Hasee Toh Phasee: Movie Review
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 doesn’t have is a coherent story, and that’s 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. Meeta’s weirdness comes down to making faces, sticking her tongue sideways, talking fast in sing-song : basically acting hard at acting weird. She’s given a reason to be like that, but I didn’t 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