Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hasee Toh Phasee Review

Tedha Hai Par Mera Hai!

Hasee Toh Phasee
Director: Vinil Matthew
Actors: Parineeti Chopra, Siddharth Malhotra
Ratings: *** 

It's quite refreshing to see the new-age romantic comedies involve characters that are driven by their passion towards their careers. Dharma Productions' Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), that conceived this notion of bubble-gum love, had youths who would step into marriage lives just after their college. Even after 10 years, Aamir Khan and Excel Entertainment (known for one of the best youth films ever, Dil Chahta Hai in 2001) together released one of the most popular rom-coms, Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na (2008) which no matter how brilliantly made, reflected the same regressivity of Kuch Kuch... It was Wake Up! Sid, just after a year in 2009, that stepped forward in actually mirroring the youth of our times... emotionally confused but career-oriented. Surprisingly, it came from the same production house that gave us KKHH. Dharma kept pushing the envelope in coming years with films like Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012) and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013). 

In their latest (in association with Phantom Films), Hasee Toh Phasee, we for the first time see a female IITian as a lead on screen, and that too in a nonstereotypical way. Parineeti Chopra, who seems growing with each of her films, wears this role by picking up mannerisms like licking her lips, constantly moving eyes, playing with her fingers and others' logic, to match up this quirkily written character of Meeta. While the male, Nikhil (lead by dead Siddharth Malhotra), is a half-baked Ranbir Kapoor from Ayan Mukerjee's films: he is a failed IPS aspirant and is now struggling with his event business. We are introduced to both of them in their childhood in 1992 where their intelligent escapades involve closed doors, after which the film takes leap of 14 years when they are again on their individual escapes. After making a point in these two time-zones, the film leaps to present where much more than an ordinary boy-meets-girl story have been pushed but fails to make a point collectively and remains what it appeared on the surface- a boy-meets-girl story.

One of the best scenes of the film is just before the interval where they both, drenched in rain, are standing on a terrace with their hands stretched and fists open- a way to release stress as taught by Meeta, who herself pops anti-depressant pills. With her flaws, she is helping out Nikhil who is here to help her out in first place. At one point before a business meeting, she tells him that no chance is last chance; every chance is second-last. May be that's why, she returned home after escaping 7 years ago. And for the Gujarati family she belongs to, she is still a disgrace. This subplot of realism causes friction with all the casualness that the film had. And that easy-going casual nature of the film was due to the breeziness in the friendly relationship shared by Meeta and Nikhil, which  I never envisaged and felt would develop romantically. It shouldn't have even. I would have loved this film to be a singular character film, titled as 'Meeta' on the lines of Amélie for all the quirkiness she alone throws in, or it could have been a 'Wake Up! Meeta' with Nikhil shaping her up. Because, anyway, the current title is highly inappropriate.
The romantic arc of this rom-com is done very Imtiaz Ali style (the fun and frolick is very much Jab We Met, and the climax reminds me of Love Aaj Kal in particular), and the humor is sharp but some parts could have been outrageous (like in both the gags, one involving twin old ladies and other about stolen necklace, where we already know the suspense, feels stretched out). With the characters shooting off their timely quirky instances (a lady breaking out into a classical raga in an Antakshri game; or a gentleman waving his cellphone in air to find signal), the film is also rooted to realistic details and locations (a contact saved as 'Karishma 2'; talks about 'guarantor' while talking money and loan; a dilapidated apartment at a place like Gowandi; 24 hours ladies coach in local trains; the famous Shashikant Bar near Powai as their regular hangout for alcohol; Bhuleshwar as saree shopping market) along with choreographed Punjabi song sequences, though subtly treated. These make the film a tug of war between good-old Karan Johar's Dharma and the new Kashyap-Motwane's Phantom. And when the lead pair flies and falls on rose petals, you know which team is winning. 

P.S.: The headline of this review is the tagline of a packaged snacks brand which Parineeti is seen munching in two scenes (brand-ambassador job, you see), and it translates to 'It's uneven but likeable' which quite sums up my thoughts about the movie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyable and Entertaining Movie Hasee Toh Phasee