It’s all about chemistry. What happens when you take all-about-loving-your-parents from the Karan Johar brand of cinema and try to blend it with rebellion-against-the-system from the Kashyap school?
What happens when you take a generous dose of sanskaar and Shaadi rituals and add drugs and dysfunction to it?
What happens when you reverse the gender types? When you make the girl an explorer, a restless geek with a drug problem and make the boy rooted to family values and commitment?
What happens when the boy needs to pay the bride money to marry and the girl comes to rescue him from his routine?
What happens when you take a feisty Parineeti Chopra and pair her with Sidharth Malhotra?
And like most chemistry exercises, Vinil Mathew’s Hasee Toh Phasee is an experiment but a fun one at that. There’s a lot that explodes but also a little that fizzles out. Love it or hate it, you have to give it points for trying.
The Bollywood romantic comedy is mostly a rigid type and a genre with many trappings. You need to have young heartthrobs in the lead, involve the parents, respect and recognise the sanctimony of the marriage and in between all this, give the guy and the girl some time to bond and fall in love.
And Vinil Mathew’s film wants to change this type from the inside. So he retains the template but tweaks it from inside with interesting shades of grey — like turning Parineeti into a runaway Rain Man with a drug problem, who steals money from home on the eve of her sister’s wedding only to return to steal again on the eve of the other sister’s wedding... because, we don’t know, maybe that’s how much she loves her family. And drugs here are treated like chocolate addiction. Breaking Bad in good mode... because hey, it is a Bollywood romcom. Instead of Alok Nath, we have Manoj Joshi.
But the writing (story and screenplay by Harshvardhan Kulkarni and the dialogue credits include Anurag Kashyap) salvages quite a lot of these convolutions. The support characters are all given little quirks and delivered by a solid ensemble. The guy with Anu Malik songs in his head, especially, is a hoot, more when he is channelling his inner ‘Daya’ (from CID).
It is to Parineeti’s credit that she makes an extremely inconsistent character even slightly believable but Adah Sharma has no such luck, stuck in a one note character of a bride holding a wedding to ransom. Sidharth Malhotra is the biggest surprise of the film, playing the perfect foil to Parineeti. He is the coy heroine to Parineeti’s heroics for most of the part, but since there are also scenes to remind us about the tomboyish girl’s femininity when the boy helps her with the strings of her choli. There are a few such moments that keep cropping up to remind us this is from the Dharma Productions stable.
But the fine little details, the quips and the quirks and the twist to the cliché make it a fairly watchable film. Works for a date.
Hasee Toh Phasee
Director: Vinil Mathew
Cast: Parineeti Chopra, Sidharth Malhotra, Adah Sharma, Manoj Joshi, Sharat Saxena
Storyline:Crazy science girl meets simple, sanskaari boy a week before his wedding to her sister
Bottomline: A better than average romantic comedy