Indo-Pak themes normally take themselves so seriously
that writer-director Mudassar Aziz’s irreverent comedy is a welcome breath of
While local corporator and bridegroom Daman Singh Bagga
shakes an awkward leg at his own wedding in Amritsar, his spirited bride Happy
runs away and lands quite by chance in Lahore.
On the other side of the Wagah border is Bilal Ahmed
whose influential dad dreams of his son becoming the next Jinnah and changing
the history of Pakistan. Bilal would rather play cricket on the streets but he obeys
his Abbu without confrontation. It includes marrying Zoya, handpicked by his
father as a smart political move. But once Happy crashes into Bilal’s life, the
fun never stops.
Whether it’s Amritsar or Lahore, Punjabi or Urdu, Aziz
doesn’t treat anything like a holy cow. By steering away from all things
political or religious, the comedy rolls along inoffensively. Aziz also avoids
clichés like a sea of burkhas or
frequent references to namaaz or
Insha Allah to depict Pakistan or Muslim culture. He keeps the lifestyle normal on both sides
and pokes light-hearted fun at everybody.
Some of the rib-tickling moments include bridegroom
Bagga’s repeated reference to how much he spent on the wedding and Bilal hiding
Happy in his bungalow under his dad’s nose with the connivance of the staff.
Happy handing over a currency note with Gandhi’s face instead of Jinnah’s to a rickshawallah
in Lahore is light and funny. Pakistani Usman Afridi’s Urdu versus Bagga’s
Punjabi, evokes much laughter. Afridi’s drunken night with Happy’s boyfriend
Guddu in Amritsar is amusing. And a scene between Bilal’s dad and Zoya’s father
makes you grin.
Like a good Priyadarshan film of yore, the climax is
pure mayhem and the end is not quite what you’d expect which makes it
Sohail Sen’s peppy music also keeps the rhythm going.
Bhag Jayegi has its flaws of course. One of which is why all the
men, Bagga, Guddu and Bilal fall in love with Happy. The story is also not
emotionally strong in content.
But there’s freshness in the casting with Diana Penty
providing energy as Happy. Abhay Deol is at home as Bilal, the politician in
the making. Producer Anand L Rai’s staple actor Jimmy Sheirgill once again
proves how polished he can be in almost any kind of role. Momal Sheikh who
makes her Hindi film debut as Zoya is pretty and fits the role. Ali Fazal is acceptable
as Guddu. Piyush Mishra is a delight as the Urdu spouting Pakistani.
For its ability to have a good-natured laugh at India
and Pakistan, Happy Bhag Jayegi gets
a 3* rating.
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author