Double XL is the unimpactful story of two plus-sized women coming together, saved only by Huma Qureshi’s authentic acting.

Body shaming and fatphobia are toxic parts of our culture that need to be discussed. However, the story of oppression gets depth and authenticity when it comes from the oppressed. Maybe this is why Satram Ramani‘s Double XL falls flat on its face. It fails to evoke empathy in its audience and instead comes across as a preachy and elongated rant session.

Rajshree Trivedi (Huma Qureshi) has always dreamt of becoming a sports presenter, a profession not typically associated with women. Her nagging mother wants her to settle down, though, because no one might marry her if she is ambitious and fat. So, she has to size down both her dreams and her body. Then there is fashion designer Saira Khanna (Sonakshi Sinha) or “Sairu”. She wants to start her fashion label, but her life revolves around getting her boyfriend to love her. When their respective dreams seem shattered, both plus-sized women, Rajshree and Saira run into each other and become instant BFFs, a bond that looks forced. To shoot Saira’s fashion travelogue, they go to London along with Srikant (Mahat Raghavendra), the always-stoned South-Indian cameraman who stereotypically struggles with speaking Hindi. In London, they meet a producer, Zorawar Rehmani (Zaheer Iqbal), whom you can call Zo, Za, Zoo, which he annoyingly repeats a thousand times. These four come together (with no chemistry) and help each other fulfill their dreams.

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Double XL’s unoriginal premise had some potential, but a mediocre screenplay and some awful acting impaired the film. Sinha’s character is poorly and stereotypically written and her performance doesn’t help either! Raghavendra takes a minute to say a sentence and does not create any impact whatsoever. Zaheer’s performance is perhaps the worst of them all. He acts like a ’90s rowdy character who won’t stop flirting but is good at heart. He tries to be comical but overacts consistently, which is painful to watch. The only saving grace is Qureshi, who brings depth to her character and portrays it sincerely, especially in the scenes where her character is heartbroken.

The dialogues are preachy and cringe, with only Qureshi being able to make them sound impactful. Dialogues like “Keto karti toh Tito nahi bhagta” sound like someone tried to write a joke for the first time. Every 15 minutes, Saira breaks into a seemingly forced monologue about body shaming. The unnecessary romance also looks forced and rushed without any meaningful foundation. In fact, Saira falls for Zorawar when he lectures her that she should let him flirt because he is not like her ex and he accepts her even though she is fat. The bar is that low!

There are a few good instances that genuinely talked about the toxic everyday instances of body shaming. For instance, when your relatives see you after long, their immediate reaction is to comment on your weight, the common knowledge that while men don’t bother dressing up, women go out of their way to look presentable, and the fact that men face lesser body shaming than women. The film highlights the negative self-talk that we are conditioned to internalize. Also, by the end, Rajshree’s hair remains curly instead of straightening it up, a stereotype for women having resolved their issues.

However, along with being unimpactful, the film does more harm than good with its problematic aspects. Zorawar’s flirting, which Saira constantly complains about, is looked upon as harmless fun. Saira’s entire personality revolves around wanting to look hot for men. In a horrific scene, she disrobes a woman and locks her out on the balcony as revenge. The woman only complains comically because it is cold outside. Women are obsessed with eating and eating seems to be their idea of revolt. Not to forget that the film is a drag! It could have been over in 45 minutes had they not filled it with monotonous scenes and monologues unnecessarily.

The film doesn’t try much and gives a basic overview of an issue that needs serious discussion. It’s brought down by its lack of understanding of the issue, predictable screenplay, and awful performances.

Double XL is now running in cinemas.