Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi Review

“Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi” is one of those sequels that are unabashedly bigger, though not necessarily better in every way. (Sonakshi Sinha/Twitter photo)

Eros International and Colour Yellow Productions present “Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi”

Produced by: Aanand L. Rai & Krishika Lulla

Written with lyrics and directed by: Mudassar Aziz

Music: Sohail Sen

Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Sheirgill, Jassie Gill, Piyush Mishra, Jason Than, Denzil Smith, Aparashakti Khurrana, Raja Bundela, Sarah Hashmi, Jeeveshu Ahluwalia, Sp. App.: Diana Penty & Ali Fazal & others

MUMBAI—That the script and direction (in this case both are by Mudassar Aziz) decide everything about a film is proven for the zillionth time by this sequel to the 2016 surprise.

“Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi” is one of those sequels that are unabashedly bigger, though not necessarily better in every way. The script then (“Happy Bhag Jayegi” in 2016) was superb, with the right mix of comedy, emotions and drama. Here, the entertainment quotient dominates – with bigger budgets, it is obvious that there should be safety in numbers. Audience numbers and collection figures that is!

However, credit where due: Mudassar Aziz at no point drifts from his making people laugh and smile agenda (as per what he himself said when we met at the end of the press screening). And while questions can be asked about logic half-a-dozen times, he just does not allow us the luxury of brooding over why Happy 2 (Sonakshi Sinha), for example, is not aware of her college name address and phone numbers in these days of Google and smartphones. Or how Khushwant Singh Gill works for the Indian embassy but cannot sort out Happy’s imbroglios. And more.

But first – the story.

Amritsar-born Horticulture professor Harpreet Kaur aka Happy (Sonakshi Sinha) lands in China after getting appointed at a Shanghai college. Her real agenda, however, is to bring childhood friend and ex-fiance Aman (Aparashakti Khurrana) to his knees in front of her father (Raja Bundela), who has ceased to smile after he ran away on their marriage day.

Unknown to her, her namesake (Diana Penty) with singer husband Guddu (Ali Fazal) from the last story are also invited to China, ostensibly for a concert performance from Guddu. Here again, the real reason is something different: Happy’s admirer from Pakistan, influential politician Bilal Ahmed (Abhay Deol, not seen here) has gone back on a deal with a Chinese businessman, so the latter wants her in custody to pressurize him. “India is once again coming between Pakistan and China”: Get it? That’ a line from the film!

His incompetent subordinate Chang (Jason Tham) kidnaps the wrong Happy and when that happens, his enraged boss orders the double abduction of Happy’s admirer Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Sheirgill), a newbie politician from Punjab who almost had married Happy and of Usman Afridi (Piyush Mishra) from Pakistan who had a role in the earlier happenings. The real Bagga is thus kidnapped on the day of his wedding from his ‘baraat’ while Afridi is taken when his felicitation is on from Lahore!

Meanwhile, the new Happy runs away from her abductors, minus cash and passport, and bumps into Khushwant Singh Gill (Jassie Gill), who sings in a bar and works at the Indian Embassy (!!).

After this, it is nothing but a mad series of events that end when everyone’s issues are sorted out, and the two Happys meet. But though the confusion is cleared, Bagga, who has now fallen for the new Happy, is left minus a bride yet again! However, there seems to be hope in a new Punjabi girl. No spoilers now, but all’s well that ends ‘swell’!

When the one-point agenda is to smile, chuckle and laugh, the menu should be just right, and here, it mostly is. The script gets bolder with its fleeting references to lesbianism, Shanghai’s red-light area and sex toys, and even the gay orientation of one of the key characters. There is faithful adherence to the canon: with a chase, a mad ride in a vehicle and the anxious father turning up in a foreign country.

But what really works are the superb one-liners, especially taking digs at both Pakistan and China, Bagga’s “Ghodi” line and Khushwant’s “Bronze” bring the house down almost as much as Usman’s trenchant digs at his own country, his compliments to China and his remarks on Indo-Pak issues. And yes, as in the earlier film, Urdu and Hindi are also touched upon with a lot of laughs.

A powerful force that further reduces the attention to loopholes and boosts the happy voltage is the performance level. Two solidly bankable artistes lift the film massively – Jimmy Sheirgill as Bagga and Piyush Mishra as Afridi. When alone, and especially when together, they literally bring down the house again and again.

Two complete surprises in different ways are Sonakshi Sinha, in her most accomplished and fluid performance yet, and Jassie Gill, who is overall very good, but rises to brilliance when he goes into shock mode! Another superb turn comes from Jason Tham as the poker-faced henchman, while Aparashakti Khurrana puts up a hilarious turn as Aman. Jeeveshu Ahluwalia as Gill’s friend and Sarah Hashmi in her last scene also do a great job.

Sunil Patel’s cinematography and Aparna Raina’s production design are both of high standards, and Ninad Khanolkar’s editing matches the needed energy and pace. Sohail Sen’s background score is exemplary, while his songs, though not as memorable as in film one, do work overall. We loved the innovative gimmick of two Chinese lip-synching one of the songs! And the re-creation “Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu” is splendidly done at both the audio and visual level.

So do go and have a blast and come out “Happy.” This film is worth the ticket money – and a little more.

Rating: ***1/2

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