Happy New Year Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

Rating: 2.5

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivvan Shah, Jackie Shroff

Director: Farah Khan

You’ll find yourself chuckling and cringing alternately while watching Happy New Year, in which director Farah Khan skillfully sets up a heist plot against an international dance competition scenario. It’s a curious premise, and Farah brings many of the same elements that she applied to good use in Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om, namely lots of self-referencing, affectionate nods to 70s Bollywood, and the ability to occasionally laugh at oneself. But there are also tiring revenge clichés, a shrewdly devised patriotic track, and that formidable length – a full 2 hours and 59 minutes!

The self-referencing too gets exhausting early on, as leading man Shah Rukh Khan repeats line after line from his previous hits. “Badi badi fights mein chhoti chhoti cheezein hoti rehti hain,” he says not long after we’re introduced to him taking a pummeling in an underground bout. “Main hoon na,” he says reassuringly to a concerned friend just moments after.

Shah Rukh plays Charlie, who’s assembling a team of down-on-their-luck ‘losers’ to help him steal a bunch of diamonds from a rich tycoon (Jackie Shroff) responsible for framing his father in a fake robbery. Tammy (Boman Irani) is an expert safe-breaker, Rohan (Vivaan Shah), a young hacker. Nandu (Abhishek Bachchan) is a drunk lout, and Jag (Sonu Sood) is the brawny muscleman of the group. Introductions and back-stories alone take us roughly an hour into the film, which is when Deepika Padkuone enters and livens up proceedings. She’s Mohini, a bar dancer recruited by the gang so she can teach them some killer dance moves that they’ll need when they go undercover in the World Dance Championship.

Borrowing ideas from such contrasting films as Ocean’s Eleven and The Full Monty, Farah nevertheless stages a distinctly Bollywood spectacle – loud, over-the-top, and blindingly bright. I can bet the costume budget of this film alone could feed a starving nation. There are moments of inspired lunacy that’ll have you rolling in your seat. The bits in which Deepika’s character Mohini insists on speaking in English although she can barely string a sentence together are terrific. My favourite scene, though, was one in which Abhishek’s character Nandu must think on his feet (literally) when he can’t unscrew a panel in the wall while executing the heist.

The screenplay itself is painfully predictable, and the heist plan is explained repeatedly in long-drawn detail, just in case we’re dummies. Logic is sacrificed at the altar of convenience in this script, and an overall feeling of been-there-seen-that hangs over the film.

Nowhere is that more obvious than in the way Shah Rukh Khan is projected on screen. His glistening eight-pack abs get more than a few close-ups, but the actor isn’t required to flex either his dramatic chops or his comic chops any more than he’s done in Farah’s own previous films. In contrast, Abhishek Bachchan is in very good form, nicely hamming it up as the coarse Nandu. Deepika too strikes just the right balance between broad humor and heartfelt emotion, giving us another winning character.

For a film in which dance is so integral to the plot, I didn’t think the musical set-pieces here stood out particularly. The focus isn’t so much on the moves, as it is on the scale of the dance numbers. And that’s a shame.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Happy New Year. If its indulgences were trimmed, this might have been a more enjoyable film.


  1. Baba 7 years ago

    why do you create a separate post for masand reviews?

    • Author
      sputnik 7 years ago

      Because he is one of the mainstream Bollywood critics along with Anupama Chopra. Anupama’s reviews are usually just 2 minute videos so I post them as comments in one of the review threads. For Haider her written review came out early so I had a separate post for her review. I had posted Masand’s review as a comment in that thread.

      And there used to be separate posts for Taran’s reviews too as his is the first mainstream review that’s out. But he is not reviewing movies for a while now as he is unwell.

      • Baba 7 years ago

        they are all jokers of equal order. i think one movie review thread is enough to put everyone in. there was already one started by cr. Of course no one can/should stop anyone from posting anything he wants.

        • Author
          sputnik 7 years ago

          They may be jokers but unfortunately they are popular Bollywood critics just like Taran/Komal/BOI are popular for Boxoffice.

          That was a Public Reviews thread and there have been separate Public Reviews thread for all big movies.

          This is a Critics Review thread where all critics reviews can be posted. If Taran’s review had come out as it used to all critics reviews including Masand’s review could have been posted as comments in that thread. Anyways there can be one critics review thread.

          Ideally I prefer someone from TQ to review the movie and I think their review is much more valuable than this mainstream critics reviews.

          • alfa.one 7 years ago

            @Sputnik – I can review the movie (seen first day first show in Kolkat). But it will be in very bad taste for srk FANS.


          • Author
            sputnik 7 years ago


            May be @sanket-porwal or someone else will post their review here.

  2. shan 7 years ago

    It is funny how they have done a bad photoshop job to cover up Deepika’s cleavage in the pic accompanying the review. The actual pic looks like this :

    So, Masand was afraid Deepika will haul him up for displaying her cleavage on his website and using it to increase traffic, eh? 😀

    • shan 7 years ago
    • Author
      sputnik 7 years ago


      So they are covering up pictures with photoshop. Good find. I did not notice it.

  3. shan 7 years ago

    Masand is just too lenient towards SRK movies. He refrains from calling them crap and always gives them a lot of benefit of doubt. Had this movie starred Akshay or Salman, it would have got an overwhelmingly negative review with 1.5 stars from him. 😀

    And some other reviews out there are so self-contradictory! They say the film could have been better, should be trimmed, is unfunny, falls flat, makes no sense, is low on entertainment quotient etc etc and also give it 4 stars. LOL. 😀

  4. shezad 7 years ago

    Happy New Year is not just a grand affair; the film is HUGE and every frame is breathtaking. The way the film has been mounted and the presence of big names in the cast makes this production the perfect festival treat for everyone. It is also a perfect example of content blended with richness. Every commercial filmmaker aspires to entertain the audience and Happy New Year does that with flying colours.

    When you have Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Abhishek Bachchan along with Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah and Jackie Shroff being directed by Farah Khan’s style of filmmaking, you get a larger-than-life canvas. Happy New Year has much more to boast about other than the collaboration of these big names. And that’s entertainment, entertainment and entertainment!!!

    Yes, the film is three hours long but who cares as long as every scene is packed with laughter and entertainment. You get more than your money’s worth and that’s what matters most.

    The story: Chandermohan Manohar Sharma aka Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) is a street fighter and self-proclaimed loser. Charlie finds out that Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff), who had framed his father Manohar Sharma (Anupam Kher) years ago by accusing him of robbing his vault called Shalimar, will be taking charge of diamonds worth ` 300 crore. The vault was designed by Manohar along with Tammy (Boman Irani). To avenge his father, Charlie along with Tammy and Jag (Sonu Sood) plan to steal the diamonds from the very same vault which now lies 150 feet below luxury hotel, Atlantis, The Palm, in Dubai.

    To successfully execute their plan, they hire Rohan (Vivaan Shah), a young hacker, and Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan). Nandu is a drunk who grew up in a chawl and needs money to pay for his mother’s surgery. Nandu looks exactly like Vicky, Grover’s son, and the only person who can open the vault with his fingerprint.

    The diamonds will be brought to the hotel on the day that the WDC (World Dance Championship) is held on Christmas Eve. Charlie plans to enter the hotel and get access to the premises by enrolling in the competition. The trouble is that none of them can dance and Charlie, on Nandu’s insistence, approaches bar dancer Mohini (Deepika Padukone) to teach them how to. Although Mohini agrees, she has no clue about their plan. How Charlie succeeds in his plan forms the crux of the story.

    Directorially, it would be understatement to say that Farah Khan impresses with her unique and larger-than-life canvas. As always, her vision is extraordinary and her ability to convey her vision on the silver screen is spectacular. The film has its heart in the right place and there are even some patriotic moments towards the climax. The way the team learns to dance under the supervision of various choreographers (including Prabhu Dheva) is hilarious. One must mention that while they are being trained to dance, the sequences are devoid of dialogue and everything is conveyed through expressions and actions. This is a musical piece presented beautifully on celluloid by Farah Khan!

    There are many scenes that stand out. For instance, the scene where Charlie picks his team and introduces each one of them; the scene where Charlie saves the little boy from the other team; and the scenes where Mohini and Charlie’s love angle is showcased. These scenes are beautifully captured in terms of how they keep the emotions flowing. The interaction between the Indiawaale team and the Korean team is hilarious. The comic undertones in many scenes are a charmer and the dialogue gels beautifully. Many of Shah Rukh Khan’s lines from his previous films are altered to suit the film’s premises and they do so very well. Background score lifts each. Cinematography by Manush Nandan is top-notch. Editing by Anand Subaya and Tushar Parekh is crisp. Music is another USP of Happy New Year.

    The performances in this film are a consistently high standard. The production values are absolutely top-notch. Indeed, the huge sets and dramatic visuals make for a perfect marriage of screenplay and locations. Costumes are beautiful. Adding to the film’s value are the actors and their honesty towards their respective characters. The characters have been well fleshed out and each actor looks the part. Special appearances by Anupam Kher, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Dadlani, Prabhu Dheva, Dino Morea, Sajid Khan, Sarah Jane Dias and Malaika Arora Khan add to the film.

    Performance-wise, Shah Rukh Khan, as always, paints his character beautifully with comedy, and maintains the right balance of emotions. He’s the soul of Happy New Year. Deepika Padukone’s conviction and confidence reflects in her portrayal of her character. She holds her own right from the first frame to the very last and is the conscious voice of the film. Abhishek Bachchan is OUTSTANDING. His comic timing and character depiction is flawless. Boman Irani plays his part endearingly and is excellent. Sonu Sood is first-rate. This is Sood’s best till date! Vivaan Shah brings out the silent-boy image effortlessnessly. Jackie Shroff excels. The rest of the cast supports well.

    Verdict: BLOCKBUSTER!!!!!


  5. Baba 7 years ago

    saw happy new year or should i say sat through it somehow. I must thank my friend who recommended me to not go to the theatres for this. Watching it on laptop in ff mode was a task in itself. It is TMK 2 for most of the part as was obvious from the trailer. a contender for the worst film of the year alongwith kick. first 30 mins is spent on introduction of characters with the lamest jokes that you will come across. boman irani is overacting. abhishek plays a dumb guy and does a poor imitation of amitabh from AAA. deepika has a stereotyped rakhi sawant like loud role and she is irritating. only srk is waht somewhat decent and he has acted the best among the cast.he is sort of saving grace of the film.though his first intro fight is horrible. slo mo camera focusing on his beggar-like abs , size zero waist and how water splashes mud from each of his nipples. its supposed to be heist film but most of the film is focussed on the dancing pratice when it shoudl have been practising the heist like it was in amitabhs aankhe.

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