Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Illeana DCruz, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Preity Zinta and above all, Govinda
Directed by Krishna DK, Raj Nidimoru
Music by Sachin-Jigar
Image is a terrible ‘cheez’ in the life of a Bollywood movie actor. The same thing that once brought you the limelight ends up contributing to your downfall. What was once considered fresh is now classified cheesy and you find yourself out-of-sync with the audience and current market demands. Stars like Govinda have seen it all and now unsurprisingly Saif finds himself being the latest victim of it all. For how long do we have to endure him in the same commitment phobic kameena-playboy roles that we have been used to since his Ole Ole days? And to make things worse, age certainly isn’t helping his cause, is it?
In the opening sequence of the movie Happy Ending, we have Saif explaining to his girlfriend (played by Kareena in a special cameo) that what she sees is exactly what she gets, and that there is no depth to his character as she would like to believe.
And therein lays the problem with Happy Ending, the movie. There is absolutely no depth to anything out there onscreen, and all you see is all you get- a glossy rom-com set in LA, where we are expected to feel for a ‘struggling’ writer who is trying to find love and purpose in life, despite all the fame, women and swanky lifestyle.
So here we go… again! When he should be playing daddy-daddy roles, Saif still plays bachelor boy – this time Yudi, the flamboyant writer who is living off the success of that one bestseller he managed to write 5 ½ years back. The man avoids writing a second, because he fears the world will find out the success of the first was a mere fluke.
But he is forced to get back to writing when his publishing agent breaks the news to him that all his sources of income have dried up and he cannot afford his lifestyle any more. So Yudi is offered a new assignment- to write a script for a Bollywood ‘romedy’ featuring a single-screen superstar Armaan -ji.
So far so good.
However none of the writer-star equation is explored, and the script refuses to venture out any further and instead decide to fall back on the clichés and throws our lead man to hook up with a young writer Aanchal (Illena) who happens to be current darling of his publishing house thanks to her romantic novels that is selling like hot cakes. Yudi reaches out to Aanchal for inspiration, and in the bargain we get long drives, dinners, songs, and even the mandatory airport-walla scene. The makers just go through their checklist of all the tropes that make the urbane romantic comedy while the audience is left thumb twiddling awaiting something new.
And as usual , when the playboy finally decide to retire from the game and shows his love for the lady, we are the last ones to fall for it. Especially when it is played by Saif!
On paper, director duo Raj and DK seemed to be the perfect candidates to take on the task of deconstructing the modern day romantic genre. However the end result is a huge let down where we witness them dishing out the same cliché ridden rom-com which they set out to spoof. They do bring the witty one liners and the quirky humour in doses, but fail to incorporate it into the movie as a whole.
Saif and Illeana fail to pass off as serious writers of any kind. And when it comes to chemistry, the pair fails even miserably which instantly spells doom for any rom-com. With hardly any sparkle between the two, expecting the audience to be engaged in this make-believe luv-shuv is a bit too much.
We cannot find faults in Saif’s portrayal of the lead character because that is something he can play in his sleep to perfection. But it is his turn as his alter ego Yogi that stands out fresher and more interesting. Illeana is terribly miscast in the role.
The actor cum producer has to then thank the co-stars for pitching in and helping. Kalki is fantastic as Vishaka, the pyscho ex of Yudi’s who fails to acknowledge the breakup. Ranvir Shorey ensures the laughs keep coming as Yudi’s best friend Montu. Preity Zinta too shows up as another of his ex who comes up with reality checks for our lead man, for old time’s sake. Each of them makes the best use of whatever limited time the screenplay lends them , rising above the writing on most occasions.
And then there is the scene stealer, Chi Chi. Govinda, as the superstar Armaan, is simply kickass and in his five-six odd scenes, he shows that he still has a screen presence unmatchable and a comic timing unrivalled. It only leaves the audience yearning for more. Even his item number seems too short and only leaves his fans begging for more.
Though the initial set up promises something smart and witty, the script is found wanting and gasping for air as it crawls to its backstretch, despite its short running time. Besides the popping in and out of the supporting casts, and the witty writing here and there, there really isn’t much going for from a screenplay point of view.
Sachin Jigar’s soundtrack is a winning score and the cinematography is noteworthy. And technically speaking, they remain two of the strong points of this otherwise disappointing venture. If only the makers would have stuck to a fresher and quirky path. Instead, by resorting to the tried n tested route, what we have is a forgettable addition to the long list of similar attempts. Alas, the audience and the talented cast deserved better.
And as far as Saif is considered, the man needs to find the change soon and pay heed to the writing on the wall – he can no longer afford to be playing it ‘Saif’!