Star Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff, Vivaan Shah
Director: Farah Khan
What’s Good: The actors are all earnest and the opulent canvas sure works in retaining your attention.
What’s Bad: It lacks Farah Khan’s witty streak. The heist track just doesn’t work and the film’s second hour is plain unconvincing. Low on the needful IQ that could have made the robbery believable, the film’s thrill tapestry was on the weaker side.
Loo break: Spend a good chunk of post interval in the loo.
Watch or Not?: Happy New Year is two distinct films rolled in one. While the first hour is breezy, fun and pretty watchable, the second hour is a convoluted mess with a heist angle that doesn’t work, a romantic track that seems forced, the vivaciousness lacking from the camaraderie of the characters and the sappyness of a dukhbhari daastan of a backstory. It is a half baked film that uses all the regular formulaic heist tools and naturally offers nothing unseen or unexpected. The predictability of the climax was the most fatal blow for the film. It isn’t unwatchable but horridly disappointing. Farah Khan has better mettle I believe and her funda of keeping it simple, garbed in floss doesn’t work this time.
Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) is looking to avenge the humiliation of his father who was put in a wrong spot by Grover (Jackie Shroff). Following him and tracking him for 8 years led him to the momentous day when Grover will keep protected a handful of rare diamonds.
Charlie builds a team of people whom he calls Charlie’s Angels to participate in World Dance Championship which will lead them to the diamonds they want to steal. Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan), Jags (Sonu Sood), Tammy (Boman Irani) and Rohan (Vivaan Shah) along with their dance teacher Mohini (Deepika Padukone) train for the championship.
How a bunch of losers manage to sneak out the diamonds from the world’s safest locker is what the film entails. A series of events and a tight climax leads to the downfall of Grover that Charlie had plotted for 8 years.
Happy New Year Review: Script Analysis
Farah Khan keeps the story simple indeed. It’s neatly written but the problem is she chooses a wrong theme to tell simply. I wish Farah had restricted the film to her forte, dance! But she tries too many things. There is a feeble backstory of a loser, who we are told is a Boston University Topper. Clearly daddy issues cost him a career and he is currently an unemployed loser. He gets a bunch of co-losers to assist him on an ambitious heist project to avenge the humiliation his father was put through. At one of the film’s initial scenes, Jackie Shroff announces at a press conference, almost as an invitation to robbers all over the world about how his security system is foolproof and will be guarding a bunch of diamonds worth a fortune.
Charlie takes up the challenge and makes a team of people who in all likelihood will fail at robbing the bank next to your house. The first half of the film isn’t brilliant either but atleast it is kept thick and consistent. There is a lot of dance and a lot stupidity because Farah couldn’t let go off her genetic affinity towards churning out no-brainers. Being the older and the more intelligent one of the ‘Humshakals‘ siblings, Farah keeps falling back to dialogues of Shah Rukh’s previous films. King Khan’s tendency of self referencing is clearly used as a crucial clap trap here.
However, in the second half all the eerie things in the world begin happening. The dance team of amateurs take a Dubai trip by blackmailing in-the-closet Gay judges and hacking vote bank in their favor. Once they are in Dubai, the film forgets its entity as a revenge saga and becomes a patriotic film. Deepika even does a SRK’s Sattar minute speech from Chak De India. All hunky dory, the second hour is low on everything that was the best thing about this film. There’s no dance. They are just a bunch of buffoons who are stalking a few diamonds. Farah even draws inspiration from brother Sajid Khan and creates a Humshakals angle here.
The climax was utterly wasted in melodrama. The biggest problem with Happy New Year is its inconsistency. It isn’t a revenge drama because the villain is never made to stand out. The theft is unintelligent. And what’s left is a bunch of talented people getting themselves mocked. The film was a hotch potch and by the end of it, if you survive, you are lucky.
Happy New Year Review: Star Performances
Shah Rukh Khan looks droolworthy. I am not a fan of the Superstar but the actor’s caliber despite remaining unused in the films he takes up, he easily is one of the things in the film that keeps you latched. The role doesn’t do justice to his caliber but the SRK swagger helps in an underwhelming film like this.
Deepika Padukone is earnest and doesn’t have merely an arm candy role. Though her screen space isn’t a lot, the actress has done a terrific job.
Abhishek Bachchan is effortless and hams well. But then again, despite a lot of screen presence his character is not well invested in the film.
Boman Irani brings in his wicked humor and is immensely endearing in his role. Though a lot of the antics, Farah made him do were weird, Irani pulled it all off smartly.
Sonu Sood goes almost unnoticed and wasted. I think he shouldn’t accept such thankless roles where all he is required to do is flaunt his body.
Vivaan Shah wasn’t as much a misfit as one would have thought. He is good and blends in smoothly with the rest of the cast.
Jackie Shroff goes wasted despite his menacing demeanor. Farah doesn’t build his character into anything meaty and anyone could have easily filled in for him. Shroff doesn’t get his usual quirk because the role barely allows him anything.
Happy New Year Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Farah Khan has created a confused film. Happy New Year is a misguided, misfired product that doesn’t know where it wants to end up. The humor was lame and though the design calls for it, one expects better from the other half of Sajid Khan (for some strange reason). I am glad, atleast the film doesn’t go vulgar and offensive, that would have been the final nail. Not attempting to sound preachy and righteous but it also warranties misdeeds in a very ‘Karma bites back’ tone. Had Farah stuck to one theme, Happy New Year could have been a much better film.
As far as the editing goes, a three hour long film is enough to convey the expertise of the editing department. On the brighter side, it could have been a tirade probably but we were saved because of them.
The forgettable music of this apparent dance film is another flaw with the film.
Happy New Year Review: The Last Word
Happy New Year is a muddled mess which has its own warm moments but as a package fails to work. Three hours of Shah Rukh flaunting his abs and swagger gets too much to take minus a strong storyline. Farah Khan has redeemed Tees Maar Khan but Happy New Year is her most mediocre work. I am going with 2/5. It’s a magnum opus which is pretty much hollow from within and remains an all frills, no thrills show.
Happy New Year Trailer
Happy New Year releases on 24th October, 2014.
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