Happy Ending **
Dir: Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Ileana D’Cruz, Govinda, Kalki Koechlin, Ranvir Shorey, Preity Zinta
The movie begins breezily and pleasingly enough with Saif Ali Khan turning in yet another variation on his, by now, patented NRI cheeky, loathe-to-commit, philanderer act. Saif plays Yudi, an L.A. based (why?) writer living off the royalties of his first and only book which came out almost six years ago. Yudi’s best friend is the married, hen-pecked (what else?) Montu, played by Ranvir Shorey. Saif and Shorey play well off each other with Shorey providing the best laughs of the film. Unfortunately, however, the movie heads steadily downhill after its first 15-20 minutes till it limps to its predictable denouement two hours later.
Yudi’s life changes when he runs out of money and, simultaneously, runs into Aanchal (Ileana D’Cruz), the latest best-selling Indian author on the block and just as big a commitment-phobe as Yudi.What happens next is predictable as it can get with a rom-com (or “romedy” as Govinda’s Armaan calls it in the film). Writers/Directors Krishna D.K and Raj Nidimoru (Go Goa Gone, Shor In The City) want to have their cake and eat it too by sending up rom-com clichés by employing those very same formulistic tropes. That’s too clever by half and it doesn’t work – particularly because Krishna and Nidimoru bring nothing new to the plate. Also, falling in the too-clever-by-half-but-doesn’t-work category is the character of Yudi’s alter-ego and inner conscience, the paunchy, schlubby Yugi (also played by Saif Ali Khan). Some predictable rom-coms can be salvaged by the chemistry of the leads but Saif and Ileana set off as many sparks as a wet matchstick.
There are some positives, however. There’s some comic relief provided by Govinda, terrific as an aging, preening Mollywood superstar (wish there had been more of him in the movie), and Kalki Koechlin, as one of Saif’s clingy girlfriends. I also liked the music and it’s nice to see Preity Zinta on the screen again (she plays one of Yudi’s exes) in a small but sweet and unaffected bit (however, I wish – how do I put this politely? -her face had remained as unaffected as her role). But all this is not enough to save the film from its clichéd, vapid script.
Cut to chase: The movie won’t leave you too happy.