In some way or the other, people with an artistic mindset have been trying to mend differences between India and Pakistan. If till a few years ago, music was bridging the gap, in the last few years, a bunch of happy films are trying to do that. If last year, a five-year-old from Pakistan landed in India and Bajrangi Bhaijaan rescued and helped her find her home, this time around a would-be bride, Happy (Diana Penty) from Amritsar, runs away to land up in Lahore at Bilal Ahmed’s (Abhay Deol) house.
Happy is being forcibly married to Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Shergill), an upcoming minister who wants to make it big. While Bagga is happily dancing to Sunny Deol’s popular number, Yaara O Yaara, Happy is plotting her escape with her beloved Guddu (Ali Fazal). Just that accidentally instead of jumping into the truck full of flowers sent by Guddu, she boards another truck taking gifts for an influential family in Pakistan.
While the film, like most of the cross-border films in the recent times, seems to have been made in good faith with a good dose of humour, it doesn’t live up to the expectations its trailer created. If writer-director Mudassar Aziz wanted to create a positive image of Pakistan and its people, he hasn’t failed in it, but he hasn’t completely succeeded, too. Many of his ideas seems borrowed from films along similar lines. Sample this: An autodriver tells Happy, ‘Gandhiji Pakistan mein...’ when she gives him the Indian currency after a ride. Doesn’t it somewhere remind of Nawazuddin Siddiqui from Bajrangi Bhaijaan telling Salman Khan in the film, “Hanumanji Pakistan mein...”
While Penty is a revelation as Happy, the way her character has been written, it looks very similar to the lively Geet of Jab We Met or the boisterous Tanuja Sharma from Tanu Weds Manu series and sometimes even Gayatri of Shuddh Desi Romance. But, in order to make her the quintessential woman of today, Happy has become a mish-mash of sorts. None of her characteristics have been completely explored, much like most of the plots in the film.
Bilal Ahmed, whose fondness for cricket has been established in the beginning itself, is forced into politics by his father who believes that he is the harbinger of change in Pakistan. Bilal is living a lie and is shaken by the guts of Happy. As a writer, Aziz wants to evoke emotions in the audience through Bilal, who fulfils his dream of living life on his own terms through Happy, but isn’t convincing enough in the way the final character shapes up. Even when Abhay Deol tries to do a good job, the writing pulls him down.
Ali Fazal is good as a stereotypical hero ready to do anything possible for the love of his life. Jimmy Shergill’s character looks like an extension of his character from the last instalment of Tanu Weds Manu—desperate to get married to the girl of his choice who is ever ready to ditch him. As an actor Shergill does justice to the character assigned to him, but for the audience there’s hardly anything new.
The surprise element of the film, however, is Piyush Mishra. As a Pakistani cop, delivering dialogues in Urdu, he gives a delectable performance and even packs a few funny punches.
Happy Bhag Jayegi falls short of expectations mostly because of its writing.
Film: Happy Bhag Jayegi
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Cast: Diana Penty, Jimmy Shergill, Ali Fazal, Abhay Deol