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A surprising, underplayed romance

8th Feb 2014

Hasee Toh Phasee

Director: Vinil Mathew

Starring: Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra

Either they marketed this one all wrong, or having us really not look forward to Hasee Toh Phasee was a twisted way of ensuring our expectations were so low, we had to come out liking the film.

Their tag line "Love Goes Cuckin' Frazy" was plastered all over their promotional hoardings, and it made me really cucking fringe when I first saw it, putting this one as far from my must-watch list as possible.

But that's probably why you always get warned to never judge a book by its cover. Sure, sometimes you're right on the money, but ever so often, you come away pleasantly surprised.

Like with Vinil Mathew's Hasee Toh Phasee. Backed by co-producers Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap, it's not your ideal rom-com. It's a sweet little story about Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra) who's trying to set up a successful business and make a load of cash in the process to pacify girlfriend Karishma (Adah Sharma), who wants him to earn/organise Rs 5 crore before they get married (in a week) to prove that he's not a loser relying on her wealthy father to support them forever.

While the two households are in full wedding mode, Karishma's younger genius pill-popping sister Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) returns from China (where she runs a research lab) to a home she had run away from seven years ago. Nikhil has met Meeta fleetingly before, but this time *spoiler alert* it's different.

So, nothing too original about the story, but Hasee Toh Phasee's charm lies in its treatment. From the way couples fight, to the interaction between family members, neighbours, friends and acquaintances, the nuances are so charmingly captured, that you are happy to forgive the film a little fumbling every now and then. By the second half of the film, there are enough moments (and none of them in-your-face, which is a relief) to make you laugh out loud, even tear up (the girl next to me needed tissue), though the story does start to lose its way a little by this time.

The film's supporting cast, which includes Manoj Joshi, Sharat Saxena and Neena Kulkarni, is a riot to watch, and they each play their character with restrain and subtlety. All said and done, however, Hasee Toh Phasee is entirely Parineeti Chopra's film. Malhotra neither really adds to nor takes away from the film in any way, but he is pleasant enough to look at, so you don't mind.

-Ravina Rawal

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