If you are an English language purist, you will perhaps wonder whether the title HAPPY BHAAG JAYEGI isn’t grammatically wrong, even if it is a title for a Bollywood movie. But just the first scene of the movie, which starts off in Amritsar introduces you to the fact that “Happy” in the title is not an adjective but a “pet” name for the Punjabi Kudi, Harpreet! And the roller coaster ride which begins from the first scene and takes you through a little of Amritsar’s streets and much of Lahore’s streets turns out to an unpretentious good-hearted rom com!
Anand Rai, who had directed the successful TANU WEDS MANU and the even more successful TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS, produces this happy venture and hands the megaphone to Mudassar Nazar with a brief to strictly stick to the genre and avoid commonly used situations and double entendre dialogues that lampoon communities, treat women as sex objects and rely on crudities to raise laughs. The end result is not what one could classify as a classic: it is what one could call as a clean entertainer. Even the scenes involving the Pakistani characters (and there are a good number in the movie) are portrayed normally and the few idiosyncrasies are presented in an inoffensive manner. Even the characterisation of the lead players matches the attributes of people whom we across in our daily lives. The heroes do not want to win every time; they even reconcile quickly to the thought that they may not have the “hero” material, and the bad boys aren’t that fiercely bad.
Anand Rai has carefully nurtured his favourites when it comes to his choice of male actors and places his bets on excellent but under rated actors. Jimmy Shergill, who shone in the earlier TANU series, performs just as well in this and Abhay Deol, who according to me is the only one in the Deol family who can act, delivers an understated and excellent performance. For the female leads, Anand has relied on actresses who are not box office favourites, but who have given sterling performances in his movies: Sonam Kapoor in RAANJHANA and Kangna Ranaut in the TANU series. And in HAPPY BHAAG JAYEGI, Diana Penty is the one who takes the cake. Aided by a tailor made script, Diana fits like a glove in the role of Happy.
HAPPY BHAAG JAYEGI is not without clichés; and yet what I liked about the movie apart from what I have written above was how the end was handled. And how “untacky” this was compared to the placid RUSTOM and the soul less MOHENJODARO!
RATING: 4 out of 5
August 19th, 2016