BOLLYWOOD: Many a head will turn if you yell “Happy” at an Amritsar wedding. It is the kind of name Punjabis affectionately bestow on man, woman and Alsatian alike. For some reason, Daman Singh Bagga, played by Jimmy Shergill, finds himself drawn to girls with that name. He was smitten by one in Mudassar Aziz’s Happy Bhag Jayegi, and once again in this sequel, Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi, he finds himself in a haphazard pursuit of Happy-ness.
The first film starred Diana Penty as runaway bride Happy, trying gratingly hard at being a Parineeti Chopra type, alongside Abhay Deol grappling clumsily with broad comedy. In the new film, Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi, Sonakshi Sinha plays a different Happy, a girl so given to scowling that her parents clearly got it wrong. So did the film’s makers. The original was surprisingly fizzy, a film where the plot made little sense and the protagonists were duds, and yet there were giggles to be had. The sequel has an even more ridiculous plot, a tedious heroine and — this is the crucial bit — not enough gags. It runs out of steam long before the finish line.
The plot involves kidnapped girls, kidnapped policemen and kidnapped Punjabi businessmen who like wearing outrageously flamboyant hoodies. This wholesale kidnapping comes courtesy of Chinese gangsters, which is why the wild goose chase is set in Shanghai this time. Sinha’s Happy is an academician (a horticulturist, if you will) who has come to China for the first time and been immediately kidnapped, mistaken for the other Happy. Chang, a well-heeled Chinese gangster who speaks in fluent Hindi, has his hands full with her and his other hostages: Pakistani policeman Usman Afridi, whisked away on the day of his retirement, and our friend Bagga who was kidnapped — as he never tires of reminding anyone within earshot — not only on the day of his wedding, but after he had already mounted his shaadi steed.
Sinha looks confused from the start, walking out of an airport open-mouthed and staying that way till the credits drop, occasionally taking the time to harrumph. The film’s hero is a mild-mannered fellow who sings Sunny Deol songs at open mic events, and while the character is pleasant, he is played by pop-star Jassi Gill, a performer so unremarkable I have already forgotten him.
Watch the Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi trailer here: