Reviews

Happy Ending: A light read

Still from movie Happy Ending  

Director duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.are known to play with genres and their light touches work with actors who don’t come with the baggage of stardom. 99 and Shor in the City are examples of what they can do with slice of life cinema. Here they comment on multiplex and masala styles of filmmaking, but since they also have to scale up the production and help their actor-producer Saif Ali Khan regain his slipping territory , in the process the script loses its moorings.

Saif has also been experimenting of late with genres without much success. Here he returns to his core competence and perhaps want to control the proceedings. He knows this game of a confused but compulsive flirt and wants to gel it with his passion for literature and fascination for subtleties of English cinema. But somehow it doesn’t translate cogently in Hindi, making it seem pretentious.



Happy Ending

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Directors: Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Ileana D’Cruz, Govinda, Kalki Koechlin, Ranvir Shorey
Bottomline: Falling into the same rut, Govinda is the only thing to smile about here.


Obviously, the film is written with Saif in mind but for an image that suited him some five-six years back. Here as a self-obsessed author going through a writer’s block, he looks jaded. And perhaps that’s why Happy Ending takes a listless start with Yudi (Saif) playing an aging debonoir, who is refusing to give relationships a chance to last beyond a few months. Running out of both words and currency, the author takes up the job of writing a romantic comedy for an aging star Armaan (Govinda), who is looking to reinvent himself. He wants multiplex audience but doesn’t want to lose his mass base. Saif is looking for the opposite. Trying to write something original he comes across another writer Anjali (Ileana D’Cruz), whose stocks are soaring for she writes classic romantic tales.

The film finally takes a start for Anjali doesn’t believe in what she writes and is as averse to commitment as Yudi. Will they a strike a chord? Will Yudi get inspiration from his own life? All you need is to replay Love Aaj Kal to get the answers.

No doubt, it has some nice touches, some astute observations on modern day commitment phobic youth and the genre of romantic comedy itself but as whole its self awareness and vacuous stretches makes it a tiring watch. At one point Armaan tells Yudi don’t try to teach people how to live their lives in 300 rupees. Ultimately, the film falls into the same trap which it makes fun of. For a film about writers, it has very little depth to justify the profession of its protagonists. Of course they indulge in light reads but still you need some character. They write novels in English for a global readership but they not only speak but also think in colloquial Hindi. Yudi could well be a software professional and it would not have made a difference to the story. The script requires a few more drafts to cut out the indulgence.

For a film that comments on ‘inspiration’, Woody Allen’s presence could easily be felt in screenwriting and visual imagery. The whole inner voice thing sounds too derivative to make an impact. It comes across just as an excuse to have Saif in double role. The job could have easily been done by Ranvir Shorey as Yudi’s friend.

By placing Preity Zinta (in a cameo) and Ranvir around him, the director duo try to make Saif’s age palatable but it doesn’t help. You feel , “Oh! He hasn’t grown up yet.” Ileana D’Cruz doesn’t have the glamorous appeal and Sachin Jigar’s music lacks the verve to make the audience to blind the audience.

Kalki Koechlin and Ranvir are effective in their supporting parts and Govinda for the second week in a row proves his worth as a scene stealer. As Armaan, he really reinvents himself and hopefully the industry will take note of his talent all over again. With his impeccable comic timing he threatens to eat up everybody around him in one gulp. Alas! the writers haven’t given him enough scenes to display his histrionics.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 1:00:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-reviews/happy-ending-a-light-read/article6622196.ece

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