HAPPY NEW YEAR
Red Chillies Entertainment’s Happy New Year is a revenge heist film. Chandramohan Sharma alias Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) has waited for eight years to avenge the humiliation and loss of reputation of his father, Manohar Sharma (Anupam Kher). Manohar Sharma, who used to make excellent security systems, had been framed by Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff) for stealing diamonds. While Manohar Sharma had been sent to prison for the crime he never committed, Charan Grover, who had himself hidden the diamonds, had also succeeded in pocketing the claim money from the insurance company.
After eight years, Charlie puts together his team to avenge the wrong done to his father. In his team are Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan), Tammy (Boman Irani), Jag (Sonu Sood) and Rohan (Vivaan Shah). Nandu Bhide is an exact look-alike of Charan Grover’s son, Vicky Grover (Abhishek Bachchan in a double role). Tammy is an expert at opening safe deposit vaults without keys or knowledge of the codes. Jag is an explosives expert and his nephew, Rohan, is a computer hacker. According to plan, Charlie and his team would participate in the World Dance Competition and during the final competition to be held in Dubai, they would steal diamonds worth Rs. 300 crore in such a way that the needle of suspicion would point towards Charan Grover who would be responsible for the safety and security of those diamonds.
The World Dance Competition final is scheduled to take place in the same hotel in Dubai, in which Charan Grover would be keeping the diamonds for a day in safe custody. Charlie and his men would steal those diamonds but Charan Grover and his son would be caught by the Dubai police as entry into the safe deposit vault room would be open only to Vicky Grover.
Since Charlie and his team mates don’t know dancing at all, they approach Mohini (Deepika Padukone), a bar dancer, to teach them dancing. Mohini speaks broken English but is so enamoured of the language that it takes no time for Charlie to floor her with his stylish English. Mohini is grace personified but she has a tough time teaching them to dance. Despite all odds against them, Charlie’s team is selected as the one to represent India in the World Dance Competition, obviously, by unfair means.
But is the path for Charlie and his team so easy? Since the day of the finals is the day on which the diamonds would be in the hotel, it is necessary for them to qualify for the finals but do they actually qualify? Are they able to steal the diamonds kept under the almost foolproof security? Is Charlie able to extract his revenge? Does Charlie involve Mohini in his game plan?
Farah Khan’s story is oft-repeated as revenge dramas of this kind have been seen in the past too, and heist films are not new to Hindi cinema. But screenplay writers Farah Khan and Althea Kaushal have padded up the story with a lot of anecdotes and incidents, many of them entertaining and interesting. No doubt, the first about 45 minutes, devoted to establishing the characters of Charlie’s team members, are long and sometimes boring but once Mohini comes on the scene after that, the pace picks up phenomenally. Frankly, the lengthy introductory scenes of Charlie’s team mates could have been shortened to great advantage. Anyway, after the introductions, the scenes between Charlie and Mohini are all outstanding. In particular, the way the fluent English-speaking Charlie impresses the vernacular Mohini is superb. Also, how Mohini invariably ends up overhearing Charlie, while he is criticising her and her down-market ways, is really cute.
The post-interval portion is far more interesting than the first half. The drama actually picks pace from the time Charlie saves the life of a child of the competing Korean team, which scene is veritably breathtaking and emotional, too. What happens at the declaration of the results of the semi-final competition, as an aftermath of the life-saving act, is both, exhilarating and emotional. The scene in which Nandu Bhide finds himself a bit short for the job assigned to him and the steps he takes to complete the task is so funny that it brings the house down with laughter. There are several other scenes of Tammy, too, which are cute and funny. The emotional appeal of the second half is a major plus point of the film and will bring in the family audience in large numbers. Similarly, the patriotic angle in the second half adds greatly to increase the appeal of the drama and creates emotions of a different kind. The pre-climax and climax are supremely engaging and a major highlight. Mayur Puri’s dialogues are very good and have the desired impact.
Shah Rukh Khan plays Charlie brilliantly. Whether it is light scenes, emotional scenes, dramatic ones or even action scenes, he gives his hundred per cent to the character and to the film, making both very believable. He is especially terrific in his scenes with Deepika Padukone and in the ones in which he bad-mouths her. He has worked on his physique and his eight-pack abdomen will add to his appeal. Deepika Padukone is a live wire and acts brilliantly, that too, with effortless ease. Her awkward English pronunciations are very funny and evoke a lot of laughter. She looks gorgeous and dances just too gracefully. She is first-rate in the emotional scenes. Abhishek Bachchan is superb as Nandu Bhide and gives a glimpse of his excellent sense of timing in comic scenes. He is, in one word, delightful. As Vicky Grover, he is efficient. Boman Irani is wonderful, as always. He is so natural that it is difficult to accept that he is acting. Sonu Sood gets very limited scope and he is alright. He exhibits his wonderful body to the hilt. Vivaan Shah, although present throughout, gets limited scope to act. As a performer, he is okay but his presence is endearing. Jackie Shroff, in an impressive get-up, lends sophistication to the character of Charan Grover. Anupam Kher is fine in a tiny role. Mohan Kapur, Rio Kapadia, Kavi Shastri, Puneet Vashishtha, Jimmy Moses, Sameer Ali Khan, Sunil Rodrigues and Anuradha Menon lend the desired support. In special appearances, the ones who add star value are Sajid Khan, Malaika Arora Khan, Daisy Irani, Dino Morea, Sarah Pope, Sarah Jane-Dias, Prabhudheva, Geeta Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Dadlani and Kiku Sharda. Others are adequate.
Farah Khan’s direction is very good. She particularly excels in drama and in the emotional scenes. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is good but the absence of a chartbusting song is felt very much. ‘Indiawale’ is a popular and racy number. ‘Manwa laage’ is melodious while ‘Radhe Radhe’ and ‘Lovely’ are mass-appealing songs. The lyrics of four songs by Irshad Kamil and one by Jiwan Mann and Kumaar are appealing. The lyrics of the ‘Nonsense ki night’ song (by Farah Khan, Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani) are quite kiddish and the song itself needs to be deleted. Lyrics of the ‘Sharaabi’ song (Kumaar, Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani) are okay. Song picturisations (by Farah Khan and Geeta Kapoor) are very eye-filling. John Stewart Eduri’s background music is effective. Manush Nandan’s cinematography deserves distinction marks. The rich sets and locations have been beautifully captured on camera. Action scenes and stunts, choreographed by Sunil Rodrigues and Dave Judge (for the underwater sequence) are very mass-appealing. Shashank Tere’s production design and Chandrashekhar More’s art direction deserve great praise because their efforts make the film look rich, luxurious and ostentatious. Editing (by Anand Subaya and Tushar Parekh) is sharp. Production values are truly grand.
On the whole, Happy New Year is an entertainer. In spite of the slow initial reels, the star-studded and rich film engages and entertains the audience. It will, therefore, fetch handsome profits for all concerned.