Cast: Himesh Reshammiya, Sonia Mann
Writer: Sonia Kapoor Reshammiya, Bunty Rathore
Duration: 2 hours, 3 minutes.
Happy Hardy And Heer is the kind of film that pushes you gradually towards nihilism. And I am not just talking about how bad or silly the film is, its humour deserves a groan of its own decibel. I am not even talking about the blatant plagiarism of Coldplay’s ‘Life In Technicolor’ bastardized alongside lyrics “Mere dil ke bangalow ko karo occupy, my cutiepie.”
It is the sheer egoism of such a project, and the people who are willing to bloat the ego further, pummeling it with cash. There was no reason for Himesh Reshammiya to play a double role in this film, (apart from extreme doses of unchecked and undeserved vanity) and yet, here we are.
Reshammiya plays both Happy and Hardy, a Punjabi and Gujarati man respectively. They both love Heer. Happy, since childhood, and Hardy, since six months when Happy goes off the grid, ghosting Heer, to pursue art school. (Don’t ask) Since this film is uncaring of nuance, the stereotypes blare (as does the background score, I don’t remember the last time I had to shut my ears in order to hear a scene- every time Heer whacks Happy or Hardy, which she does a lot, the sound effect sharply cut through my furrowed, unimpressed brow): the Punjabi is large hearted, lassi-tussi, and a wastrel. The Gujarati is garba and industrious.
In case we didn’t get the point, Happy is always called a loser, and Hardy, always the winner. The story plays out like a junior high school theatrical production. To show how Happy and Heer have spent time with each other from childhood to youth-hood, they show them as children playing with bangles, and then running off, out of the screen, and coming back in as adults. This was how our theatre director in high school showed the passage of time while staging Jungle Book. We kids thought it was genius.
But bad acting, bad directing, even bad writing was all part of this universe. That is not what incensed me. For me, it was the egotism in having an entire film revolve around you, in having Himesh in almost every scene. It’s a little nauseating after a while, and not just because of his sheer inability to emote, (in the scene where he is proposed to for marriage, he is deadpan then overexcited, then weepy, then doe eyed, then bhangra) but his sheer inability to exist on screen without calling attention to himself, his wardrobe, and his posturing. Even when he isn’t speaking, your eyes dart to him.
See, it is easy to be mean and demeaning of bad films. I too am guilty of it. But it is so hard to find value in vanity.
Sonia Mann playing the love interest of both the Himesh’s is tonally off… or perhaps, tonally she’s perfect. In a film with histrionic reactions to even insignificant things like the dinner menu, a nuanced portrayal of a girl who falls in love with a man to realize she is in love with another man would seem out of place.
See, it is easy to be mean and demeaning of bad films. I too am guilty of it. But it is so hard to find value in vanity. For no reason we have Himesh foregrounding white girls in skimpy clothes, flirt-dancing with a yeti of post its, and planting uncomfortable pecks on Mann’s lips as he drives his car, all within a few minutes. We see attempts at abs, we see attempts at swagger, we see attempts at posturing oneself as every-self. But to be larger than life, you must first be bearable.