Happy Bhag Jayegi movie cast: Abhay Deol, Diana Penty, Momal Sheikh, Ali Fazal, Jimmy Shergill, Kanwaljeet, Piyush Mishra
Happy Bhag Jayegi movie director: Mudassar Aziz
What if an Indian girl wakes up in Pakistan one fine morning? And what if she finds, gasp, the one she’s looking for across the border?
The premise of Happy Bhag Jayegi, promises you some good chuckles because, well, who doesn’t like the idea of a pretty girl on the run in search of her Prince Charming? And the Pakistani locations—the scenic spots around Lahore– should inject some freshness, right?
We smile in the beginning. Spirited Amritsar kudi Happy’s (Diana Penty) heart beats for Guddu (Ali Fazal) but the path of true love is strewn with stern fathers (Kanwaljeet), local bad boy rival Bagga (Jimmy Shergill) and an accidental Pakistani gentleman named Bilal Ahmed (Abhay Deol).
But all too soon, the pleasures of the film dwindle, and we are left to fend for ourselves, looking for something that will make us laugh, even if it is weak laughter. There is some of it, but it is far too intermittent.
The film spends a substantial amount of time in Pakistan, and a whole bunch of colourful characters trying out their Urdu. Fervent Pakistani cop (Piyush Mishra) who loves some things Hindustani (Taj Mahal, Yusuf saab), Bilal’s father (Javed Sheikh) who wants him to join politics, and his beautiful betrothed (Momal Sheikh) who looks askance at this new girl: is the Indian Happy about to sink her hooks into her all-Pakistani Bilal?
Done well, Happy Bhag Jayegi could have been a rollicking comedy. But despite its occasional throwaway lines, and nice touches, it never comes together. If you want me to suspend disbelief and buy into your wholly contrived plot, you have to be able to write your way past the contrivances. This doesn’t happen.
Some of the casting choices are suspect. Penty has a wide-eyed appeal and an infectious smile but she is not a good fit for a Punjabi ‘pataka’. And some are too familiar. Fazal has a thankless part and never lifts off the screen: imagine being termed a musician and never getting to play or strum or sing. No, really.
And some are too familiar: Fazal has a thankless part and never lifts off the screen; Shergill has some funny lines but he is essentially doing a repeat of his Tanu Weds Manu part. In fact, the film has several striking resemblances to TWM, which makes sense because Happy Bhag Jayegi is an Anand L Rai production too.
Good to see Abhay Deol back in the groove after his disastrous previous outing One By Two, and the very pretty very swish-in-her-designer-threads Momal Sheikh (a popular TV actor who also happens to be Javed Sheikh’s daughter) gives him something to work on. The third angle in this triangle is touched upon but its potential is never fully realised. And that goes for the film as a whole. When will our films be better written?
Watch: Happy Bhag Jayegi trailer
Some of the gentle Indo-Pak banter is funny but it becomes too stretched. And what was the need of the risible : ‘Kaisa desh hai, bandook na dikhao toh koi sunta hi nahin hai’?
This Happy should have left me much happier.
Follow the reviewer @shubhragupta
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