Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi: Tries to Run But Gets Nowhere!
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Sheirgill, Diana Penty, Jassie Gill, Piyush Mishra, Jason Tham & others
Release: August 24,2018
Nikhil’s Rating: 2/5
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Duration: 135 Minutes (2 Hours 17 Minutes)
Sequels are inherently very difficult to deliver. I know that the obvious statement after this statement is: How good is the sequel from its predecessor? Let me first lay out the fundamental prerequisites for a sequel:
The very format of a sequel is to take a bunch of well-etched out characters and construct a film around an engaging plot/storyline. Some other things to consider are: Setting, Situations, Relationships and so on. Some sequels in Hindi are: Large Raho Munna Bhai, Dhoom: 2, Golmaal Returns, Singham Returns just to name a handful. Filmmakers have the freedom and should think deeply about how to carefully deliver a coherent sequel so that the second statement in this paragraph could yield a positive response.
It is an extremely tricky balance to achieve a film that builds upon what a prequel delivered. Let us dissect if the sequel to Happy Bhag Jayegi to see if it does manage to do this.
Story & Screenplay
I have a grouse about revealing a film’s story/plot in the review itself. I find that it diminishes the experience that the audience should have while watching a movie and discover a story for themselves. A film should take you on an adventure/journey so that the experience acts as an escape from your daily hectic life.
In the new film, Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi, the writer/director Mudassar Aziz simply reinstates a few beloved characters: Daman Singh Bagga, played by Jimmy Shergill & Piyush Mishra as Usman Afridi, the Pakistani Army General. It is understandable and justified that a sequel to the fairly popular film would use such a device. But, having a plot around Diana Penty who played Happy & Ali Fazal Guddu as Guddu, now married, only adds to the confusing story-line. Guess what, to add more salt to this recipe, hoping that it would be tasty; there is a new Happy played by Sonalshi Sinha. She is said to be teaching botany in China, after she is mistaken for the original Happy (Diana Penty) and kidnapped. Get it? India-Pakistan-China?
Team Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi: L-R: Producer Anand L Rai, Jassi Gill, Diana Penty Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Shergill & Director Mudassar Aziz
Hindi movies these days, milk sentimental/political values through its filmmaking. If it is intelligently done, it can lead to entertaining the audience. Happy Bhag Jayegi the prequel; achieved this with great ease and humour. Main Hoon Na starring Shah Rukh Khan & Bajrangi Bhaijaan starring Salman Khan also had a similar plot point told in an entirely different narrative style.
The sequel is based in China. The logic of Harpreet Kaur getting kidnapped in China by a Chinese- looking, Hindi- speaking Chang played by Jason Thang is one character that took this film on a tangent of unintentional comedy. No doubt, there are genuine moments of laughter in the banter between Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Shergill) & Usman Afridi (Piyush Mishra) , the larger picture is that of confusion and somewhat dumbed-down humour, which at times steers into being offensive too.
Main Hoon Na starred Shah Rukh Khan was an attempt to attain peace between the two Nations India-Pakistan. It was mounted on a larger- than- life canvas but also had a decent narrative to keep many hooked.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan starred Salman Khan. It handled the India-Pakistan issue sensitively. It did not resonate with me. But, the character of Munni played by Harshaali Malhotra was a delight to watch.
Another problem with this film is that it has too many songs that are far from hummable or memorable to say the least. This film to be honest, should not have been made in the first place.
Direction, Cinematography & Editing
Mudassar Aziz had made a very impressive film with Happy Bhag Jayegi. It also had a confusing plot that he could translate into a fairly engaging screenplay. Diana Penty, Jummy Shergill, Abhay Deol, Piush Mishra. The situations were such that the audience had rapt attention when it came to the whole movie. Furthermore, the comedy element made sense and enhanced the experience.
Happy Bhag Jayegi Poster
Here, the audience is left high and dry so as to where they should focus. Although his direction is good at places, the whole China angle seems forced and hence the entire film suffers even more so post intermission. The situations at times made me cringe and the humour is half-baked.
It, for me was a scattered mess with some respite due to the laughs. In Happy Bhag Jayegi, Abhay Deol’s camaraderie with with Diana Penty was the icing on the cake. One of the many scenes that I remember even today me is when Diana enters Pakistan literally from a card-board box and the interaction with Abhay Deol’s character Bilal Ahmed afterward among many others.
I have watched movies that are even worse though. Welcome, Tees Maar Khan probably top my list of “the worst movies ever made.” Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi just saves itself from being in this list.
Welcome Movie Poster
Editing as they say can “Make or Break” a film. Unfortunately in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi, it is the curse of the second half that stuns the movie to a certain extent. What starts out as a seemingly good ride, ends up being a bumpy one. The story and screenplay loses the fire that should have burned brightly throughout because of a lack of a coherent and engaging story/plot. My reaction after watching this film was “Yeh kya movie hain?” ( How did they even think of making a movie like this?) The Cinematography is fair. Aziz tries to portray the grandness of the country but does not do justice to the frames. It is mostly a passable attempt. The pacing of the film could have been better post intermission.
Tees Maar Khan Movie Poster
Sonakshi Sinha plays Harpreet Kaur a.k.a “Happy” according to the graph of the character which is of a loud Punjabi Kudi (Girl). It suits her personality to-the-tee. Her confidence is portrayed and she maintains the graph till the very end of the film. Diana Penty as the original Harpreet Kaur/ Happy has very few scenes in this one. Her first attempt as Meera in Homi Adajania’s Cocktail (2012) was a breath of fresh air. She did a fine job in the prequel too. But, had the makers deleted her portion in its entirety then this film probably won’t have been made as is today.
Sonaksh Sinha as Happy in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi
Jimmy Shergill does a fine job as Daman Singh Bagga. His role is simply an extension of the first movie. His chemistry with Piyush Mishra’s Usman Afridi evokes a few welcome and genuine laughs. These two characters are in fact memorable as they were in part One too. Jimmy Shergill should do more films as an actor. His comic- timing is sharp. Ali Fazal as Guddu does not have any scope for exploration.
Jimmy Shergill as Daman Singh Bagga in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi
Justin Tham as Chang Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi
Justin Tham as Chang is serviceable at best. Tham is not as terrifying or evil as a villain ought to be. In the end, he does not leave any impact. In fact, there is a twist in the plot which I won’t give details of. It neither amuses nor is dramatic enough to set the stage for the second half.
If this film is on your radar and to-do-list, you can give the theatrical experience a miss. It is a film that is bogged down by an uneven screenplay and a coherent story. The freshness/USP is also missing. The first film was banned in Pakistan. Most likely this one will have the same fate. The Indian release of it, in my opinion will get a few eyeballs to the theatre because the first film was a success and the punch-lines were the king. In this one there are a very few “King” like moments. But you don’t have to spend your cash on this one. If you have to, watch it on Television when it does air. Watch the first film instead in your spare time. A very generous rating of 2/5 for this one!
Official Trailer (Click on the Poster)