'Happy Bhag Jayegi': A Light-Hearted, Feel-Good Film
"Happy Bhag Jayegi"; Director: Mudassar Aziz; Cast: Diana Penty, Momal Shaikh, Abhay Deol, Ali Fazal, Jimmy Shergill Rating: ***1/2
Writer-Director Mudassar Aziz's "Happy Bhag Jayegi" is a loosely inspired, Indian version of the Julia Roberts starrer, Hollywood film, "Runaway Bride".
But unlike in the English film, the Punjabi bride Harpreet Kaur aka Happy (Diana Penty), in this romantic comedy, elopes to marry the person she loves.
After being spotted romancing with her college sweetheart Gurpreet Singh aka Guddu (Ali Fazal), Happy is forced by her father, essayed by Kanwaljit Singh, to marry the local politician Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Shergill).
But on her wedding day, the feisty Happy leaves Bagga stranded at the mandap, by jumping on to a truck, which is supposed to take her to Guddu.
But instead of landing her, at her destination, Happy gets transported to the residence of a reluctant politician Bilal Ahmed (Abhay Deol) in Lahore, Pakistan.
What follows is a series of manipulative and contrived negotiations along with situational scuffles that propel this tale forward.
But what makes the film intriguing apart from Happy's impulsive instinct to run away, is the fulfillment of her journey in a country that is at cross-purpose with India. This cross-border drama adds to the excitement.
It is also the stimulating and realistic performances that makes this film a treat to watch. Diana Penty as the lively, determined and bubbly girl, who would do anything for love, is the surprise package. She is simply natural and impressive as she lives her character to the tee.
Ali Fazal as Happy's unsure love Guddu and the Pakistani actress Momal Shaikh, who plays Bilal Ahmed's love interest, are both notably striking.
Abhay Deol slips into the role of an unenthusiastic son of an ambitious politician with ease. And his presence does not raise the bar of the film.
After a long time, Jimmy Shergill delivers a performance of some substance. As Bagga, he is rugged and stimulating.
Mudassar Aziz's writing is fascinating. His dialogues are packed with punch as he plays with words, in Hindi and Urdu. Also, the gags are taut, fresh and brilliantly inter-laid in the plot.
The graph of the narrative has its crests and trough but never is there a moment of equilibrium. Also his climax, though a riot, does not have the zing of a mad-caper.
Nevertheless, the film has a strong message which is emphasised in the song with the lyrics, "Sau qwaab hai, ek zindagi.' It significantly, encapsulates the premise of the film, "Follow your heart."
With moderate production values, the film is technically well-crafted. The visuals, back-ground score and music are of fine calibre and mesh well in the final flow.
Overall, "Happy Bhag Jayegi" is a feel-good, light-hearted drama that does not need to be taken seriously.