HAPPY NEW YEAR is a purely masala flick that has everything going in its favor business wise and if you can digest Farah Khan's obsession for her trademark kitsch of song and dance, obsession for SRK, then this one's for you. Director Farah Khan maybe just four movies old, but her trademark Bollywood kitsch is painfully predictable and requires an appetite for flamboyance. Low on logic, and high on opulence, her movies flourish on song and dance, and rides purely on Shah Rukh Khan’s shoulders, or might we add abs! Farah’s frames are about abundance. An abundance of skin show, might we add. We all know Farah Khan loves her escapist entertainers and, literally, her own ones as well. She packs her scenes with spot-the-reference cues, even some self-referencing ones, generously. A vault is named after the retro heist film Shaalimar, the dancer heroine is Mohini (because you know, Tezaab), there’s the Chak De sattar-minute speech rehashed, the Amitabh Bachchan Mohabbatien line (Parampara, Pratishta, Anushasan), the ‘Picture abhi baki hai mere dost’ line from Om Shanti Om. So what happens when Bollywood tries its hand at heist? Usually, the result is Don 2 or Dhoom 2 or 3 — a wannabe Hollywood-looking film with car chases shot in foreign locations minus the logic and plausibility. Full credit to Farah Khan for not going there and for choosing to embrace the genre with all that’s truly Bollywood — song, dance and drama. So while the template is decidedly heist, the treatment is completely Bollywood. Each character is introduced one by one with their skill sets and quirks — some of these quirks and eccentricities are dumb and contrived in a trying-hard-to-be-funny way. Nandu (Abhishek Bachchan) loves to drink and throw up. Jagmohan (Sonu Sood) is hard of hearing and gets worked up if anyone says anything about his mother (this joke is used purely to orchestrate a nine-month-long comic fight sequence that is of no consequence to the film). And Tammy (Boman) gets random convulsions for 30 seconds exactly and dresses like he’s seven years old. Imagine you are out with an old friend who isn’t all that funny but you laugh anyway because you know he’s a good guy and also because you have become used to his sense of humour. Watching Happy New Year feels exactly like that. It requires you to wear your bar mood and after that, it’s not such a bad night.
STORY & SCREENPLAY :: The story of the movie has been penned down by the trio of Farah Khan, Mayur Puri & Althea Delmas Kaushal who had their work cut out substantially because when you have a reigning superstar, a spectacular ensemble cast and a canvas as vivid as your imagination, it’s indeed clever thinking to adapt the most successful plot of Bollywood and turn it into a colorful visual spectacle. Director Farah Khan does just that in one of the most awaited films of the year, and in style! It’s the tried-and-tested (and also seldom gone wrong) idea – the lead protagonist putting together a team of underdogs to achieve the unthinkable. Happy New Year is too self-aware for its own good but thankfully, it packs in some laughs with moments of irreverence and political incorrectness. The sporting Anurag Kashyap-Vishal Dadlani cameo, or the scene where the team hacks into the results to eliminate a talented children’s team called Angels, Abhishek Bachchan’s snake dance (which is likely to go viral in nightclubs) or racist digs at the Korean team. The film starts off with a world dance championship finale, wherein 'Team India' goes missing. Team India is led by the 'Boston University topper' Chandramohan Manohar aka Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan), whose 'entry' is shown in a illegal kick boxing match, wherein SRK mouths the rehash of all his famous one liner dialogues from his previous movies. Charlie is out on a mission to take revenge for his father, Manohar (Anupam Kher), who is conned by the evil mind Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff) and imprisoned for 12 years. Charlie's plan is to steal Rs. 300 crore worth diamonds that are under Charan's security in Dubai. His partners in crime are: A partially deaf Jagmohan Prasad aka Jaggu aka Jag (Sonu Sood) who is an ex-army bomb squad member, a self confessed Parsi 'stud' Tammy Irani (Boman Irani) who is an expert at opening sophisticated lockers and who carries a mini supermarket in his bag, a young hacker Rohan Singh (Vivaan Shah) who is a 'loser in real world, Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan) whose 'USP' is that he can puke anytime, anywhere, and then there's Mohini (Deepika Padukone), who is a bar dancer with a dream of opening a dance school for young girls. Mohini has a huge weakness for English speaking people! She is someone who lives by the saying 'Haaro toh haaro, Ijjat mat utaaro', which means for her 'ijjat' is everything. The plan is to not just steal expensive diamonds from Charan, but also to restore the lost glory of Charlie's innocent father, by putting Charan in jail. To execute this plan however, the team needs to participate in the 'World Dance Championship' which takes place in the Atlantis hotel, exactly where Charan will be keep the diamonds for a one day display in Dubai. Charlie and his team enroll in this competition and despite all the boys being non-dancers, they use their antics to survive amongst the best dancers in the world. True to the saying 'When the going gets tough, the tough gets going', Charlie and his team go all out to successfully execute the plan, even if that means to win the dance championship, despite being non-dancers. Will Charlie and his 'Team India' be able to steal the diamonds from Charan's sophisticated locker, will they be able to win the dance championship despite being non-dancers and will Charlie ever be able to restore the lost glory of his father forms the rest of the story.
STARCAST :: Full marks must be given to the casting director for choosing the right cast. In this movie, Shah Rukh has offered the audience abs of steel that have quite clearly been contoured with eye-shadow or bronzer. Shah Rukh Khan has worked hard on his body for this film and he does a fine job of flaunting it. Extremely full of energy most of the times, he manages to entertain you in all his scenes : be it comedy, fight or romance. Deepika plays a dancer who teaches the men how to move so they can take part in the competition and has a Chennai Express hangover with a suspiciously Tamilian lilt to her accent. She has played her quirky character to perfection. Sonu Sood, as the half-deaf meat head with a body that has the ladies swooning, is brilliant. Vivaan Shah is perfect as the nerdy teen hacker; Mark Zuckerberg watch out – if The Social Network was made in Bollywood Vivaan would definitely win the part, replete with the unpopularity with the ladies. Boman Irani, who plays a chubby master of breaking into safes, gave us some of the best laugh-out-loud moments of the movie with a quirky Parsi accent, sorry fits of epilepsy and a bevy of ageing Parsi gals vying to wed him post his dance win. The support system of the movie is a zany performance by Abhishek Bachchan. Simply said, he seems to have had the maximum fun making this film. He’s let loose and his character revels at grossing you out and making you chuckle with consummate ease.
TECHNICAL FINESSE :: The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Vishal - Dadlani which is already a chartbuster. Since, its a dance show based movie, music plays a vital role in carrying the movie forward and the duo has been successful in charting a good album. The background music by John Stewart is apt enough and enhances the level of on-screen proceedings in the right way. The cinematographer of the movie is Manush Nandan who has done an excellent job behind the camera. He has captured both the lavish grandeur of the dance sets as well as the outdoor locales of Dubai with equal finesse. Farah Khan and Geeta Kapoor have choreographed the songs beautifully especially the extravagant dance numbers. Shashank Tere who is the production designer also deserves a special mention as the frames looks visually stunning and opulent. The movie has been edited by Anand Subaya & Tushar Parekh who have kept the run-time of the movie to 179 minutes. They deserve a pat on their back for their crisp editing as they have managed to keep the flow of narrative at an even pace all through the movie. Farah Khan, who is the co-writer as well as the director of the movie has dished out a typical masala fare this time. Its not easy to catch hold of audience's interest for as long as close to three hours but somehow she has managed that this time. Reason being, she has stuck to the basic formula plot of a commercial potboiler and has not even slightly tried to offer something new. She has made a purely no-brainer masala movie which contains no vulgarity, preachiness but just pure pop corn entertainment.
CONCLUSION :: It all depends which kind of movies you like, If you like to have fun and you don’t mind entertainment over cerebral arguments, Farah Khan’s Happy New Year is worth your time. Happy New Year could steal your heart if you don’t use your head. When you wake up the next morning, you probably won’t remember much. Except that you laughed out loud a few times for some strange reason.
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