Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Bhag Jayegi 

 The Runaway Bride

With audiences at the multiplexes getting younger, our filmmakers keep trying their hand at romcoms and seldom achieve the right balance of romance and screwball comedy. It’s to Mudassar Aziz’s credit that he almost manages it with Happy Bhag Jayegi.  Unfortunately, our audiences expect films to be a money’s worth two hours or more, that necessitates needless padding and kills the fizz.

The Happy of the title is Harpreet Kaur (Diana Penty), who causes a great deal of trouble for all around her, but somehow, through all that chaos your know nothing bad will happen to her—it’s not that kind of film.

Happy is in love with Guddu (Ali Fazal), so, on the day of her wedding to small time politician-goon Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Shergill—has played this before), she pulls on running shoes over her glittery outfit and jumps out of the window into a fruit truck. When she emerges from a large basket, it is in the home of Pakistani diplomat Javed Ahmed (Javed Sheikh). His son Bilal (Abhay Deol), reluctantly being groomed for a political career, is dragged in to clear the mess created by Happy’s intrusion. This includes the justified annoyance of his fiancée Zia (Momal Sheikh).

As it happens in such films, a whole lot of characters run about on both sides of the border, getting into situations that range from mildly funny, to idiotic to hilarious.

The goofy, almost-plausible premise of the film, the essentially nice characters (even Bagga is not a snarling nasty), the refreshing lack of jingoism that inevitably creeps into any Indo-Pak film, and a peppering of witty lines, makes Happy Bhag Jayegi a charmer.

But then it overstays its welcome, and gets tiresome after a point when the laughter vanishes. Happy is one of those irritatingly self-absorbed characters, who expects the world to dance to her tunes—a bit like Tanu in the Tanu Weds Manu films, which may not be a coincidence, since Anand Rai is a co-producer on this one—but Diana Penty does not have Kangana Ranaut’s chutzpah to pull off the part.  The one who does his role with complete confidence and calm is Abhay Deol, making a welcome return after a long-ish absence.

Happy Bhag Jayegi is not exactly a must watch, but won’t make the viewer regret the time spent or the price of the ticket either.


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