Happy New Year: Fast forward please!

MUMBAI: When Farah Khan makes a film, she does not carry with her the burden of logic or justification. This is a caper movie and since caper movies can’t be very different from each other, the film has to count on its ensemble cast and how the film is scripted and treated. On this count, the star cast cannot help much.

Shah Rukh Khan does odd jobs,including street fights, for a living. He has an axe to grind with Jackie Shroff who is a big shot in Dubai. His desire for revenge is overwhelming. Shah Rukh’s father, Anupam Kher, was an honest man who specialised in making the world’s most secure safe vaults. He had made one such rare safe for Jackie Shroff who rents it out for safekeeping of diamonds worth crores. The safe opens with a combination of a password and thumb print.

Since Kher made the safe, only his thumb impression and password worked on the safe. He wants Jackie to change it but instead Jackie drugs him and steals diamonds worth crores. Kher is framed, jailed and later commits suicide. It has been eight years since and Shah Rukh is waiting for a chance to get even.

Shah Rukh soon gets a chance to reach not only Dubai but the very hotel where Jackie operates from and where his safe is located. There is a world dance competition in Dubai in the same hotel and it is scheduled during the same period as diamonds worth Rs 300 crore will be kept in the safe while in transit.

Now, Shah Rukh needs to build a team. He gets two people, Sonu Sood and Boman Irani, in his own backyard. They both worked for Kher. Boman is an expert on safes. He finds world’s best hacker in Vivaan Shah and Abhishek Bachchan is the lookalike of Jackie’s son on whose thumb impression now the safe opens. Having found experts in the fields he needs, Shah Rukh now has one problem. None of these five can dance to save their lives and they have to win two local rounds before they qualify to represent India.

For this, they find Deepika Padukone, a bar dancer who agrees to teach them dancing. The required glamour quotient is in. Their dancing does not improve but while VIvaan hacks the online voting for the team, the judges, Vishal Dadlani and Anurag Kashyap, are blackmailed into voting for them and they qualify. However, being chosen does not change the public opinion looking at the welcome they get in Dubai with eggs and rotten tomatoes.

There are minor hitches but finally the day arrives when they commit the heist; it is also the day when the dance final is due.

As mentioned, how different can one caper film be different from another? Not much. Hence one looks forward to what follows. The disappointment starts as soon as you see the censor certificate stating the running time of the film as 179 minutes 50 seconds (this is after eight minute deletion a few days before release). Then, as Shah Rukh goes about building his team, he takes almost one hour. The characters of Boman, Sonu, Vivaan and Abhishek are introduced with demonstrations of how their talents will help towards carrying out the heist. Deepika enters after one hour into the film. Almost all sequences are stretched: Sonu’s fight in the beginning and Shah Rukh’s rooftop fight for instance, feel never-ending.

The film counts on comedy and humour to entertain but save for few occasions, comedy and humour both are childish. The romance is one-sided for almost entire length of the film. The film has three songs with appeal, of which ‘Indiawale…..’ has been overplayed but still liked as it comes at the end as a victory song. Photography is good. Heavy editing was needed. There is not much scope for histrionics. Shah Rukh gets the best lines and most footage and his usual self. However, he is surrounded taller and stronger guys around except Vivaan and that does not please the eye. Deepika has to dance and moisten her eyes on regular basis, which is it. Boman Irani is wasted. Vivaan has a pleasant look with a smiling face and acts well too. It is Abhishek who justifies the funny lines he gets, some good and some PJs. Jackie is fine.

Happy New Year is at an advantage being a solo Diwali release while, on the other hand, it is also at disadvantage because of its length which makes only four shows a day possible. Looking at the response, it will have to make the most of the holiday weekend.

Producer: Gauri Khan.

Director: Farah Khan.

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood. Also in special appearances: Dino Morea, Prabhu Deva, Malaika Arora Khan, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Dadlani, Sajid Khan, Anupam Kher.

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