Movie Review: Happy New Year

October 24, 2014

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

A still from the movie "Happy new year"If there is one person who loves Shah Rukh Khan more than Shah Rukh Khan, it has to be Farah Khan. Right from her first film, the director has been enamoured with the Bollywood star – at least on screen. It isn’t a surprise that the biggest dud in her career was a film that didn’t include the actor (Tees Maar Khan).

In Happy New Year, she brings back SRK, self-deprecating jokes, six-pack abs and lots of bling. Borrowing liberally from Hollywood heist films, most notably Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven,” Khan doesn’t seem too concerned with the business of making a good film – she just wants to make sure her lead hero and his rippling muscles get as much screen time as possible.

Khan, who began her career in Bollywood as a choreographer, pokes fun at others plying the trade, and the dialogue by Mayur Puri is peppered with so many references to the director’s and Shah Rukh Khan’s past films that you wonder if there is anything original in these three hours. The director’s fondness for the 1980s Bollywood melodrama, evident in all her past films, shows here as well, although not as effectively.

Shah Rukh Khan plays Charlie, a thief who only steals for revenge and not for monetary gain. He comes up with what has to be the most convoluted and ridiculous plan for a heist ever. Charlie gathers a motley gang to help him rob the world’s most expensive diamonds from a resort in Dubai.

The plot involves them participating in the World Dance Championships, an event of such magnitude that even North Korea is a participant. This is an opportunity for the writers (Farah Khan and Althea Kaushal) to joke about how the Koreans might as well be Chinese because they all look alike, and then to refer to them as “noodles”. It is this kind of racist humour that makes Happy New Year a heavy-handed film.

The first half is lighter and genuinely funny at times, thanks to Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone’s comic timing. The cameos by director Anurag Kashyap and music director Vishal Dadlani as dance competition judges might be minor stains on their otherwise distinguished careers, but they also provide a few laughs.

But as the second half wears on, the proceedings become monotonous. Shah Rukh Khan has done his signature “arms spread out” gesture one time too many, and Boman Irani’s nasal twang has begun to grate on the nerves. Even the climax, when the diamonds are stolen, seems lame, set against better heist films like “Ocean’s Eleven” and classics such as “Rififi” and “Topkapi”.

The half-hearted reference to patriotism, a la Manoj Kumar (another Farah Khan nemesis), the constant need to remind audiences of the director’s and lead actor’s past work, and the tackiness of the film’s production values point to a project that has little but casual contempt for its audience. If you must watch this film, then tell yourself that “I am feeling alright, because it’s a nonsense ki night.”

(Follow Shilpa on Twitter at @shilpajay. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

One comment

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Happy New Year movie didn’t have much story. I was expecting more of the movie but the music is alright.

Posted by Shashank526 | Report as abusive