Well, wrap me up in an ombre chiffon sequin sari designed by Manish and call me Anjali; I was all ready to rip Hasee Toh Phasee (HTP) to pieces of sushi and bitch it down to Bitch Town. Then, like most of the best laid plans, I actually went to the cinema, laughed and was ensnared by the charm the film exudes. Ignore the misleading marketing (even though that is what drove me to see HTP in the first place – oops) and give this indie-sensibilities-masquerading-as-mulitplex-fodder-rom-com a chance. For it is not all soft lighting and thumping soundtrack as one would expect but some rather deep themes like coping with depression, not fitting in with the world and escaping reality.
Of course there are some unnecessary wobbles where the screenplay could be rewritten or refined to help rather than hamper the flow that is built up but in some cases, I actually liked that HTP goes to a dark place and then returns to the vicinity of its comfort zone – the flaws are more a matter of curation rather than a lack of creativity which is not a bad problem to have. The film does manage to be a successful marriage between Dharma and Phantom – there is definitely a raw and unpolished element amongst all the shiny modern iPhones and Puma endorsement deal palooza that is very watchable.
Performance wise, I was incredibly surprised at Siddharth’s performance – at first it does seem stilted and uncertain but soon gets more likeable and one can see how his acting improves as his confidence does (though let’s stop making him dance). I really liked Parineeti’s performance too which is just the right side of kooky – she really does forge a lovely connection with misfit Meeta and gives her an intelligence and likeability that endears Nikhil and the audience to root for her. The supporting cast are marvellous too with the Indian Idol reject stealing every scene he is in.
It is interesting how many Hindi rom coms try to claim they are different from the usual glut of nonsense we receive but HTP certainly does have something to it – whether it is the fact that it does not try to imitate what it thinks the rom com genre is but just goes with the flow and creates its own niche seemingly effortlessly or just that it managed to confound my expectation in a, er, unexpected way, I would recommend HTP. Whilst I understand the film was pitched to us all as being another Ek Main Aur Ek Tuu or Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, it is something that neither of these films were – rather good and successful in its mission. Definitely worth a watch, though remember (and a potential *SPOILER ALERT* – once you laugh, you are ensnared…