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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar
REUTERS - Mudassar Aziz’s “Happy Bhag Jayegi” is a romantic comedy about a runaway bride who wants to escape an unwanted alliance, but lands in more trouble than she bargained for.
Happy (Diana Penty) is in love with college mate Guddu (Ali Fazal), but when her family insists she marry budding politician Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Sheirgill), the desperate bride-to-be runs away on the night of her wedding. The plan goes awry and she lands not in the arms of the man she loves, but in another country.
Thanks to a mix-up, Happy travels in the back of a truck from Amritsar to Pakistan and finds herself in the home of Bilal Ahmed (Abhay Deol), the son of a powerful politician. At first taken aback by her abrasive manner, Bilal decides to help Happy. Except that his plan is so convoluted it makes no sense.
Instead of Happy returning to India and marrying Guddu (which would have resolved the film’s main conflict in 30 minutes), she chooses to stay back in Pakistan. The idea is to bring Guddu to Pakistan and get the two married to avoid any opposition. It seems like even Aziz knows how ridiculous this sounds, so he peppers “Happy Bhag Jayegi” with one-liners and slapstick comedy to distract us from the lack of depth in the story.
The dialogue is uneven - funny in parts, but rambling otherwise. With a running time of two hours and a plot that stretches thin, there are more contrivances than you can count, including a last-minute kidnapping, jailbreaks and chaotic weddings. But just when you think it’s all about to come undone, there is a funny line or a poignant moment that Aziz throws at you, redeeming himself and the film. Abhay Deol, who has made a career out of playing the confused man in love, is responsible for most of these moments. His Bilal is the standout performance of the film, eclipsing Diana Penty in the title role.
Penty is reminiscent of Deepika Padukone from her early years in this film — evoking the same wide-eyed expressions and awkward dialogue delivery. Ali Fazal plays the wide-eyed slacker boyfriend to the hilt, and Jimmy Sheirgill can probably sleepwalk through the “tough guy-who-doesn’t-get-the-girl” role by now.
India-Pakistan unity and other tropes aside, “Happy Bhag Jayegi” is a mildly funny comedy that doesn’t try too hard to push the boundaries, but does enough to entertain you.
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