After reaching a cult status, often big stars find it hugely risky to experiment with new directors and novel concepts following a fresh approach towards making entertaining cinema. And that is the reason they keep sticking to their own tried and tested camps, friendly directors and those fairly safe concepts adapted several times before. Yes, actors like Aamir Khan keep trying to break their own set standards of the past pushing their writers-directors along, but somehow Shahrukh Khan has lost that momentum which he once displayed in his films like CHAKK DE INDIA, SWADES and MY NAME IS KHAN. As a result in the recent times his films have been made on all ‘repetitive concepts’ only to en-cash the known euphoria around his name and nothing beyond that.
Unfortunately HAPPY NEW YEAR fails to deliver even that and remains amongst the weakest film of the actor as well as the director post their entertaining OM SHANTI OM. To give you a fair idea, Shahrukh’s CHENNAI EXPRESS still had much more enjoyable moments than HNY featuring a confident charmer Deepika Padukone with her fresh south Indian accent. But sadly, even Deepika is unable to save this pretty long, completely predictable and uninteresting film with her tapori mannerisms.
Clearing the speculations being made around its inspired status, HNY has nothing to do with the films with the same title i.e. HAPPY NEW YEAR (1987 - English), HAPPY NEW YEAR aka LA BONNE ANNE'E (1973 - French) or the Spanish heist film LADR'ON QUE ROBA A LADR'ON having few similar characters. In fact this is a poor mix and match of our own several Hindi films since the main revenge plot straight away reminds you of DHOOM 3 and many dialogues make you remember the previous films by the team quite clearly.
Beginning with all grand looks of the Dubai hotel, the makers keep stressing on the BODY structure right from the first few minutes itself and then go on giving the introductions for a good long 45 minutes. Looking for something fresh, one desperately starts expecting Deepika to come in fast to offer the much needed relief but such is the (all clichéd) below average script progression of the film that even her decent performance is unable to become the saving grace. The comedy barely works in only a few scenes and the dance competition before the intermission exactly looks like watching any mediocre movie unexpectedly.
The long and lazy sequences continue to test your patience in the second half and (once again) the heist is so easily done as if the owners were just waiting for the diamonds to be stolen in advance. Particularly the elements of ‘not in use’ AC duct & the excessive water involved in the act were just mind blowing throwing away the logic as always. Next the painfully stretched climax trying to pump in some fake patriotism simply falls flat and the film thankfully ends raising a big question in your mind that,
“Why did Shahrukh signed this and didn’t they all read the script first before saying Yes?”
“Why everyone including Aamir, Akshay, Hrithik, Salman & now Shahrukh are all desperately doing the same heist films all of a sudden?”
Keeping aside the writing which more or less gets revealed from the description above, I would like to mention the direction which questionably doesn’t give you even one impressive or memorable scene in the film to be precise. Refusing to learn from the mistakes of the past, this time Farah makes fun of Saroj Khan in a spoof and with Shahrukh (once again) being present in the act, becomes the ‘partner in the crime’ unarguably. In honest words, I really cannot understand the need and fail to laugh at any such act disrespecting our veterans, whom we have grown up watching in all the past decades.
Other than this highly objectionable addition Farha also brings in some surprising cameos featuring Sajid Khan, Prabhudeva, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal and more. But none of them is able to bring in that much desired laughter in the theater. Plus the overuse of a particular suggestive abusive word in the dialogues seems to be really strange as well as sick considering the King Khan’s status.
And I would humbly like to ask the Censors that
“Does the committee only understands English abusive words, strongly objecting their use in our films and really not familiar with the Hindi abuse suggestively used in HNY? OR
“Do we have different set of rules for small, medium and big budget films featuring the known names?”
Musically, the songs are not able to make any kind of long lasting impact on the viewers and the only catchy number “Main Lovely Ho Gayi Han" is highly inspired from a Punjabi composition also reminding you of "Main Yaar Manani Ni" from DAAG (1973). Coming to the other technical departments, a heist movie is largely dependent upon its Background Score which keeps you glued to the screen when the task is being done without any major dialogues. But HNY doesn’t have any pulsating Background score to make you feel the excitement and the camerawork keeps trying hard to fill in the missing element through its different angles along with some fine action. Also the editors are not able to deliver a fast paced, engaging product probably because they had to give each and every actor his due scenes keeping the main focus on Shahrukh.
In the performance section, I really haven’t got much to write as none of the names come up with anything exceptional other than a few scenes of Deepika, Boman and Abhishek. Despite being there in almost every frame Shahrukh doesn’t deliver the Khan magic and I truly missed the actor seen in SWADES and CHAKK DE INDIA. Both Sonu Sood & Anupam Kher are wasted just for nothing, Vivaan is only there to fill up the space and Jackie Shroff is the same, as seen before playing a routine act.
In all it seems that the film was made just for the sake of friendship since in comparative terms HNY is arguably one of the most disappointing films of the year which misses out the opportunity to encash a talented cast ensemble. Nevertheless its pretty obvious that the film will still make a big killing at the box office due to our own gross ignorance and so huge cinema loving population of the country.
However signing off on a positive note, I would like to request Shahrukh to please adapt new concepts, new directors and better films in the coming years, since the actor himself and his fans certainly deserve much better films than HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Rating : 1.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 just for the efforts of Deepika, Boman and Abhishek)
(On a personal note I still find the good old Dharmendra heist movies much more entertaining and enjoyable than these mediocre new age ventures, particularly SHALIMAR, JUGNU and AZAAD)