What happens when a potential laugh-riot ends as just a feel good smiley?
Sadness offered from the run-of-the-mill ROM com does run away but afsoos
(Alas) it also takes away the potential source of a ROM com with a different force.
Eros and Aanand L. Rai's HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI (HBJ) - written and helmed by Mudassar Aziz (DULHA MIL GAYA 2010 previous) shows the director's improvement as a story teller from the previous disaster.
However the director fails to get over the producers' (Eros, Aanand L. Rai) hangover of TWM (TANU WEDS MANU series) but still the unedifying charm of the lovely Diana Penty who ups her tail as a pleasant delight on screen after COCKTAIL, the return of Abhay Deol and some genuine laughs provides enough steam to HBJ in keeping at least the smiles of the audience off-screen uninterrupted.
A bride on the run, A spoiled wedding, a 'bindass' happy go lucky girl (a la ''Geet' - the character played by Kareena Kapoor in JAB WE MET on a song again), HBJ written by Mudassar Aziz has all the tried and tested ingredients required for a rom com.
The movie begins with a press brief by ex-governor of Pakistan Javed Ahmed popularly known as 'senior' (Jawed Sheikh) who believes his son Bilal Ahmed nicknamed 'junior' (Abhay Deol) will change the 'history' of Pakistan by entering politics but Bilal is found absconding and cut to an open street in Amristar the future of Pakistan is seen playing cricket.
But HBJ is not about dear Bilal's dreams getting 'hit wicket' by his father's desires, it's about Happy you see and immediately Mudassar is back to business.
Happy (Diana Penty) is about to get married to Bagga (Jimmy Sheirgill) as Bagga is paying tribute to Sunny Paaji
aping his iconic dance steps from the song 'Yaara Oh Yaara'
, Happy runs way by jumping into a waiting truck outside her house filled with flowers.
Unfortunately, Happy has jumped in the wrong truck, a similar truck with flowers was also waiting (what was this truck which was supposed to land at Lahore carrying gifts for officials doing outside Happy's house at the same time only Mudassar can explain. We take it as cinematic liberty or good coincidence otherwise the movie cannot move.
So Happy lands at the ex-Governor's place in Lahore making a mess of Bilal and his world in Lahore that includes his fiance Zoya (Momal Sheikh), a patriotic Pakistani policeman Afridi (Piyush Mishra).
A breezy Diana Penty makes for the director Mudassar Aziz's flaws and missed opportunities. Gems like 'hum toh Hindustan ka namak khate hai' and 'Madhubala' lifts this rom-com from the run-of-the-mill potatoes delivered in the name of rom com.
A breezy feel good first half gets lazy and waiting in the second making a brilliantly created character of Zoya (Momal Sheikh) getting lost in the push and pull of art and cliches targeted to get box office results.
Good to see Abhay Deol back in the groove, Ali is just okay. Piyush Mishra is hilarious. Jimmy just repeats his TWM role with a different name. Jawed Sheikh is fine.
Momal Sheikh is brilliant and gives a strong performance.
Technicalities are fine. Sohail Sen's music has nothing to hum about. Saurabh Goswami's camerawork is decent. Ninad Khanolkar's editing is fine.
HBJ has glaring flaws like Ali we are told is a musician but we never see him sing, is predictable and is a missed opportunity to turn itself into a laugh riot going by its premise and settings in Lahore with a couple of good punches on 'urdu' but still in totality it's an harmless feel good fun that successfully puts a smile on your face when you come out. Go for it.