Movie Review (Happy Phir Bhag Jayegi): Laughter with a wrinkle

Movie Name: Happy Phir Bhag Jayegi

Year: 2018

Language: Hindi

Genre: Comedy

Director: Mudassar Aziz

Starcast: Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Shergill, Jasbir Gill, Piyush Mishra, Diana Penty, Ali Fazal

Rating: 1 star

Review: Laughter with a wrinkle

Happy Phir Bhag Jayegi is a Hindi film released in the year 2018. It has been written and directed by Mudassar Aziz, produced by Aanand L Rai & Krishika Lulla and stars Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Shergill, Jasbir Gill, Piyush Pandey, Diana Penty and Ali Zafar among others. It’s a comedy movie and is the sequel of the 2016 hit movie Happy Bhag Jayegi.

The plot of the film is an extension of the story of the first film, Happy Bhag Jayegi, however, Abhay Deol’s character is missing in the film. This film has 2 Harpreet Kaur’s (also known as Happy) – Diana and Sonakshi. And the plot revolves around the confusion that happens due to same names of the two characters. The movies starts with the 2 Harpreet’s getting swapped circumstantially and slowly the story moves forward as to what Sonakshi’s character is doing in the film.

The first film was based on India and Pakistan. In this film, China angle is introduced. So, both the Harpreet’s travel to Shanghai, China and get swapped there. Diana’s role is reduced to a more of a special role as maximum screen time is accorded to Sonakshi Sinha.

Story wise the film is not bad. Most of the characters have a good reason to do what they are doing or are made to do. The story also follows the typical character arcs that generally ensure entertainment or a good film. The characters borrowed from the first film also maintain their essence as it is.

However, the film is not as entertaining as the first one was. In the first film, the plot itself was so engaging that there was enough scope to have good situational comedy, whereas this film has more of slapstick comedy. Most of the scenarios of the character shades are cliché in nature and do not offer the newness of thoughtful writing or imagination. A lot of scenes have been made very easy and do not make sense.

For example, the jail break scene, considering the buildup given about the most secure prison in Guangzhou district of China, was too simply written. Also, the reason why Harpreet’s (Sonakshi) runaway fiancé, Aman is in jail is not too convincing and looks out of the plot.

This film is a typical example of how a poorly written screenplay can ruin a good story with a great potential. At many points, the film appears dragged and lacks the zing of the first film. The comedy is sparse, like a sprinkle of coriander leaves on bhelpuri, given the fact that the film was promoted as a comedy. The “wanted” tag given to Harpreet (Diana) in the trailer and posters seemed less relevant.

The main plot which led to the swapping of the 2 Happy’s and consequently the entire film has been left unresolved and the climax is unceremoniously handled. The plot of Harpreet’s (Sonakshi) kidnap and the subsequent escape has also been not given appropriate treatment. It was neither funny nor intelligent, whereas it could have been both and would have given the audience a really enjoyable slot.

Cinematography of the film is good and the locations look very authentic. Music is mediocre and the song “Kudiye ni tere” was not needed in the film. Acting wise, only Sonakshi Sinha and Jimmy Shergill shine out, rest all are mediocre in their performance.

The length of the film is 137 minutes, whereas, if it was 100-110 minutes film, it could have been a gritty comedy with tight screenplay. Some of the comedy sequences are adult in nature and may not be appropriate for family audience, especially the character of “Faak Qyu” that was totally avoidable as he had no place in the story itself. And this is the reason why I give it a 1 star.

We definitely expected more after Happy Bhag Jayegi and Abhay Deol was sorely missed.

Virag Dhulia is an independent short film maker, a registered screenwriter and a novelist.

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