The prospect of seeing Saif Ali Khan playing a man-child in yet another urban romantic comedy did not excite many. While the makers went on to claim that Happy Ending is a spoof on romantic comedies, the promos, which projected the film as a run-of-the-mill rom-com, suggested otherwise. However, looking at the kind of cinema directors Raj and DK have churned out in the past, one hoped that they would bring in their sense of quirkiness to this genre. With every film, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK seem to be inching towards mainstream cinema. After making two fairly offbeat films in the form of â€˜99â€™ and â€˜Shor In The Cityâ€™, they made â€˜Go Goa Goneâ€™ which, arguably, catered to a wider audience. We are not complaining since they have done complete justice to all these aforementioned films with their deft handling of the subject that each of these films dealt with.
Yudi (Saif Ali Khan) is the author of a very successful book that released six years back (sorry, five and a half years, as he points out). Since then, he has not written anything and is happy blowing away the money that he earned from the sales of that book. He has had many relationships and is commitment phobic. After a while, his book stops selling and he runs out of money. His agent sets up a meeting with Armaan (Govinda), a Hindi film superstar who enjoys super stardom among the single screen audience. Armaan wants Yudi to write an urban romantic comedy for him that would help him reach out to both the masses and the classes. Yudi has never written a love story and gets in touch with Aanchal (Ileana Dâ€™Cruz), a young author who has recently released a romantic novel that has become a bestseller. Despite writing romantic fiction, Aanchal is a pessimist when it comes to love and is a commitment phobic, just like Yudi is. Yudi believes that spending time with Aanchal would help lubricate his creatively bankrupt mind and help him write a good script for Armaan.
The film, specifically the first half, is predictable and clearly that the intention here as the film is supposed to have everything that you see in a regular romantic comedy. So, the boy meets the girl, they dance and sing in a club and they develop feelings for each other. You have seen all this happening in several films, right? What differentiates â€˜Happy Endingâ€™ from the other films made in this genre is Raj & DKâ€™s unconventional and refreshing treatment. They infuse dollops of humour, witty dialogues and realistic situations in the predictable setup which brings a smile to oneâ€™s face even as one easily predicts whatâ€™s going to happen next.
Casting Govinda as the narcissistic yet loveable movie star Armaan is a master stroke. The colourful character played by him stands out and is in sharp contrast to the other â€˜realâ€™ characters in the film. We see the actor grace the screen, sporadically, for a couple of minutes in the film. You long to see more of him but honestly, he is given appropriate screen time and stretching his role a bit more would have taken the film on a different track altogether. Govinda owns every frame he appears in; watch out for the scene where he goes shirtless to display his newly acquired (VFX made) six pack abs!
Saif Ali Khan has played the role of a smooth talking womanizer in many films and he does not disappoint here either. However, he looks a little old and one feels a younger actor would have been more appropriate for the role. His portrayal of his alter ego Yogi is decent. Ileana Dâ€™Cruz looks alluring and delivers a mature performance. Govinda delivered a stupendous performance in his last release 'Kill Dil'. Despite playing one of the major characters, his role was not properly defined. Even though he has a brief role in this film, it is a very well written one. He delivers an uninhibited performance, while taking digs at the kind of persona that one associates with the character he plays. Kalki Koechlin is average in the role of a over possessive girlfriend. Ranvir Shorey play a character similar to the one he played in â€˜Pyaar Ke Side Effectsâ€™. He delivers a commendable performance as always. Rahul Nath, with his accent and mannerisms, is very funny. Kareena Kapoor Khan appears in the beginning of the film. Her scenes with Saif are hilarious and help in establishing Saifâ€™s character in the film. Preity Zinta is good in a cameo appearance.
There have been several romantic comedies, with an urban setting, made in the past. A lot of these films had director succumbing to pressures and incorporating certain commercial elements to widen the filmsâ€™ appeal. Raj and DK do not fall into the trap and make a film which does not stays true to its genre and maintains its sanctity. Though certain episodes in the second half appear to be forced, the screenplay (Raj, DK and Sita Menon) is very good. Hussain Dalalâ€™s dialogues are a major asset. Be it the funny one liners or the intense monologues, the dialogues pack a solid punch. The dialogue between Saif and Ileana in the final moments of the film is brilliant. Sachin Jigarâ€™s music is very good; the songs are tuneful and gel with the theme of the film. The film has as many as three cinematographers (Chase Bowman, Yaron Levy and Mahesh Limaye) and they have done a splendid job in making the film look beautiful.
I watched this film in a single screen theatre and witnessed many people making an exit halfway through the film. I remember Armaan ( Govindaâ€™s character in the film) saying how he would like to build a fan base among the multiplex going audience who do not watch his films. Well, itâ€™s impossible to please everyone.