In a happy frame

Posted on Aug 19 2016 - 6:00pm
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Movie Reviews
Posted at: Aug 19, 2016, 6:41 PM; last updated: Aug 19, 2016, 6:41 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW — HAPPY BHAG JAYEGI

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Film: Happy Bhag Jayegi

  • Cast: Diana Penty, Abhay Deol, Ali Fazal and Jimmy Shergill
  • Director: Mudassar Aziz
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In a happy frame
A poster of Happy Bhag Jayegi

Nonika Singh

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Without a doubt, Happy Bhag Jayegi is a happy film which brings a smile on your face from scene one and follows the dictum—don’t worry, be happy—all through. At the very onset you have a cherubic sardarji asking Abhay Deol’s character Bilal Ahmed—bhaaji tusi Pakistani ho and has him clean bowled in the cricket match the next minute. In yet another scene our Punjabi munda Jimmy Shergil mocking his driver to stop the car thear jaa bhai stage te chadhna hai, soon finds himself on it, shaking a leg at his own wedding. In short, the amiable tone is set for the ensuing fun ride that takes you from Amritsar to Lahore. If Bajrangi Bhaijaan had Sallu Bhai playing messiah for a Pakistani girl, this one goes in the reverse. Yes, indeed like Bajrangi, Happy (the film, not the heroine) does build a cross-border bridge and in way does what politicians invariably fail to. Never mind that two of our heroes are playing politicians. One (Jimmy) is of the rogue variety living in India, Amritsar to be precise and the other (Abhay) is sophistication personified from Lahore. In a way Jimmy reprises the part he has played in Tanu Weds Manu and its sequel and has to deal with a runaway bride Happy (Diana) for she loves Guddu (Ali Fazal). Yet, Jimmy manages to imbue freshness to his part and has us laughing (if not rolling with laughter) with many a punch-line. Dialogues by and large are injected with infectious humour and wit. And when Piyush Mishra, as a Pakistani cop, delivers them with panache you stand suitably amused. Only Piyush can play an idiosyncratic character, stylized mannerisms in place without making himself a caricature or a clown. Even though some of his one-liners are repetitive, he makes them work with ease. The narrative too works if not gallops to the finale.Sure, the conjectures that justify many moves the good hearted Bilal Ahmed employs to hide Happy are rather pedestrian. Nevertheless, Abhay was right when he said it’s his kind of film—subtle and simple. Let’s add straight to it. So, there is no storm brewing here. And just when you think his feelings for Happy will snowball into some tempestuous moments, comes the Madhubala analogy which we leave you to figure out for yourself. Why, even the mayhem in the end is kind of controlled. Nothing in the film is said from the pulpit. Still in an uncomplicated yet effective way it knocks down quite a few stereotypes. The camera consciously doesn’t build up any preconceived notion we might harbour of our now- friendly-now-not-so-friendly neighbour. Lahore could well be any Indian city and Bilal like any educated young Indian. And the Pakistani Zoya (Momal Sheikh) is as contemporary as girls this side of the border. In short, without getting into the complexities of emotions or of contentious Indo-Pak relations, it humanises Pakistanis as few films have. And even when it takes a dig at the neighbouring nation (one dialogue refers to Kashmir too) it’s not offensive at all.The weakest link in the film, however, is Happy, the heroine. Diana Penty is portrayed as a spirited rebel, yet somehow, her ebullient enthusiasm doesn’t get to you. Until it is spelt out loud and clear it becomes hard to imagine why a man no less than a political royalty would fall for her. But then in a film that at one point makes it seem as if Urdu is Pakistan’s language alone can’t be lauded for its faultless detail. Or, perfection. Yet, its unpretentious simplicity touches you and also makes for some enjoyable two hours. Delightfully pleasant… so if you like your cinema harmless and frothy, go for it.    

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In a happy frame was last modified: August 19th, 2016 by greendecker

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