hindi speakers as uncool and outright stupid. Vishakha Pandey’s character, for instance, comes off as a loud fool with zero common sense, just because she is from a small town and blurts out incorrect English words. Similarly, Arjun Berry’s character is looked down upon just because he has a rich Hindi vocabulary. He and his language are lampooned just for a few laughs, none of which ever feel earned.

If you are looking for something that treats its subject matter with the seriousness and care it deserves, I would recommend you skip this one. However, if you want something running in the background while you wrap up your pending assignments or other chores, you can tune in to this no-brainer series — or perhaps if you care for a delusional take on teenage utopia, where happily ever after exists.

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