BY TROY RIBEIRO
Film: “Happy New Year”: Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah and Jackie Shroff; Director: Farah Khan; Rating: ***
Packed with humor and fluff, “Happy New Year” is a buoyant revenge saga that revolves around a predictable heist drama, where every character is emotionally blackmailed to be a part of the plan, for the sake of their “maa”, “mama”, “papa” or “dad”.
A mix of heist and dance, which is formulaic in nature, the story unfolds with “no motivation, no crime” as its theme. There is an ample dose of patriotism and entertainment thrown in.
The story revolves around Chandra Mohan (Shah Rukh Khan) aka Charlie whose father (Anupam Kher), a locksmith, was implicated in a robbery by Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff), a diamond trader.
After eight years, Charlie chances upon an opportunity to seek revenge. So he gathers “Team India” to take revenge.
The team consists of his father’s colleague and friend Danny (Boman Irani) aka Jadiya, his dad’s protégé and ex-armyman-cum-explosives specialist Jagmohan Prakash (Sonu Sood), Jagmohan’s nephew, an ethical web-hacker Rohan Singh (Vivaan Shah), a drunkard Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan) who looks like Charan Grover’s son Vicky and Mohini (Deepika Padukone), a bar dancer who teaches them how to dance.
The venue is the WDC, World Dance Competition at the Atlantis, in Dubai.
As the story progresses a plethora of known faces like Malaika Arora, Sajid Khan, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Dadlani, Dino Morea, Kiku Sharma and Lola Kutty keep coming and going on the screen in guest appearances.
On the performance front, Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone outshine everyone in this buddy, buddy drama. In fact, this is easily one of Abhishek’s best performances till date. He has metamorphosed into a confident actor who has control over his craft. His Nandu Bhide, elicits a laugh or a chuckle every time he is on the screen.
Deepika’s presence ups the emotional and romance quotient of the film. She delivers a good performance and is clearly evolving as an actor with each film.
From “Om Shanti Om” to “Happy New Year”, Deepika surprises you with her ability to fit into a dancer’s role with ease.
Young Vivaan is not lost in the plot – he is highly noticeable in this ensemble cast.
Sonu Sood as always plays to the gallery with his shirtless act.
Boman and Shah Rukh offer nothing that you have not seen them doing before. Jackie is lacklustre, in fact a terrible miscast. Charan Grover could have been a more dynamic and energetic character.
On the humour front, it flows well as the audience is served with humour in different forms – dialogues that contain rhymes, puns, mispronounciations, human weakness and action that includes caricature and slapstick comedy.
Dialogues are colloquial, trite and a rehash of earlier blockbusters yet gel well with the script. In fact, the predictability adds to the humour.
The visuals are dazzling, mainly because the computer generated images merge seamlessly with the frames captured by cinematographer Manush Nandan.
As it is a Farah Khan film, hence quite a few well choreographed songs dovetail into the theme of the film, but the track that fails to sync with the story is – “Satakli re satakli”.
As it is coming from Farah’s stable, the film is expectedly a frothy entertainer. She does not delve deep into the plot’s premise, direction or characterisation. But one must credit her for packaging the film well with laugh a minute scenarios, but it leaves you pining for substance that could strike an emotional chord.
Certain sequences are over stretched, because of which the film is unduly lengthy. The in-film brand placements are obvious and jarring.
In short, you may not like it but you definitely cannot ignore it.
Enjoy your weekend with this fun film.