Bollywood is really into rom-coms these days and this weekend’s release Hasee Toh Phasee, starring Siddharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra is another movie of the genre. After last weekend’s rather weak offering One By Two, one was rather wary of getting one’s hopes too high, but Hasee Toh Phasee was enjoyable, endearing and charming – and that isn’t just because the lead actor is a complete dream boat. I’m going with three and a half stars for this film.
Rating – ***1/2
Film – Hasee Toh Phasee (Release date 7 February 2014)
Starring – Siddharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra, Adah Sharma, Manoj Joshi, Sharat Saxena, Neena Kulkarni,
Producer – Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane
Director – Vinil Mathew
Story/Screenplay – Harshavardhan Kulkarni
Music – Vishal-Shekhar, Amar Mangruklar
Hasee Toh Phasee Review
This is the story of Nikhil Bhardwaj (Siddharth Malholtra) who is getting married to Karishma (Adah Sharma). Just 7 days before his wedding he meets Meeta, his fiance’s sister and the family black sheep – an IITan, scientist and inventor who has returned from China to the family fold after 7 years. Turns out Nikhil and Meeta had met, very briefly, there had been some sparks but they were never fanned into flame then; the two had quickly parted ways.
Now however as Nikhil is trying to prove himself as a successful business man by trying to raise money for his venture – and also to placate his fiancé who is threatening to breakup with him for the nth time – those sparks really start to fly. So Nikhil is now torn between the quirky, brilliant but vulnerable Meeta on the one hand and his 7 year relationship with Karishma on the other. The story is not exactly the most original of plots, but it is deftly handled and cleverly told.
Parineeti Chopra plays a more subdued role that her previous films here – she alternates between a slightly mad persona brought on by a cocktail or anti depressants she is constantly swallowing and a quieter character that is her real self. While she does a good job with the character she has to play, the mad eyes and the constant biting of the lower lip seem rather forced and unnecessary. Her portrayal as the daughter who yearns to meet her father, a woman who lays her heart bare to the man she loves and the flashes of vulnerability she displays speak of a fine actor though. Dressed mostly in jeans and plaid shirts she sports a de-glam look that is in keeping with her character.
Siddharth Malholtra as the stressed, conflicted young man who is trying to please his fiancé is extremely believable and very sympathetic. He comes across as natural, likeable and very real – and did we mention he’s a complete dream-boat? Well he is – small wonder that he has his choice of two beautiful young women at the end. The chemistry between the two leads is understated; even restrained but powerful and very palpable – and at one point one wants to tell the two of them to get together and kiss already!
Sharath Saxena plays the belligerent retired IPS officer and Nikhil’s dad, whereas Karishma’s dad is played by Manoj Joshi who is a successful Gujarati businessman. Both families – the bride’s and the groom’s – have their share of fruitcakes and oddballs and the viewer is presented with a fun cocktail of supporting characters in the film. There are the aged twin aunts who provide a laugh or two and then there is the groom’s cousin who thinks he should be the Indian idol because he creates sound effects with his hands and mouth and makes his pectoral muscles dance.
The story is a little tortuous and the viewer is a little hard pressed to figure out exactly what is going on with Meeta and why. By bits it is revealed to us: why she’s skype-ing with Chinese people in Mandarin, why she is persona non grata in her own family and so on. All the action takes place against the backdrop of the big fat Indian Wedding, but we do know that this is a Gujarati wedding as well: we hear snatches of Gujarati conversation through the film and once again we get the feeling that currently, Bollywood seems assiduously to be wooing all things Gujarati.
Hasee Toh Phasee Music
The music is likable and enjoyable – the song Punjabi Wedding Song has become a regular these days on the party circuit; quite the floor filler. Zehenaseeb is a melodious ballad that comes on at a critical point in the film and manages to wring a sniffle or two from the audience. It’s a big fat Indian wedding so there is plenty of opportunity for song and dance and none of the songs seem at all forced or out of place. One even waited and watched that last song that accompanies the credits – Drama Queen.
So if you have the time this weekend I do urge you to go and sample the joys of Bollywood’s latest rom-com Hasee Toh Phasee – it’s sweet, romantic, charming – and funny too!
By – Reena Daruwalla
Image and videos courtesy Dharma Productions Official YouTube Channel