Home > mint-lounge > features > Film Review | Hasee Toh Phasee

No genre of cinema is as prolific and palliative as the Hollywood romcom—an index of our appetite for the quickie fairy tale. When the milieu is urban and somewhat damaged, it’s more abiding on the multiplex screen. Hindi cinema has produced a few successful attempts at building on this template of urban romance set in quirky families, where emotional dysfunction is malleable enough to make happy endings believable.

Director Vinil Mathew’s debut feature film, Hasee Toh Phasee, is a smart and winning feint of that formula. It is an extremely likable balance between light and shade, the sadness in his beautiful lead woman sitting happily alongside her smiles. The sugar is pleasingly granular.

The night Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) runs away from home, she has a fleeting encounter with Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra), who goes on to fall for her sister Karishma (Adah Sharma), a woman with porcelain skin and an hour-glass figure. After seven years, Nikhil is struggling to hit the professional jackpot with a contract that is somehow dependent on the Indian Premier League mania. Karishma insists that without money her marriage to Nikhil would be hopeless. Meeta returns, with a psychotic bluster about her, and Nikhil and Meeta build a friendship built on sympathy for each other’s little tragedies and quarrels with the world.

There is a tragicomic unease from the moment Meeta appears in this suburbia of designer dreams. By the end, Nikhil calls Meeta a “phattu" (emotional coward in this context) and challenges her addiction to psychotropic pills. Thereafter, no force, even as big as the Gujarati conviction on monetary supremacy or the misplaced egotism of a retired police officer, can stop this couple from the happy-ever-after upshot.

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Parineeti Chopra as Meeta

The ensemble cast, including newcomer Adah Sharma and seasoned actors like Sharat Saxena, Manoj Joshi and Nina Kulkarni, are efficient vehicles for the largely caricature-free Gujaratis and Punjabis populating this canvas.

The two climaxes of Hasee Toh Phasee stretch unduly, but when the end approaches, you root for this couple, and hope those pills only preempted a fairy tale.

Hasee Toh Phasee released in theatres on Friday,

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