Cast: Parineeti Chopra, Sidharth Malhotra, Adah Sharma, Manoj Joshi, Sharat Saxena, Neena Kulkarni
Director: Vinil Mathew
Batty girl meets sweet fellow. Is it cute Yes, that first mulaqaat is. And then Then Hasee Toh Phasee wanders about figuring out whether it wants to be a contemporary rom-com, or a Gujarati-flavoured soap, or a 60s melodrama, or all of the above. This confusion confounds the film, fronted by the most talented female lead working in Bollywood right now, and makes her much less fun than she can be. That holds true for the film, too.
It is most exasperating, because Hasee Toh Phasee seems to have everything going for it. The smart, varying sensibilities of co-producers Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap, a likeable leading man, and a crackerjack heroine. What it doesnt have is a coherent story, and thats why none of the refreshing bits really add up to much.
Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) is the kind of girl who uses her mind to invent things. Gasp. Mind, in a Bollywood heroine But before we can break into a bhangra, or break out the bubbly, we are pulled up short. Lest Meeta is condemned to be one of those intelligent behenjis, she is saddled with a jhalli other self, and made to do all kinds of strange things for no good reason.
That, right there, is the problem. You want Meeta to be sharp and bright and talk about plastic and polymers and renewable energy, more power to you. Why the cop out People can be bright and weird at the same time, but then you have to make it the right kind of weird. Meetas weirdness comes down to making faces, sticking her tongue sideways, talking fast in sing-song : basically acting hard at acting weird. Shes given a reason to be like that, but I didnt buy it. Nor her over-the-top act, which overshadows her natural easy self.
So many of the plot devices feel so contrived and cobbled together that you lose sight of the best things about the film. Some absolutely delightful sequences, and laugh-out-lines, get lost. I would count Sidharth Malhotras floppy- haired loser-trying-to-find-himself as one of the pluses of this film, even if he doesnt come across too different with two girls he oscillates between: Cracked Meeta and Hardheaded Practical Karishma (Adah). His Nikhil is nice because he doesnt try too hard. I would also say, that despite her missteps here, that there really is no one quite like Parineeti Chopra in Bollywood: she is a mainstream actress bringing in freshness to jaded mainstream products.
The loose, random plotting lets them down. Some solid supporting acts Manoj Joshi , as the father of the bride, and a curly-haired comic as the relative of the groomgo waste. Theres also the crucial thing about spark : why are our rom-coms or love stories so chary about showing some real passion In a stand-out scene, which has Meeta and Nikhil high in the sky in a picture-perfect Valentine Day Hallmark card-type setting, we see the start of something. And then there is a thud, and the film takes them into another alley where there are enraged uncles who have no compunction about slapping young girls across the face. And yelling about ghar ki izzat. Did I also hear a door ho jaao meri nazaron se Even if I didnt, it would have fit right in with the scene. What is this, a four-hanky outdated tear-jerker
When, dear Bollywood, when will we get a real, rousing rom com