Happy New Year Review
There is a scene mid-way through the film where all the primary characters communicate with each other without uttering a single word, solely by thinking really loud. The scene does draw much laughter. But more importantly it states a very important facet of the film - very loud! That's what Happy New Year is. It 's large, and loud. The problem is not that. The problem is that Farah Khan seems to have let go off something that worked best for her in Main Hoon Naa and Om Shanti Om - the ability to evoke a variety of reactions during the film. With Happy New Year, she manages to garner loads of laughter, but...
Happy New Year also has what the usual SRK movies have of late - clever in-film branding. Quite efficient marketing work. Probably way more efficient than the writing department! And who do we blame for this one? Farah and Mayur Puri (they wrote OSO together) team up lesser known Althea Kaushal to chalk the screenplay of this movie. The result of their labour is a lengthy three hour film, replete with scenes either too convenient or unnecessary. Let's just say, they should not be proud of this effort. Same goes with the dialogues. You know there is a genuine lack of ideas when you have to derive humour from SRK's previous films. They did create a couple of good characters - for Abhishek Bachchan and Boman Irani - ones that actually lift the film. It is pity that they could not provide Shah Rukh with something that befits his capabilities.
Happy New Year is at best an old story told in a new frame. It is about Charlie who loses his father to a conspiracy and is now looking for vengeance. He builds a team of unique characters for a heist - one that would finish off the person who framed his father. To make things entertaining, they become a part of the World Dance Championship. So we have a bunch of non-dancers making their way to the world stage and also accomplishing their primary objective.
A heist-revenge tale is nothing new. We saw Aamir Khan doing the same thing in guise of a clown in Dhoom 3. And little before that we had Abbas Mustan's Players, which was a not-so-good remake of the marvelous The Italian Job. Funnily, all the movies have Abhishek Bachchan.
Of course a dance championship raises expectations because Farah Khan is one of the better known choreographers of Bollywood. But what we have instead of watchable dance we have not so watchable cameos by Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Dadlani. It is kind of weird to see Kashyap getting into such a zone after the brand of cinema he helped establish. Even Deepika Padukone, who plays a professional dancer, is given a badly choreographed solo number Lovely; one that's reminiscent of Katrina's Kamli from Dhoom 3.
As with other SRK starrers, HNY is shot on a tremendous scale. The opening shot itself leaves you wondering at the kind of money they may have splurged to provide the film the look it has. Unfortunately they did not seem to put as much thought into editing. The film could have been a good 30 minutes shorter.
It would be a blunder to call Happy New Year a non-entertainer. In fact it will make you laugh your guts out at multiple points, while you will probably be smiling through most of it. Thanks to superb performances by Deepika, Abhishek and Boman. The rest of the actors, specifically the young Vivaan Shah are given a raw deal. SRK of course still creates magic, raw deal or not.
Happy New Year is just a disappointment when it comes to the kind of work that SRK and Farah have done earlier - the last two times Farah Khan and Shah Rukh Khan collaborated they made brilliantly entertaining films - something you would expect to continue. The biggest loss of this film hence is Farah Khan's failure as a director. Her failure to draw any other emotion - love, agony, patriotism - out of you apart despite attempting to do so in multiple scenes in the film. HNY is just a lesser film, though a fairly decent festive watch - for people of all age groups.
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