Contrary to accepted Bollywood practice, Dreams has a proper script, some cerebral dialogues, and strong emotional twining. It commandeers your attention for most of its length, making you fret and empathize, and beseech the protoganist to watch his back as he sifts into potential emotional cliffdrops. However, it doesn't work, since we still go to the movies for that old reason - to have a good time.
The tale is of a movie director who stakes his everything on some inspired high-rolling that makes a superstar of an ordinary girl, and who then loses her love. While it pantomimes emotional upheavels well, the problem with Dreams is that most of the film is spent in heartache - the girl being stiffed by her own family and secretary for money; plots to engineer a rift between her and him succeeding; she jilting his love over a trivial issue etc.
If in a 130-minute film, you have to spend 100 minutes mired in the despondence of a man who is eliciting gratitude and sympathy instead of love from his protégé who's become too big for him, the film is not worth a watch. Even an Akshay-Kareena no-brainer will do.
Shekhar (Aashish Chanana) is a successful film director who spots a fresh Pooja (Neha Pendse), and is inspired by the story of her depressing childhood. He decides to make a film about that casting her in the lead. The tale doesn't excite any of his usual financiers who're convinced this one is coming out on the short end, and he has to mortgage all he has and go out on a limb.
The ball clacks into the right slot of the wheel, however - the film is a huge hit, and Pooja turns a star. However, she then refuses his proposal for marriage in a pretty unconvincing 2nd half, and he has to bone up for a different battle - against all odds.
The film has too many loopholes: the way Pooja first accepts and then rejects Shekhar's proposal for marriage; the way her co-star just dons a diamond ring on her with no preceding romance; the way the glimpses of the "art" film that Shekhar makes look like no social-conscious cinema as he claims… The climax feels like an unnecessary appendage, a foot in the door to lend some mass appeal through a macho hero saving his damsel in distress.
The performances are ordinary, too - there's no vivacity or energy in anyone, though they get the basic expressions right. And the visuals are not in the league of professional cinema. What does grant this one clemency is its subject - and the dialogues, which make the characters really interesting. The music is above par, too, with the theme song Zindagi being particularly well-rendered.
On the whole, however, this feels like a throwback to the parallel cinema of the early '80s, which we'd watch strictly on Doordarshan.