Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi
Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi is Forgettable but Fun
Movie Review by Surangama Guha Roy (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
From time to time you need a film that lifts your spirits and offers you two and a half hours of unadulterated masti. Happy Bhag Jayegi in 2016 was one such movie where the mad caper led on by the likes of Abhay Deol, Jimmy Shergill and Piyush Mishra did at least serve its purpose. It amused, and it pleased. And it did so without pretense.
Its sequel, Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi, is perhaps more unabashedly nonsensical, with the entire entourage having ended up in China this time. Yet, the plot feels stale somehow, and although the pace never falters, and you do get a few good laughs, the end product is not as charming as its prequel.
Bollywood is no stranger to situational comedy dramas. At times it works, at other times it just doesn’t catch your pulse. Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi hovers somewhere in between. To its credit, it never goes over the top. But the jokes are for the most part predictable – for instance, Bagga’s (Jimmy Shergill) ‘Tu Gill hai, toh main Shergill hun’ simply had to be there. Moreover, the screenplay relies heavily on stereotypes, and there is way too much going on for the entirety of the time.
A Bollywood film set in China will inevitably come with its usual baggage of racist jokes. Thus, all Chinese people look alike, and Japan, Korea and China are of course all the same! Kudos to the director, however, for not running away from the reverse stereotype, when the Chinese henchmen mix up between the two Happys who apparently, and justifiably it seems, look the same to them! India and Pakistan too get their fair share of good-humored wit against them.
But what works, as it should in a comedy drama, is not the script, but the ensemble cast. Shergill as Daman Singh Bagga and Piyush Mishra as Usman Afridi, are back from the prequel, and their adorable Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee duo carry much of the film on their shoulders. Popular Punjabi singer Jassi Gill forays into Bollywood with an adequate performance as the soft-hearted Indian embassy employee in Shanghai. His hysteric spells where he comes well-nigh losing it are hilarious. Versatile actor Denzil Smith’s suave antagonist is refreshing at first, although it does lose its charm surprisingly fast. But no one can blame Smith for not trying. Even, Jason Tham and Aparshakti Khurrana get their glory moments, while Ali Fazal and Diana Penty have only bit roles. And Sonakshi Sinha, who seems determined to amuse herself with basically meaningless scripts despite her potential, is competent in her in-substantial title role. Her Happy brings the characters together and sets the wheels in motion, but then becomes almost peripheral to the rest of the story. Yet, as mentioned earlier, it is the entire cast, and not just a central protagonist, that works here, to which end Sinha’s role seems justified.
One pines a bit for the clean, wry humor that Abhay Deol brought to Happy Bhag Jayegi, which somehow seemed to keep the prequel from unravelling all over the place. Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi lacks that binding factor. The music is unremarkable, and the little romance with ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu’ as the end credits roll falls flat. Bollywood should steer clear of remixing old classics. Period.
Watch the film if you are looking for some unapologetic, light-hearted comedy of errors. But brace yourself for disappointment if you expect more. One thing is for sure. Happy’s two outings have somehow managed to avert disaster. But it is time to stop, for one must consider the fair possibility of the audience running away if there is yet again a next time.
One last thing before we end, and for this I’m unapologetic. Jimmy Shergill is love. We’ll be rooting for Bagga all the way, if his runaway brides finally decide to give him a break.