Happy Ending - Review

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

Is love permanent? An urban romcom that tries to get a grapple on love. It is charming in its own way, but ultimately ends up having very little more than a regular romedy, as it likes to call itself.

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Wogma Review

Happy Ending is not a sex comedy after all, though its trailer tried its best in portraying itself as one. It is a regular rom-com that truly has its heart in trying to differentiate itself from others in its genre. It manages, even if only by a bit.

Let's face it. The dynamics of relationships are changing. Love is no more as "forever" a thing as it used to be thought of as. More and more of today's urban youth believes in "the one" for them, at this current point, on this day, this part of life. Of course, I have no statistics, but this is the general perception I see from younger friends and family. And this is what both Yudi (Saif Ali Khan) and Aanchal (Ileana D'Cruz) experience and live by.

Yes, it does sound cynical. What happens when two cynics who don't believe in "happily ever after" but are romantic and enthusiastic about relationships otherwise bump into each other? It's not they don't like relationships but both like retiring from them when it's at its peak, after the initial excitement, before the us become 'you' and 'me'. Maybe the excitement just lives on because both don't want it to end. Maybe they let it just be instead of tinkering around with it to make it "work".

In this sense, Happy Ending is different. It is a romcom that makes you reconsider the basics, like say "opposites attract". Though you might not think to deeply about it. And that is because it tries to do a lot many other things. For one, it wants to make you laugh, which it manages a few times; some times out loud too. It wants you to go "aawww" and care for the characters, root for them to be together, even if they aren't too sure about it. This, by definitions of romcom, is fine.

Then, Happy Ending tries to become more. It wants to point a finger at both the "Star-driven" Hindi film industry and it wants to nod a cynical smile at the parallel indie film "hatke" (different) movement in the industry. Some of these things work wonderfully, while others fall flat.

Some of the one-liners are brilliant and will stay with me for a long, long time and I would love to watch them again in the given context. Also, Govinda does his exaggerated bit as a "star" who runs the show pretty well. Ileana D'Cruz is charming as usual yet, her expressions always come across as functional and self-conscious, thus never too convincing. Kalki Koechlin seems to be on repeat mode from her appropriately annoying role in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

You can say the same about Saif Ali Khan from the dozen films where he's played the city-bred non-commital lady-charmer. Except, when he shows up as his character, Yudi's alter ego. His accent, his demeanour, his attitude and his sense of responsibility towards Yudi keep you in splits while being perceptive and introspective.

It is the times when the film self-references that it digs itself a hole. Films that are satirical of the film industry that they belong to cannot do the same things that they are being satirical about. If you are poking fun at films breaking into songs in a formulaic manner, you cannot yourself have songs as expected. Similarly, I have never been fond of films that remind you that you are watching a film. Happy ending does this by breaking the fourth wall every once in a while. Except for one time that Yudi's alter ego makes Yudi aware of the audience's existence, where it is done meaningfully, it is annoying.

Yet, you have to give points to Happy Ending for at least trying to be different, even if not whole-heartedly. There are a few points in the film where you catch yourself inadvertently thinking a little deeper about love and its place in our world today. For me, that by itself is an achievement. Sure, I might not need a film to get me thinking about love and relationships, but it feels good when one gets you to.

Think about it, if everything around you is changing, if nothing is permanent, if the only constant in life is change, can love be permanent? The romantic in me wants to believe that the answer to be, "yes, despite all odds yes." But, I'm willing to hear a more contemporary side of the story, if someone tells it to me right. Whether or not they have a happy ending.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: A few abusive words
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of making out scenes. Talk about kissing and it is implied that a couple has had sex.
  • Concept: Trying to get a grapple on love.
  • General Look and Feel: Young and fresh

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 2
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Happy Ending - Movie Details

Happy Ending - Trailer

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Comments (10)

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Anuj:

Oi wait! Did I just see Ileana standing in the middle of a road asking for a lift in her inners? :O :D

meetu:

@Anuj :)

TimELiebe:

Sounds worth a look, at least. :)

meetu:

@TimELiebe I have a feeling we'll agree on this one. :D

shreya:

I have not yet watched Happy Ending but yes planning to watch from the past few days...I dont have any idea how the film has gone up so I can put up my opinions only after watching the movie. However, I have heard from few of my friends that it is pretty good.

Suman Chakraborty:

Direction: 2
Story: 1
Lead Actors: 3
Character Artists: 2

Dialogues: 2.5
Screenplay: 2
Music Director: 2
Lyrics: 2

Anup:

The Hollywoodish treatment for a bollywood rom com was interesting .... I specially liked Preety's character..... And the sense of humor that Raj and Dk have ,, we have already experienced in '99' and very special 'Go Goa Gone'.....But whenever something different is tried to be made there will be people who will not like it.....Too sad that this movie has got a flop verdict.....Its a litl Better then UNGLI and a whole lot of better then the trash SHAUKEENS ,,,,but i guess nothing is working for SAIF now......Too Bad...

TimELiebe:

We're partway through it right now, and Tammy's choking about the view of novelists! :D

Of course, I'm sitting in a room with Tamora Pierce, Bruce Coville and Katherine Coville - two "mortgage-paying" writers and an illustrator/writer. All are going "DaFuQ? What writer is like these two...?"

TimELiebe:

Finished Happy Ending - and while the frankness about modern relationships and ending are just different enough to have nudged it into a borderline "Thumbs Up"? Its look at The Business of Being a Novelist and/or Screenwriter is laughably bad!

I'm intrigued at how often Saif Ali Khan does movies that nudge Bollywood towards a more modern Western view of romance and sex, where couples can sleep together without necessarily being in love with each other (at least to start), and how even couples who love each other don't invariably choose marriage by the end of the movie. I know this site doesn't deal with Bollywood gossip, but I wonder how much of this is based on Saif Ali Khan's own relationship with Kareena Kapoor, where they lived together for five years before getting married - or if he'd always felt that way and had found in Ms. Kapoor a partner who shared his feelings. In any case, as a Western fan of Indian movies I appreciate that some of its stars recognize the traditional views of love and marriage aren't for everybody....

As for the rest? Ileana D'Cruz was the ideal "modern Indian woman" to shake up the hero's complacency; Govinda, a comic whose comedy usually leaves me cold, was hilarious as a pretentious movie star looking to "branch out" (and either he worked out like Hell, or they got some great CGI to give him that Rocking Hunk's Body!); and Preity Zinta is so clearly India's answer to Drew Barrymore that the two should do a movie together as twins!

This is another "on the border" rating for me - almost a "Yay! Thumbs Up!", but the filmi treatment of being a writer was just too much for me to overcome....

TimELiebe:

PS re Preity Zinta: She's maturing into an excellent actress - older and wiser without turning into a stereotypical "Auntie". Somebody should do a romantic movie with her as a divorced woman in her Forties getting involved with a man close to her age....

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