Film: Happy New Year****
Directed by: Farah Khan
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Sonu Sood, Boman Irani and Vivaan Shah
What it’s about:
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. In HNY, it’s Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) who has waited eight years to seek revenge on Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff), the man responsible for the death of his father. To make it possible, he would require the help of four unusual partners-in-crime – Nandu (Abhishek Bachchan), Mohini (Deepika Padukone), Tammy (Boman Irani) and Rohan (Vivaan Shah). As if that’s not tough enough, the road to Grover’s destruction would need them all to win a world dancing championship! HNY is a heist film topped with a generous garnishing of dance and laced with revenge as its backdrop – entertainment doesn’t get more mainstream than this.
This is Farah Khan’s return to form – quite easily, this is her most complex script to date but she handles effortlessly. There are stereotypes (more on that later) but what’s commendable is the manner in which she springs a surprise everytime the screenplay becomes a tad tiresome. The mounting is jaw-dropping – from the colorful chawls of Mumbai to the elaborate sets to the pristine skyline of Dubai. HNY is dripping with extravagance and flamboyance – in a good way. The film has the quintessential Farah Khan moments — the lavish introductions of all characters, grand songs, the camaraderie between the actors and a touch of patriotism. And not to miss quirky Farah moments – Malaika Arora Khan’s flirtatious gestures towards Sonu; the hilarious Anurag Kashyap-Vishal Dadlani track; Sajid Khan’s cameo; Abhishek’s stripping scene (the funniest scene in the film) and many more. Farah handles her actors brilliantly too. Shah Rukh Khan is restrained, subtle and dignified – the result is outstanding. Deepika is brave enough to play another accented character (after Chennai Express) and scores this time too. Newcomer Vivaan Shah is endearing. Abhishek Bachchan has all the highlights and the punch lines – he brings the house down every time he is on screen. Totally uninhibited and true to his character, Bachchan Junior is at his best. HNY’s scene-stealer, for me (and the pack theatres I watched it in) was Abram Khan who makes his debut in the film’s end credits – he got maximum applause!
Despite having everything going for it, you wonder why they didn’t fine-tune the screenplay a bit more. There are logic issues; there are sensibility issues and in a heist film, you can’t have that. Fortunately for Farah, she pulls out a trick every time you begin to look at your phone screen. I wish Boman Irani would stop playing the lonesome Parsi guy – he’s better than that.
What to do:
Make this Diwali even more special with Happy New Year. One of the best entertainers of 2014.