February 10, 2014

When acting makes up for lack of story

I did not love Hasee toh Phasee. But after a long time, it was one movie that could be categorized as a time pass. It had its moments, but i found too many glaring holes in the movie that i don't know how the director, editor, cast missed while making/ editing or watching the movie.

  • A young boy does not confirm to rules, is arrogant and breaks out of the house to go and catch an Amitabh Bachchan movie. Skip a few years, he grows up into a spiffy young man and once again, escapes from the town while he is supposed to be preparing for an exam to attend a friend's wedding. Does he become a happy-go-lucky nonconformist maverick? Nope! Instead, he falls in love with this pretty snooty female and bears the brunt of her verbal assaults and constant harassment.  She threatens to break up to get all her work done. He simply gives in to all her threats. Why? Some ghisa phita philosophy about how easy it is to break up and how can he know that the next girl will be perfect? So he puts up with her. Maverick did we think? More of a doormat. Then why waste first ten minutes trying to sketch a character that has no connection with the person he grows up to be! 
  • And then a young girl, who is touted to be a scientist, ends up stealing from home to fund a "project" after doing her share of drugs at college. She is said to have spent many years in China doing research and is back again in India since she needs money again and is back to steal from her estranged parents. What has she achieved in China? She has invented a ball made out of a polymer that continues to bounce and its kinetic energy can power a high-rise. She is portrayed to be addicted to anti-depressants, incapable of showing emotions, having "sensations" that cause her to blink too much and twiddle her tongue. But halfway through the movie, she is in louve, she grows her hair and does punjabi dance with an elan of a seasoned heroine! How? 
  • The story unfolds against the backdrop of an impending wedding between the hero and his girlfriend. While the groom is seen bonding with the girl's parents, there is not one scene where she is seen talking to his friends or family. 
  • The story is too flaky and all over the place. Why introduce skype calls to China without any subtitles or a brief about it?  What transpires between Parineeti and her dad when they meet? What leads to her falling for Siddharth? Why does she take pills that cause behavioral changes? How can she just stop taking them and still be normal?  
  • Parineeti's character sketch is very spotty while Siddharth has just one brief- try too hard to please the girlfriend and then that he should fulfill the next responsibility that the girlfriend dumps on him- that of taking care of Parineeti- with full sincerity. What makes him put so many things at stake to take care of a girl that his girlfriend brings to him as a guest? All his actions are done regardless of how they affect his career - oh yes! he is bidding for the event management of the IPL ( It's Dharma productions, can it be anything less than the IPL?). To keep his woman happy, he needs to take personal calls while meeting investors, put girlfriend and her family above everyone else. 
Too many complaints? Yes. But despite the way both their characters are sketched, both the lead actors have done full justice to their roles. Siddharth is effortless as the lovelorn boy who wants to prove himself to his girlfriend and get her affections. Parineeti has done a great job in the first half of this girl who is stuck in a mess and is slightly dotty. And then pulls a power-packed performance towards the end after she realizes that she has lost the love of her life. I had brushed off Siddharth Malhotra as someone who cannot act and dance after watching SOTY. But he does a fab job dancing ( See Shammi!) and with acting too. Look out for the scene where he locks Parineeti in a room and forgets about it and then goes back and hugs her in apology. He is earnest in his attempts to please his fiancee and in taking care of Parineeti to keep her happy. I could totally overlook all the unwanted subplots and inconsistencies in the story simply cause both of them have done an amazing job with their acting. Go watch the movie for their performances. The songs Manchala and Zehnaseeb are haunting and will live with you long after you are out of the cinema hall.