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Film Review | Happy New Year
'Twas the festive season. And when a film promises to entertain with a big star cast, its like a double treat. So, the cinema buffs will ensure that a house full sign is displayed well in advance. Diwali release of 2014, Happy New Year, got a similar reception, with families rushing to the cinema halls to bond over Bollywood. Director Farah Khan's much awaited film has everything going for it - a clean family entertainer with the usual Bollywood masala, decent songs and her favorite touch of filmyness. Yet, there were a few things that stood over and above the film. Moments, performances, concepts among others that stood out and shined, in this otherwise regular, entertaining fare.
The basic plot is quite simple - a group of 'losers' (as Charlie aka Shah Rukh Khan likes to put it) plan a heist and go all out to take revenge, not only on a personal level, but also to win back the nation's pride at a World Dance Championship. In this game of pride and prestige, the director throws in an emotional angle, a villain, some hilarious special appearances and six 'main' characters from different backgrounds. While five of them (Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and Vivaan Shah) can't dance to save their life, one (Deepika Padukone) looks up to 'Dence' as an 'Arrtt'. A ridiculously crazy yet fun ride follows, where some laughs (great job by dialogue writer Mayur Puri), face-offs and a beautifully put together climax will keep you entertained. Though I must admit, the first half was a tad too long and repetitive, it was the second half where things got well paced and back in groove.
So, what are those 'special' elements that makes watching this grand spectacle worth while?
Here we go (in no particular order):
1. Abhishek Bachchan: If there is anyone who will surprise you with his antics throughout the film, it is Junior Bachchan. He plays the tapori Nandu Bhide with elan. Be it the accent, his body language or the hilarious 'Saap' dance, Bachchan has undoubtedly given one of his best performances. He manages to make you laugh, without going too overboard (it was a risky role, since comedy makes several performers overact). In short, all the whistlepodu moments are reserved for him and people come out loving his character. Bachchan will also surprise you with a 'doosra', but for that, you will have to watch the film. This is not a spoiler review, alright!
2. Casting and Performances: The casting department nailed it with their choice. Each actor fits into their character perfectly. Deepika Padukone looks gorgeous and proves why she deserves to be the reigning female actor in Bollywood. She effortlessly makes you laugh and then, performs an emotional scene equally well. She gracefully fits into the shoes of Mohini, though the accent could have been a little more natural. Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and Vivaan Shah have delivered a good performance. Zeroing in on Jackie Shroff as the baddie was a good call and he does perfect justice to his act. Seeing Anupam Kher as Khan's father was sweet (DDLJ memories, anyone?) and so was Daisy Irani as Boman's mother.
3. Shah Rukh Khan: With every passing film, SRK has just proved why he deserves the title - 'King Khan'. And with this one, things are no different. Khan cries, throws attitude like a badass, does some crazy moves and smiles his way into your heart. His introduction scene is a hysteria that should be witnessed only in a single screen. I won't be surprised if Khan sets a trend for 10 pack abs now. A few emotional scenes and sad moments show his incredible acting skills. But above all, Khan performs like a dream and looks absolutely charming, as always.
4. Farah Khan and team: Kudos to Khan for presenting an entertainer that for once was not a no-brainer, and yet, got families together to enjoy the perfect masala Bollywood entertainer during the festive season. A word for those Devdas, Om Shanti Om, Chak De! India and other references, because they further glorified the filmy essence in the film. The editing is decent, cinematography is fine and VFX is flawless (Team Red Chillies, a big pat on the back). I also enjoyed watching the choreography, especially the grand finale. The VFX and stage set up was absolutely breath-taking. Loved the music mash-up, those Michael Jackson inspired costumes. It definitely made for a spectacular end!
5. Dance as an Element: Being a performer, I felt immensely happy to see a fantastic choreographer like Farah Khan present a film that celebrates the spirit of dance. While a major part of Happy New Year revolves around a heist, it is dance that brings them together and helps them shine as winners in the end. Having gone through endless rounds in various dance championships with my team, I know what the pressure of representing any institution or city / country means. I could also understand Mohini's will to win the championship for her country. Somewhere, I could relate to her passion for the art and I feel proud to see real passion for dance winning over technique or methor. Because Dil se naachne waale ko hi toh asli dancer kehte hain!
And hey, please don't walk out of the cinema hall like a rude individual when the credits roll out. Otherwise, you might just miss the most adorable moment in the film - AbRam Khan playing with his father, SRK, who puts the appearance across as his son's first formal introduction. Just how adorable is that baby? Those eyes and cheeks, they are so much like his Papa.
Verdict: Dil sach mein jeet ke le gaye Indiawaale!
Happy New Year definitely makes for an entertaining watch.