A woman pretends to be a man to play cricket in “Dil Bole Hadippa!”


AE reader drummerdeeds tipped us off to the new Bollywood movie Dil Bole Hadippa!, about a woman who pretends to be a Sikh man in order to play cricket for the big leagues.

Here’s actress Rani Mukherjee as Veera Kaur:

And here’s Veera dressed a man, "Veer":

Wikipedia lays out the premise of the movie, which opens in theaters in India next month:

The film tells the story of Veera (Rani Mukerji), a fire-cracker of a girl who lives in a small village but dreams of playing cricket in the big league. Rohan (Shahid Kapoor) is an accomplished captain of a county cricket team in England. Rohan returns to India to captain his father’s cricket team which has been losing consecutively for the last 8 years.

In a village where girls don’t play cricket, Veera has to put on a turban and beard and become a man to fulfill her dreams. Her brilliance on the field earns her a place in Rohan’s team.

IMDb explains the romantic twist: “A feisty cricket-expert Punjabi girl enters the men’s cricket team to play in the Cricket World Cup [but] she is in a predicament when she falls for her handsome cricket coach.”

So basically, it’s Bend it Like Beckham (2002) meets Just One of the Guys (1985)/She’s the Man (2006)…

…but in Hindi, with singing and dancing.

And of course, the requisite gay-panic scenes.

Actually, beyond that promo still from the movie, I’m not sure how much the movie deals with with the gay subtext that occurs when she’s dressed as a man, but I’m guessing it’s just hinted at for comedic effect, since this is a musical comedy, and a mainstream Indian movie (which aren’t exactly known for their thoughtful explorations of homosexuality — but then, neither are American films lately).

I’m also guessing Dil Bole Hadippa! is really just a heterosexual love story dressed up in female-empowerment clothing.

But if it isn’t too rife with gay jokes, this seems like a fun movie — because who doesn’t like gender-bending and well-choreographed dance numbers with their cricket match? (OK, so I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of cricket, mostly because I’m not very familiar with it, but I’m a sucker for sports movies of any kind.)

The sports theme, and the lead woman pretending to be a man, do seem a little unusual for a Bollywood film. But I’m not an expert on Bollywood movies, so Indian readers, tell me: is this something new and different, or has this been done in Bollywood movies before?

And British readers: what’s the deal with women’s cricket teams in England — are there many? And why are Veer’s kneepads so big and blindingly blue?

And can anyone tell me an easy way to create a pivot table across multiple data sets in Excel?

Um, sorry, strike that last one — just got carried away with the requests.

The movie comes out on Sept. 18. Visit the official site for more photos (and music).

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