Cast: Parineeti Chopra, Siddharth Malhotra, Manoj Joshi, Sharat Saxena, Adah Sharma
Direction: Vinil Mathew
‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ is not a frothy romance, bubbling with KJoesque romance. It’s a slow love story that requires your patience, especially with the pace at which it progresses. You either need to have a lot of time at hand or need to be a total emotional fool to completely invest in this story.
At the heart of this tale are two endearing characters – they might be weird, quirky or even stupid at times but you somehow buy into their story. They take you through their unusual experiences and you play along simply because most of it is infused with so much genuine fun. You are even ready to indulge their idiosyncrasies and the general stupidity of the situations because Parineeti is so damn adorable as the nerdy scientist.
If you scratch a little deeper under the surface you realize that besides the eccentricities, Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) is a person that no one gets including her own family with the exception of her estranged father and now, Nikhil (Siddharth Malhotra). Her own sisters, mother, uncle, all of them are completely indifferent to her. She is exceptionally lonely, the medications she takes for what she calls “sensations” are actually, anti-depressants. She has no qualms about robbing her own father; she doesn’t think it is wrong to fall for her sister’s fiancé. In fact, she’s even ready to pursue him without mincing words. She doesn’t know how to work her charm so she clearly states the other two are a complete misfit. She is quite unique in many ways.
Nikhil Bharadwaj (Siddharth Malhotra) is the complete opposite. He believes in doing the morally right thing, even though his heart might not be in it. He has no ego and therefore, doesn’t hesitate to repeatedly borrow money from his future father-in-law, so that he can make a favourable impression on his fiancée. But Nikhil is a solid guy; he is only one who cares to look beyond Meeta’s quirks and tries to help her resolve her issues. He finds himself falling head over heels in love and yet, he knows that he cannot just break the commitment he has already made.
Siddharth had made an impressive debut in ‘Student of the Year’. Karan Johar’s camera had caressed his well-sculpted body and he had managed to create quite an impression. This role however, doesn’t require him to take off his shirt even once and is completely dependent on his acting prowess. He might not be a complete match for Parineeti but you know he has approached his part in all sincerity.
The thing is to make an average film exceptional, it needs the support of the rest of the cast - small memorable characters that remain with you even after you have left the theatre. The supporting cast in this film is basically ineffective, except the bit part done by this guy who sings like Anu Malik.
What stays with you are some of the little scenes that are beautifully executed – some make you laugh out loud and some leave you a little misty-eyed. The scene where Meeta takes the family saree-shopping and is completely confused by the twin sisters is hilarious. The scene where Nikhil takes his would-be father-in-law to the terrace, so that she can get a look at his father, is stupid but super fun.
And there are moments that bring a lump to your throat – the scene where Nikhil locks Meeta in a room and forgets about it. When he realizes and opens the door, she has wet the borrowed clothes, unable to control herself. Also the time when she asks for a wet towel because she is hungry and has had nothing to eat holed up in a dingy room, will make you feel for this unusual character.
Vinil Mathew has picked-up the most overused canvas in contemporary Hindi films- the traditional big fat Indian wedding. The screenplay could have been tighter and the film could have easily been 30 minutes shorter. It’s not an unusual love story, it is the quirky Meeta and some beautiful moments that make ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ work.