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This ‘romcom’ falls prey to the clichés it lampoons

22nd Nov 2014

Happy Ending

Director: Raj Nidimoru&Krishna D.K.

Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Ileana D’Cruz, Govinda

"There's no such thing as a happy ending."

Just the sort of thing this film's target audience will relate to immediately because that's exactly the cynical, jaded, melancholy-laced excuse for an excuse we needed to feel okay about failing at life instead of trying our damnedest not to.

If you've been waiting all week for the release of Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K's Happy Ending, the first bit of good news is Govinda is in excellent form. Actually, that's the only bit of good news. Which is especially disappointing when you consider that Nidimoru and D.K. are the guys that gave us the thoroughly enjoyable zombie comedy, Go, Goa, Gone, last year.

As a one-hit-wonder author, Yudi, Saif Ali Khan isn't playing a 20-year-old as we've come to expect him to, but he's still stuck in the role of a man who can't grow up. He's afraid of commitment, he starts things he cannot finish, and he has a pizza-binging, scruffy and mildly funny alter-ego called Yogi who he talks to all the time.

Riding on the success of a book he had written and published five years before we meet him in Happy Ending, he suddenly finds himself in a place where he hasn't done any real work since, and now his fancy car's being repossessed and his cable's being cut off, and his agency's all over the new bestselling talent, Aanchal (Ileana D'Cruz). So he agrees to a writing job for a film for Armaan (Govinda), who plays a guy with too much money and a burning desire to star in a movie and live happily ever after.

Even though it's all very predictable story-wise, there's still lots that gives you hope because there's so much potential in the execution. As the film and its characters go through the motions, they mock the very industry they're part of, calling out the clichés and spoofing romcoms in general ("gotta go to the airport bro, that's the final dramatic scene, haven't you seen enough movies?"). But somewhere down the line, it starts to feel like everyone sort of lost interest and decided to go down all the beaten paths they seemed to initially promise us they'd steer clear from. As a result, where Happy Ending could have been a laugh riot, it ends up being largely boring.

Besides trying to build on a love story between Yudi and Aanchal, which falls flat, it tries also to bring in a little bit of bromance between Yudi and his Best Friend Forever Montu (Ranvir Shorey), who lives vicariously through Yudi because he's married and his wife's a hardcore cliché who won't let him be or do anything alone.

Plenty of potential to draw the audience in even into this space, but it isn't explored enough. So then they turn to the real crux of things: happy endings are hard to find. What can even be defined as an "ending", really? The One? Marriage? Death? The film brings up potentially deep and meaningful things like this in passing, but never sits around with it long enough to actually allow you a coherent thought loop about it. Speaking of which, it also doesn't hang out with Govinda long enough. And it should have, because he has done a perfect job of his role as "world famous super star" who wants to make a movie and even though the film's cast also includes Kalki Koechlin, Ileana D'Cruz and Ranvir Shorey, no one's scoring any real points except good old Chi Chi.

With enough popcorn and soda combos, it's a watchable film. But if you walk in expecting to be very highly amused, you're likely to come away faintly disappointed. 

- Ravina Rawal

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