Bollywood doesn’t make many movies about fat people. In the Indian film industry, roles for overweight people are limited to playing punching bags for insensitive jokes and tools for comic relief. The scene might be changing a bit with films like ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ (2015), but there’s still a long way to go for Bollywood to accept people as they are.
With Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi in the lead roles on Netflix’s recent release ‘Double XL,’ I expected a more mature, albeit comic, content that has nuances of body positivity. The movie does disguise itself as a thought-provoking story that challenges the societal norms that restrict women’s career and clothing options based on their weight and body size. But there is very little thought put into its making.
Double XL is a 2022 Indian Hindi-language comedy movie that tackles the important themes of body positivity and female friendship. The film follows the story of two plus-size women, Saira Khanna (Sonakshi Sinha) and Rajshri Trivedi (Huma Qureshi), as they navigate life and embrace their bodies despite societal pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards. The movie is directed by Satram Ramani and also stars Zaheer Iqbal and Mahat Raghavendra in lead roles, with guest appearances by cricketers Shikhar Dhawan and Kapil Dev.
At the start of the movie, we are introduced to Rajshri, an aspiring sports presenter from Meerut who faces rejection from a big sports channel due to her body type. As she tries to make a name for herself in the industry, she is constantly subjected to cruelty and criticism, whether it be from strangers or even her own mother, who blames her for not being slim enough to find a husband. Despite these challenges, Rajshri remains determined to succeed and sets off for Delhi in search of opportunities.
There, she meets Saira, a fashion designer who is also struggling with body image issues following a recent breakup. The two women quickly bond over their shared experiences and decide to team up, with Saira offering Rajshri the chance to direct a travelogue for her fashion label. The two embark on a journey to London, where they not only work on the project but also discover themselves and celebrate their friendship and bodies along the way.
Double XL is a well-intentioned movie that addresses important themes of body positivity and female friendship. The performances by Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi are strong, and it’s refreshing to see these popular female actors tackle these issues on screen. However, the film falls short in its execution, lacking the necessary comic zing and style to fully engage the audience.
The male leads, played by Zaheer Iqbal and Mahat Raghavendra, also take away the essence of the main story with their annoying and unnecessary antics. Iqbal’s character, in particular, seems to be there purely for comic relief, constantly pulling outdated impressions and taking up screen time that could have been better utilized to further develop the female leads and their stories.
Additionally, the movie suffers from a lack of originality and personality, relying on didactic conversations and cliched plot points to convey its message. While Double XL follows in the footsteps of other successful Bollywood movies that address unrealistic beauty standards, such as Dum Laga Ke Haisha and ‘Bala’, it fails to stand out and make its mark in the same way.
Double XL is a disappointing film that fails to live up to its weighty theme of plus-size ambition and body shaming. The actors struggle to make their points, with over-the-top performances and a one-size-fits-all approach that results in double trouble. The writing is banal and fails to create authentic, empathetic portraits of the main characters, played by Sinha and Qureshi, who are reduced to perpetuating stereotypes. Overall, Double XL is a flimsy, padded movie that fails to make a meaningful statement.
Rating: 2 stars
Actors: Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi
Director: Satram Ramani
Run time: 2h 8m