HASEE TOH PHASEE. Director: Vinil Mathew. Players: Parineeti Chopra, Sidharth Malhotra, Manoj Joshi, Sharat Saxena, Neena Kulkarni, Adah Sharma. Music: Vishal-Shekhar. Hindi with Eng. Sub-tit. Theatrical release Dharma Productions and Phantom Productions (Reliance).

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WWhen two big production houses like Dharma and Phantom, with people like Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap come together for a film with a fun title like Hasee Toh Phasee, you expect sparks to fly. Especially since one of last year’s biggest block-busters was the rom-com Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani.

Here, too, the lead pair is promising, the ensemble cast pillar-like, the music catchy—how wrong could a film go with so many things working for it? Not much, one would suppose but one would be quite, quite wrong. There is only so much all these things can do because the crucial thing to hold them together is a strong or even credible storyline, which is conspicuous by its absence.

The film starts with two kids, in two different cities, with similar skills in getting out of locked doors … that’s a connection, ok? They’re meant to be soul-mates. They grow up into a dishy Nikhil (Malhotra) and the nerdy Meeta (Chopra) who meet fleetingly just to separate. Nikhil goes and falls for and gets engaged to the sizzling-turned-tantrummy Karishma (Sharma). Our sympathies are with the boy when we learn that Karishma loves breaking-up at the drop of a hat. Re-enter Meeta, who now appears almost crazy and we learn that she is Karishma’s sister whom the family has ostracized for some reason.

The film plods on featuring scenes preparing for the great Gujju-wedding. Nikhil runs around at the nth hour trying to prove himself to his finicky would-be as we wait for the explanation of Meeta’s ostracism and craziness. In the meanwhile, we discover that Meeta is super-intelligent, when she is not crazy, and Nikhil, despite being engaged to her sister, starts falling for her. Why? Search me!

In a highly convoluted plot Nikhil cures Meeta of her craziness and a song or two later she convinces him that they make a better couple. The last ten to fifteen minutes races to the finale, where Nikhil makes up his mind which sister he really wants to marry. And that’s that.

The film is shot beautifully, the production values are great, the actors look lovely in soft-focus and act as well as the script or the lack thereof lets them. One feels sorry for the talented Parineeti, whose supposedly drug-addict version becomes a caricature with its blinking, tongue-sticking and staring and her, again, supposed IIT-level brilliance turns to spouting bookish knowledge about how to charge a dead car-battery from a laptop charger to the effects of certain drugs to how to remain calm—surely we needed a much sorted out person to invent that game-changer ball she has invented?

Malhotra turns in a more credible Nikhil, a loser trying to find his way to success and win his lady-love’s respect. Among the supporting actors, Manoj Joshi deserves a special mention as the girls’ father—his interaction with his estranged daughter is one of the most touching moments of the film.

Vishal–Shekhar’s music is excellent specially the melodious “Zahenaseeb” and the foot-tapping “Shake it like Shammi” and “Punjabi wedding song.”

One just wishes that the writers and the debutant director Vinil Mathew had given a little more thought to the storyline and remembered that assorted great scenes do not make a great film! Or was it the case of too many cooks which cooked this could-have-been-wonderful film’s goose?

Hasee toh Phasee has all the right ingredients but lacks the recipe to give it lasting flavor. Watch it for some good sequences, dances and music!

EQ: B

Madhumita Gupta is a freelance writer and a teacher.

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