By: Keyur Seta
Rating: * * * ½
To analyze a hardcore masala entertainer like Farah Khan’s Happy New Year, the only relevant question is whether the film delivers what it promises. Despite some hiccups, the answer easily falls in the affirmative as film is filled with high doses of entertainment, good enough to be the biggest crowd pleaser of the year.
It revolves around Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) and his old friends Jag (Sonu Sood) and Tammy (Boman Irani). Charlie plans the biggest diamond heist ever, right under the nose of his old enemy Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff) in Dubai. They include a roadside tapori Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan) as the heist couldn’t happen without his help and Rohan (Vivaan Shah) as he is a computer geek. But to get hold of the diamonds, they need to take part in World Dance Championship. As all of them are non-dancers, they take the services of bar dancer Mohini (Deepika Padukone).
HNY is one of the rare 3-hour films of today’s times where you don’t feel the need to look at your watch. Non-stop humor, witty dialogues, unusual character traits, thrilling robbery scenes and, of course, the dances make sure you are glued to the screen for the entire duration. What works more is some unexpected entertainment items at unexpected places. The Narendra Modi lookalike surely deserves special mention!
However, the film provides more satisfaction in the second half. This is not because the first half is dull or slow. The problem in this part is that the humor is mostly childish, which will be enjoyed only by kids. For example, how funny is it to see men impersonating women and struggling to dance? But what hurts more is the done-to-death, immature gay humor. Somehow, Bollywood still thinks it is funny.
But the biggest issue that stops the film from being a high quality winner is the presence of loopholes, especially when it comes to the all-important robbery. Thankfully, the entertainment in the second half and the exciting and overwhelming last 45 minutes, including the climax, make sure your experience turns out to be paisa vasool. This aspect makes you overlook the big flaws because, frankly speaking, such films are meant only to entertain and those not ready to put their topmost organ at rest should stay miles away from them.
Vishal-Shekhar’s music also plays its part in keeping the entertainment quotient high. The most impressive numbers are ‘India Wale’, ‘Satakli’ and ‘Manwa Lage’. Cinematographer Manush Nandan shines the most while artistically capturing the dance scenes and locales of Dubai. The background score suits various emotions and provides the desired effect.
Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t disappoint his fans by providing a mature act as the captain of the team. Although this is easily not one of his best acts, he plays a big role in keeping things under control. However, he should understand that having 6 packs doesn’t mean such a thin physique. With yet another impressive act, Deepika Padukone continues her dream run in mainstream Bollywood.
Abhishek Bachchan is the surprise package. The actor displays his acting potential as Nandu Bhide in a hilarious role. Boman Irani once again shows he is ever-reliable. Sonu Sood doesn’t get much scope later on but he makes good of whatever opportunity he gets. Vivaan Shah perfectly suits in the role of a computer geek. But he needs to work on his acting skills a bit. Jackie Shroff is believable as a ruthless antagonist. Anupam Kher makes an impact in a cameo. Sajid Khan, in another cameo, could have been funnier.
Overall: Happy New Year is a joyride if you prefer mindless hardcore larger-than-life entertainers. The end product and the fact that the film has received an earth-shattering opening will make sure it turns out to be a huge success at the box office. Don’t be surprised if the film creates new ones by beating Dhoom 3 and Kick.
Director: Farah Khan
Producers: Red Chillies Entertainment and UTV Motion Pictures
Writers: Farah Khan, Mayur Puri and Althea Delmas Kaushal
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff, Vivaan Shah
Genre: Masala Entertainer