A rom-com is generally a safe bet for a directorial debut, especially if a certain Mr. Karan Johar is co-producing it; this time joined by Anurag Kashyap. Ad filmmaker Vinil Mathew turns director with this week’s release – ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’. But a movie of this genre may also end up as just one of those routine fares that leave no impact. If you ask me, I categorize rom-coms into three categories – delightfully charming, lukewarm and lousy. HTP is somewhere between the last two.
Opposites attract. Almost all love stories have a plot revolving around this so-called theory. HTP is no different. An easy-going casual young guy, Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra)
meets Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) at her sister’s wedding. Meeta is on the run that night after robbing her father so that she can fund her project (you don’t have to know which project; it ain’t a sci-fi). Seven years later, they meet again. The occasion – Nikhil is all set to tie the knot with Meeta’s other sister, Karishma (Adah Sharma). Meeta is a brilliant scientist but a crazy drug-addict who has been living in China for seven long years when she was away from her family. Nikhil is the kind of guy who has no self-respect and doesn’t hesitate in asking his super rich would-be father-in-law crores of bucks so that he can maintain his event management business and stand on his own. He is also a very insecure loser and even when his fiancée tells him that right on his face, he still wants to avoid a break-up. How the two leads fall for each other is a mystery in itself because they aren’t just opposites; they are a complete mismatch.
What works in HTP are a few genuinely funny scenes mostly deriving its humour from situations. In one scene, Nikhil wakes up his would-be father-in-law twice and takes him out to the terrace so that his long-estranged daughter can see her father. There is another one where a home investigation for a stolen necklace goes awfully wrong, referring to characters from a tv serial (CID). I found myself in splits in these two scenes among the others. Add to that, a few funny characters including an Indian Idol wannabe who sings Anu Malik numbers. But these aren’t enough to qualify as saving graces for a movie that just does not manage to work as either a rom-com or a love story. The ‘rom’ is missing from the ‘rom-com’ and the ‘love’ doesn’t impress in the ‘story’; what we get is a half-baked attempt from debut director Vinil Mathew. He has a flair for comedy but is very ordinary when it comes to emotional scenes. Music by Vishal-Shekhar is okay though I didn’t find myself humming any of the songs after leaving the theatre. Dialogues are good and quite witty.
Sidharth Malhotra takes a step forward and graduates from a student to a more sincere performer. He has screen presence though he needs to work on his expressions and be a little less rigid. Parineeti Chopra continues to prove she is the next big thing in Bollywood. In her fourth film, she can give a run to any of the leading actresses for their money. A bundle of talent with the girl-next-door image, Parineeti somehow reminds me Rani Mukherjee when she was younger. She plays Meeta so well that you can watch HTP only for her. She also seems to choose unconventional roles and make them her own and yet look very adorable. Adah Sharma is natural. She surely didn’t get her due after ‘1920’ (horror films are a strict no-no for debuting). The supporting cast performs well and that adds up in a way.
Watch it or not: Only if you are in a mood for a one-time watch-and-forget rom-com, probably on a lazy afternoon.
At the Box-Office: At best, average. Business at multiplexes will be okay; it won’t do well at single screens. The fact that it has been released a week before Valentine’s Day won’t help either. We have the ‘Gunday’ coming to screens on Friday… to bag 100 crores plus!