Film: Happy Bhag Jayegi
Cast: Diana Penty, Ali Fazal, Abhay Deol, Jimmy Shergill, Piyush Mishra
Director: Mudassar Aziz
If it were early 1990’s, Happy Bhag Jayegi probably had a chance of calling itself a peppy comedy film. A few poorly scripted funny dramas did manage to make cash registers ring at the box office then.
Sadly, for the four actors—one returning to the silver screen after a gap of four years, another waiting to make a breakthrough in Bollywood and the third and fourth looking for a hit to save their drowning career—Diana Penty, Ali Fazal, Abhay Deol and Jimmy Shergill, the Mudassar Aziz directorial is nothing close to perfect. And, yes it’s 2016 and the film is a constant reminder of bad Bollywood movies of yesteryears.
An Amritsari runway bride lands in Lahore. The bride in question is Diana as the titular character Happy. Diana puts on the same expression in almost every frame. The actress’ near-to-perfect make up and not-at all-perfect acting draws a blank. One wonders if Dianna actually waited for this script for four years!
Well, we have seen Happy-like characters before a multiple times – Geet in Jab We Met and Tanu in Tanu Weds Manu. The poorly etched role and the weak screenplay here don’t certainly help Diana much either.
In spite of a convincing start, the film with a tried and tested run away bride formula goes haywire in the first few minutes. With the loud background score, a series of poorly written characters and an India-Pakistan angle thrown in, the first half is as bad as the second one. The only difference is that one knows what to expect in the second half after experiencing the vacuous first part.
There was a time when some actors mastered the act of being a villain, others enacted the role of a typical lover boy with perfection and a few others were known for some character roles. Jimmy, otherwise a brilliant actor, seems to have landed himself into that space now. In Happy Bhag Jayegi, Jimmy’s character Daman Singh Bagga looks like a cheap replica of Raja Awasthi of Tanu Weds Manu and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Again, he is a groom who fails to get married repeatedly and nails the part with witty lines. Jimmy made audiences laugh uncontrollably in his previous outings, whereas this time it’s a pity to see him doing the same thing.
The film defies logic on multiple occasions. For instance, a Pakistani ex-governor’s son who happens to be a budding cricketer-turned-politician Bilal Ahmed (Abhay) roams around in India without any security only to search Happy’s lover Guddu (Ali). On his mission, he is accompanied by a Pakistani police personnel (Piyush Mishra). Smoothly, they find Guddu and with negligible trouble the Pakistani policeman takes Guddu to the other side of the border after completing the paper work. In the process, Piyush, however, overacts and makes the pun intended dialogues also miss the point courtesy his poor delivery.
Ali looks innocent and does justice to the character of Guddu to an extent. But, the script limits his scope and he ends up just being the penniless singer and a faithul lover. Momal Sheikh as Abhay’s fiance gives good competition to Diana. From the two bad performances, it is quite difficult to decide who is the worse actor!
As Jinnah-in-the-making, Abhay impresses in a few scenes. Compared to the rest of the cast, he manages to offer something worth seeing. Again, remember that the parameter or standard is low already!
Although the love triangle remains less highlighted, it adds value to the film and brings out a unique aspect quite beautifully.
Happy Bhag Jayegi does make the funny bones tickle as Bilal’s father constantly reminds that his son is good enough to "change the history of Pakistan".
Unfortunately, the film will not change the fate of its actors, rather change the history of its makers for worse.