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Runaway Girls

Friday, August 24, 2018

This week another girl called Happy will run away, in 'Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi', sequel to the 2016 sleeper hit 'Happy Bhag Jayegi', directed by Mudassar Aziz.

 It did not have an 'A' list cast, but the screwball plot worked for the film, and obviously pleased everybody associated with it to warrant a sequel, with a new 'Happy'.

Rewinding to the original for those who might have missed it. “The Happy of the title is Harpreet Kaur (Diana Penty), who causes a great deal of trouble for all around her, but somehow, through all that chaos your know nothing bad will happen to her — it’s not that kind of film.

“Happy is in love with Guddu (Ali Fazal), so, on the day of her wedding to small time politician-goon Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Shergill — has played this before), she pulls on running shoes over her glittery outfit and jumps out of the window into a fruit truck. When she emerges from a large basket, it is in the home of Pakistani diplomat Javed Ahmed (Javed Sheikh). His son Bilal (Abhay Deol), reluctantly being groomed for a political career, is dragged in to clear the mess created by Happy’s intrusion. This includes the justified annoyance of his fiancée Zia (Momal Sheikh).

“As it happens in such films, a whole lot of characters run about on both sides of the border, getting into situations that range from mildly funny, to idiotic to hilarious. The goofy, almost-plausible premise of the film, the essentially nice characters (even Bagga is not a snarling nasty), the refreshing lack of jingoism that inevitably creeps into any Indo-Pak film, and a peppering of witty lines, makes 'Happy Bhag Jayegi' a charmer.

“But then it overstays its welcome, and gets tiresome after a point when the laughter vanishes. Happy is one of those irritatingly self-absorbed characters, who expects the world to dance to her tunes — a bit like Tanu in the 'Tanu Weds Manu' films, which may not be a coincidence, since Anand Rai is a co-producer on this one — but Diana Penty does not have Kangana Ranaut’s chutzpah to pull off the part.  The one who does his role with complete confidence and calm is Abhay Deol, making a welcome return after a long-ish absence.”

In the sequel, Sonakshi Sinha is added to the cast with Jassi Gill, while Jimmy Shergill, Ali Fazal and Piyush Mishra return, with the original Happy, Diana Penty making an appearance. This time Happy runs through China, and hopefully stops short of starting a war, even though she sings a ghastly remixed version of the 'Howrah Bridge' (1958) hit 'Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu'.

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