While trade pundits aver that romance is the easiest genre to sell — as long as you package it with a good looking lead pair and a hit soundtrack, the Under-25 generation can be easily enticed — it’s never easy to make a clutter breaking love story. The expectations skyrocket when the film brings together two creative powerhouses — Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap. The announcement of Hasee Toh Phasee was delightful but so were the apprehensions. Can director Vinil Matthew add the zaniness of Kashyap to the Johar formula? Can he make a smart rom-com minus the cheese?
He does. ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ is a charming watch. The narrative is mint fresh, emotional, funny and romantic. It’s a well cast film — full marks to Mukesh Chhabra who assembles a crackling ensemble. The newness of the film is in the characters — they are misfits, a bit dysfunctional but together they make complete sense. Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra do full justice to their roles. Sidharth is so earnest and sincere that you forget this is just his second film. Parineeti, meanwhile, announces yet again that in the current generation, she has no competition. She is the Ranbir Kapoor in her generation of young actresses. She makes being natural an art form. Just like in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, Ishaqzaade and Shuddh Desi Romance, here too, she inhabits her character as the socially reclusive, sometimes emotionally unavailable, eccentric genius Meeta. Hope Bollywood knows what to do with this girl because she has the potential to be one of our greatest. Just choose right, dear girl.
For a love story to connect, it has to offer a new definition of love. In Band Baaja Baaraat, the hero says, ‘Tere bina kissi cheez mein mauj nahin hai’; in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, he says, ‘Tum sahi nahin ho, mujhse alag ho’. Shuddh Desi Romance was all about random mann ati chanchal, ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ is about second chances — at life, love, relationships, dreams, work and forgiveness. Be patient with the first 20 minutes when the characters are being established and you might just enjoy this quirky, emotional ride.
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Kashyap and Johar should definitely collaborate more often.