Sad Old Days – A review of Happy New Year

10338709_10152757394123116_3258304274061944141_nFarah Khan has never made a great film, but she made two enjoyable ones. Main Hoon Na was total Masala, with an unforgettable heroine. Om Shanti Om was a nostalgia ride with enough for a Bollywood fan to enjoy. Then she made Tees Maar Khan…..

Remember how Shahrukh started? With Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na, Maya Memsaab….. then Romantic masala happened, and began an downward spiral towards RaaOne and Chennai Express.

So when these two join hands again, they are not at the peak of their careers quality-wise. The trailer was another bad sign. And yet, here I am, writing the review, and yes I went to see it. Don’t ask why.

When you base a heist film in Dubai, the comparisons to the recent Mission Impossible film are inevitable. And really unfortunate. One is a film with a complex plot, great stunts and unexpected humour, the other has closeups of nipples of an ageing superstar, a character who has epileptic seizures that are timed by the second, a character who vomits a lot, and a World Dance Competition where you only dance twice to be crowned a winner.

This is a “story” where some people want to plot a revenge by stealing diamonds. It is plotted by a Charlie (Shahrukh), a guy who claims he can’t get a job because his father was jailed. Really? He is joined by a few characters who specialise in being loud and having weird traits like seizure and impaired hearing.

Farah obviously has a lot of love for the old bollywood. It manifested in loving form in Om Shanti Om, which, with all its flaws, was at least warm hearted. In this film it manifests mainly in sexism. There is just one female character: that of Deepika. She dances in a bar. For than sin she is repeatedly abused verbally by Shahrukh for being a cheap and “bajaaru” woman. But she falls in love with him because he speaks English. No really. Thats all she falls in love with. Yeah really. She falls in love with an chauvinist pig because he speaks English. Oh Farah, what happened to the confident Chemistry teacher, the strong mothers, even the successful, unattainable heroine of your earlier films? Do you relate to this bimbo? Or is this your subtle way of portraying yourself: because you have a husband who was beaten publicly by a superstar and now you are making a film with the same guy and loudly proclaiming your love for him.

Sadly, I know that can’t be the case because nothing is subtle in this film. To show passion you show actual fire. To show well dressed you show velvet jackets. To show a Kathak dancer you show a guy in Salwar kameez. To show anger you show steam coming out of ears. I could go on and on about how loud this whole thing is. You have damaged film making, you have offended good sense….. But the biggest injury is to Shahrukh Khan.

Now I have never been a fan of SRK. I could, however, see what people liked about him. He was unique while being common. He was charming, above all. Here he is just a slab of meat with bad teeth. And too many tears. (Hint: if you have to use glycerine to show emotion, you’re failing to show emotion). King Khan is reduced to repeating dialogue of his past films to remind us who he is/was. Sad.

If it’s possible to feel worse for anyone else, it’s Abhishek. Just try and remember where he comes from. And then watch as he eats his own vomit in one scene. Yes he does. Just for laughs. My wife said in exasperation, why does he even do films like these? He is a good actor. Maniratnam has shown us that. Why not just do some art films and establish himself as an actor?

Ohh and speaking of art films, we have Anurag Kashyap in a cameo. I love that he can laugh at himself and is okay looking silly. But Mr Kashyap, why lend your name and credibility to projects like this? Because this is not a film. This is a project. A pure financial transaction calculated to make money. And it will make tons of that, but Mr Khan, isn’t it time to think of your legacy?

Ohh and before I go, let me talk a bit about the plot. Nah. Too many holes. Just one point about patriotism in the film.

The “dance team” is bad at dancing. They cheat to reach Dubai. Then they get offended when they don’t get respect. And then they start a song about how much they love their country. So these are thieves who want to steal Indian heritage diamonds and sell them, who cheat and make sure that people laugh at India for sending bad dancers. They are patriots? Wow.

This film is an embarrassment as a dance film. ABCD was wayyyy better. It has worse action than a South Indian remake. It has worse jokes than Tees Maar Khan. It is worse in portraying women than a Sajid Khan film. It is worse than any Rohit Shetty film, worse than any Salman Khan film, worse than Joker, even. This film now officially competes with Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag.

What have we come to?

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