Farah Khan made a very impressive debut with â€˜Main Hoon Naâ€™ and followed it up with another spectacle that â€˜Om Shanti Omâ€™ was. Both these films were shot on a lavish scale and offered entertainment in generous doses. Unfortunately, her third film â€˜Tees Maar Khanâ€™ could not match up to her earlier films and as a result, derailed at the box office. The film had a weak screenplay, low brow humour but what shocked me most were the poor production values. The film lacked the grandeur that one usually associates with a Farah Khan film. I clearly remember the film being announced in early 2010 with Christmas being zeroed in as the release date. Clearly, Farah had a deadline. Perhaps, thatâ€™s why the film ended up looking like a rushed up job. Farah Khan wanted to make Happy New Year right after â€˜Main Hoon Naâ€™ but for some reason, she decided to work on â€˜Om Shanti Omâ€™. After the debacle of â€˜Tees Maar Khanâ€™, she reworked on the script of â€˜Happy New Yearâ€™ and now, the film, finally, hits the theatres. One expects that a script, which has been nurtured for long, would not disappoint. Moreover, the promotional material of the film has given one the impression of the film being a visually rich affair. So, does the film help Farah Khan reclaim her glory?
The opening scene of the film gives the glimpse of the lavish scale that it is mounted on, as it takes the viewers to the World Dance Championship in which best dancers from different countries compete in teams. â€˜Team Indiaâ€™, which is supposed to perform at the event, is nowhere to be found. The film goes in to a flashback and we are introduced to Chandramohan Manohar Sharma aka Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) participating in a kick boxing match where he has been paid to lose the match. Charlie plays along until his opponent provokes him by speaking ill of his father. We get to know that Charlie is a man on a mission. He wants to settle scores with Charan Grover and get him punished for his wrong doings. Charlie hatches a plan and assembles a bunch of old associates to help him execute the plan.
Jagmohan Prakash aka Jag is an ex-army bomb squad member who has been rendered partially deaf because of a job gone wrong. Temhton Irani aka Tammy is an expert with locks. Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan) is brought in as he bears a striking resemblance to Charan Groverâ€™s son Vicky and Rohanâ€™s (Vivaan Shah) strength lies in hacking into any computerized system. As participating in the World Dance Championship is a part of the plan, they employ the services of Mohini (Deepika Padukone) to train them and help them prepare them for the competition. Charlie, with his team, sets out to participate in the dance competition with the sole objective of getting even with Charan Grover.
The film aims to merge the two genres of heist and dance. While the basic plot revolves around a heist, the dance element has been incorporated into it very smartly. The film largely benefits from some brilliantly executed emotional moments, some of which arouse jingoistic feelings. The film, also, boasts of numerous comic scenes which make sure that proceedings donâ€™t get very serious. A couple of these scenes, particularly in the first half, appear to be forced. There are some action sequences (in the first half, again) which seem to be stretched for no reason and should have been trimmed by a couple of minutes for a better impact. Having said that, these are just some minor blemishes in a film that offers you pure, unadulterated entertainment for close to three hours, right from the first frame to the last.
Farah Khan is back and how! She leaves no stone unturned to make a film that entertains you from the word go. The film pays homage to commercial potboilers from the past by incorporating certain elements that one usually came across in such films, such as an ailing mother and a son seeking revenge for his fatherâ€™s death. The director has borrowed these elements and sprinkled these on a contemporary story and made a film that looks fresh. The screenplay (Farah Khan, Althea Kaushal) is well thought and manages to strike a good balance between different genres. The heist portions may seem to be a little simplistic and convenient to some but they definitely, do not insult the audiencesâ€™ intelligence. Dialogues (Mayur Puri) are equally effective in dramatic portions as well as in the comic sequences. The choreography (Farah Khan and Geeta Kapoor) is top notch. The way the â€˜World Dance Medleyâ€™ has been picturised and choreographed will give you goose bumps. Manush Nandanâ€™s lush camerawork does complete justice to the grandeur of the film. Itâ€™s a pity for a film, which has dance as one of its core elements, to have such an uninspiring soundtrack (Vishal Shekhar). The songs have been picturised beautifully but the music fails to do justice to the visuals. Background score (John Stewart Eduri) is good. The editors (Anand Subaya, Tushar Parekh) should have done away with a couple of scenes in the first half but overall, they manage to lend a brisk pace to the film.
Shah Rukh Khan manages to mesmerise the audience right from his introduction scene where he battles it out in a boxing ring. The actor is in great shape and the action sequences, featuring him, are breathtaking. Deepika Padukone is endearing as Mohini. She brings just the right amount of vulnerability to her character. Abhishek Bachchan delivers one of his career best performances as Nandu Bhide. He is simply brilliant. Vicky Grover, the other character that he plays, is not very well etched out but he puts his best foot forward. Boman Irani is terrific and though, he plays a fairly stereotyped character, he does exceedingly well. Sonu Sood is very good in the action sequences and pulls of his comic act fairly well. Vivaan Shah does not get as much scope as the other leads but leaves an impact. Jackie Shroff, despite being the main anatagonist, does not get much to do but is good nevertheless. A host of film personalities are seen making cameo appearances, out of which Sajid Khan, Vishal Dadlani and Anurag Kashyap leave a mark. Kavi Shastri has been wasted in an insignificant role.
Even with a run time of three hours, Happy New Year keeps you engaged for most of its duration. Farah Khan, successfully, manages to erase the memories of â€˜Tees Maar Khanâ€™ by striking back with a film that is hugely entertaining and gives the audience a bang for its buck. Go for it!