Farah Khan has made lampooning into a blockbuster Bollywood model. But Main Hoon Na (2004) and Om Shanti Om (2007) were in tongue in cheek and charming, and the gags and spoofs were light hearted and enjoyable.
However, Happy New Year (HNY) comes across as crude and way too obvious in the writing and the acting department. While this may have been remotely acceptable, the film is ridiculously sexist too. The film does not merit a deep ‘issue-based’ discussion, but you can’t help noticing it in the treatment of the Deepika Padukone’s character by Shah Rukh’s. Not is it insulting, it doesn’t even fit into his character sketch, and you truly wonder what purpose his ribald and insults serve. Then you realize, as with everything else in the film, it’s to earn a few laughs.
The target audience for HNY can only be small kids who fail to see how a grown man and a film hero earns his stripes by vomiting his way to success. The gags are in your face, the story wafer thin, the screenplay filled with black holes where all logic and common sense disappear and are regurgitated as unexplained Bollywood twists, and the leading man comes close to being the biggest liability on screen.
There are a few moments that remind you that a Farah Khan film can be funny without being stupid. Like the sequence where the gang of thieves try to learn dancing to compete in a contest is nicely done, if a tad repetitive. Or Deepika spoofing Shah Rukh’s Chak De! India speech, a classic Farah touch. But genuinely funny, situational comedy like this is completely missing otherwise. Instead, you’re made to sit through gag after gag, one liner after one liner, all of which try too heard to be funny and make you laugh. After all, how many times can any person laugh at a line gag that imitates an abuse to your mother?
Technically, there is not much to write home about. The SFX sequences that light up Dubai are average. The general aesthetic of the film (costume, art, location) are loud and like being in a Lego set – just too many bright colors – and appears tacky for a film mounted on a budget like HNY has.
There is no doubt that the film has shaped the way not just how Farah wanted but even Shah Rukh. And it seems one of the check boxes was to ensure it imitates and the surpasses a Salman Khan show – nonsense and tripe packaged as a feature film, and then go on to make tons of crores. He will succeed on both counts.
There’s a song in the film that goes along the lines of We’re feeling all right ‘coz it’s a nonsense ki night. Need I say more?