Nikhil is re-introduced to Meeta nearly ten years after their first meeting. Now, as Nikhil has one week to prove himself worth enough to marry Meeta's sister Karishma, the old acquaintances become quite close to each other.
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Aditya Roy Kapoor
Spread across Mumbai over a decade, the film is about the relationship between the quirky, rebellious Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) and the mischievous Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra) struggling with their respective families to fit in. Nikhil bumps into Meeta on the occasion of her sister Deeksha's wedding while Meeta is on the run. He falls in love with Meeta's sister Karishma on the same day. The film jumps to the eve of Nikhil and Karishma's engagement. Karishma's wealthy father, Devesh Solanki, does not approve of Nikhil as he finds him to be a lackadaisical young man. On the day of his engagement, Nikhil promises Karishma that he will prove himself to be worthy of her within the next seven days. Nikhil is re-introduced to Meeta by Karishma and is instructed to put her up in a hotel. Nikhil recognizes Meeta. In an attempt to please Karishma he decides to keep Meeta in the flat above his own house, with his crazy extended family. During the course of Meeta's stay at Nikhil's house, they ...Written by
Parineeti Chopra's livewire Meeta doesn't become the victim of what initially looks like a 'taming of the shrew' story, while Sidharth Malhorta's charming Nikhil doesn't make of her the demand to conform. Hasee toh Phasee is enchanting in the sense that it gives Bollywood romance that lovable twist which was indeed long overdue. Set against a big fat Indian wedding and a herd of annoying relatives that cannot be done away with, Hasee toh Phasee pleases by critiquing what it seems to exalt. It's indeed one of the very first commercial Hindi films to foreground the hegemony of the family and the pressure it unnecessarily exerts on those who are different. I am absolutely delighted that Karan Johar, the devoted perpetrator of lachrymose family dramas in Bollywood, has broken out of that bubble world to debunk what he had been promoting so far. It's indeed praiseworthy that Johar is trying to break out of his kind of cinema, as already attested by his endorsement of Lunch Box, last year. Two other names, Anurag Kashyap (who has also penned the dialogues) and Vikramaditya Motwane, who have joined hands with Vivek Agarwal and Johar to produce this film, might give you an idea that Hasee toh Phasee is no run of the mill Bollywood rom-com. Director Vinil Mathew's choice of title, however, seems a tad misleading. Hasee toh Phasee sounds frivolous; but, the film has a profundity which the title doesn't give the slightest inkling of.
Nikhil's appeal lies not his looks (as was expected from the devastatingly debonair Sidharth Malhotra), but in his integrity of character. Malhotra subtly downplays his Greek God charm to get into the skin, heart and soul of the character which is truly modern, progressive, yet deeply rooted. No! Not in traditions. Nikhil's strength as well as vulnerability comes from his mature take on relationships and his deep humaneness. And that makes him the most desirable Valentine this year! Meeta's queerness, which strikes you at the very outset, is sustained throughout the film, though she does change into flashy ghaghra-cholis once or twice and dances to typical Punjabi wedding songs. Her difference from other Bollywood rom-com heroines is that her tomboyishness does not come in her way of wooing a man and make him fall in love with her. Meeta, in a way, marks a remarkable transition of the conception of the desirable woman Bollywood has so far projected: she is no Anjali of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), who learns to adopt feminine grace and seductively dance with an unruly anchal flying in the breeze, to win the man of her dreams. The most important twist comes in the end. Watch out for the little epilogue at the airport.
While in the entire ensemble cast manages to keep you at raptures all through, it is Parineeti who takes the cake with her comic timing. Sidharth's suavity is in perfect rhythm with Mr. Goodness act he has to put up, and he performs with rare panache. Adah Sharma, the dolled-up heroine of the small screen, brings into her performance the right degree of peevishness in order to appear irritable. The music is a slight letdown, but that does not really matter since this film, unlike other romantic comedies, does not depend on good music to carry forward the plot.
One of the best Valentine gifts that have come from the Bollywood stable, Hasee toh Phasee is truly a 'come fall in love' experience, that also marks Hindi cinema's coming of age.
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