Banners: Colour Yellow Productions, Eros International
Producers: Aanand L Rai, Krishika Lulla
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Sheirgill, Jassie Gill, Piyush Sharma, Diana Penty, Ali Fazal, Jason Tham, Denzil Smith, Aparshakti Khurana, Raja Bundela, Jeeveshu Ahluwalia
Writer: Mudassar Aziz
Music: Sohail Sen
And now there are two! Sequels are a tough proposition, especially when the preceding film has been a hit. Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi is a continuation of the Happy Bhag Jayegi story that released in 2016, in that it brings back most of the characters from the first instalment. But what makes this film interesting is that, this time, we have not one but two ‘Happys’!
This sequel is nicely fleshed out, penned and executed. Even though the film has a Seeta Aur Geeta (there’s no double role here though) flavour, you can’t really call it a copy or a rehash of the film. But it is very clear that the inspiration for this sequel was Seeta Aur Geeta or, for that matter, Chaalbaaz. Full marks to the writer-director for the way it has been executed.
Harpreet Kaur – ‘Happy’, who we met in 2016 – is happily married to Guddu. They land in Shanghai when Guddu is offered a chance to sing at an event there. There is another Harpreet Kaur aka ‘Happy’, who also lands in Shanghai to work as a Horticulture lecturer in a university there. Both Happys arrive on the same flight.
Due to a case of mistaken identity, Happy 1 and Guddu arrive at the university, and Happy 2 is taken hostage by a Chinese agent, Chang, who wants to use Happy to get a business contract done in Pakistan. But he doesn’t know he has the wrong Happy! To get his work done, he kidnaps Daman Singh Bagga on his wedding day and Usman Afridi on his retirement day, because of their previous connections to Happy 1.
Happy 2 manages to escape from Chang and runs into Khushwant Singh aka Khushi, who works with the Indian Embassy. He agrees to help her and introduces her to Adnan Chow, an influential man. It is not long before Happy 2 and Khushi cross paths with Bagga and Afridi. It is at this time that Happy 2 reveals her real reason for coming to Shanghai. The three guys decide to help Happy 2. But then things take a turn when Happy 2 is recaptured by Chang and his boss. Now Khushi, Bagga and Afridi are forced to find Happy 1 so that they can save Happy 2. Thus starts a funny and chaotic journey. How it culminates into a ‘Happy’ ending is what the film is all about.
A big part of why Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi works is because of the writing. Mudassar Aziz keeps us tied to what is happening in the story. There is no time to sit back and relax as you don’t want to miss out on the dialogue and punches. The pace of the screenplay is quick and there is hardly a dull moment. The story meanders only a few times but the audience is quickly brought back to the madness of the characters.
There is a generous dose of slapstick comedy as well as funny lines. The India-Pakistan-China references are hilarious. The songs are a letdown. Except for the title track, none of the other songs hold your interest and in fact almost hold the story back. But the moments in some of the songs add to the comedy in the film.
Performance-wise, Sonkashi Sinha is the new entrant here and her presence works as a tadka to an already delicious movie. As Harpreet Kaur, Sinha is in her element. Since comedy comes easily to her, she scores in both the emotional and dramatic scenes. She manages to create a new Happy, who is very endearing and makes you fall in love with her character right from the word ‘go’.
Jassie Gill, who makes his debut with this film, is quite a charmer. As Khushwant Singh, he has his funny moments and makes full use of it. He brings a sweet innocence to his character. He is someone to watch out for. Piyush Sharma as Afridi is a hoot. He revives memories of the previous film and maintains the same quirkiness. His chemistry with Jimmy Sheirgill (he’s outstanding, as always) is one of the highlights of the film.
Ali Fazal and Diana Penty, who are reprising their roles as well, do justice to their screen time as Guddu and Happy. Jason Tham as Chang is a treat to watch. Denzil Smith as Adnan Chow is an innovative character. A Pakistani-Chinese man, his character is as chaotic as the film is, and he manages to do a decent job.
Aparashakti Khurana as Aman Wadhwa, Happy’s (Sonakshi’s) friend is a surprise package. His character gives the narrative some of its funniest twists. Raja Bundela as Happy’s father is commendable. It is a joy to see stand-up comedian Jeeveshu Ahluwalia. He has limited presence but doesn’t miss a single punch.
And the actor who takes the cake is Jimmy Sheirgill. As Bagga, he is the life of the film. There is nothing he cannot do. He raises the comedy quotient of the film and makes it all look so easy and natural. It is indeed a treat to watch him perform.