First up, this is not a movie review. Well, not exactly. This piece is more about a role reversal we are witnessing in Bollywood movies. I saw ‘Hasee to Phasee’, starring Parineeti Chopra and Siddharth Malhotra, directed by Vinil Mathews. Here is the set up. Boy meets girl. Boy ends up marrying the girl’s nerdy sister. Yep, that’s it. According to a newspaper the movie is about science meeting sanskaar. That too.
Let’s first silence the critique in me to savor the best later. The title 'Hasee to Phasee' should in fact be 'Hasa to Phasa'. Stay with me and I will tell you why towards the end. The movie has several moments of displaced logic. Like why does Parineeti steal and lick toothpaste? If she can buy air tickets to China, she can surely buy tooth paste to silence her hunger pangs. Moreover, do depressed people steal clips, chocolates etc? I know logic is not Karan Johar’s forte, but I was counting on Anurag Kashyap who has co-produced the movie.
Since the movie is being touted as a rom-com, funny moments abound. As it happens, some gags click (Inspector Pradyuman and Daya act) but some fall flat (Anu Malick parody). It may be an age thing, but I am unable to digest all this running away from the marriage before the D-day. I doubt if today’s youngsters are so fickle. Plus the moth- eaten climax of running away in bridal attire has been done to death. This time around, it is not the bride but the groom who runs away.
Let’s talk about the positives.
The throbbing heart of the movie lies in a pleasant role reversal. First, Parineeti is not your quintessential heroine. She does all the guy things like hacking a computer, charging a car battery and brandishing no-nonsense advice. Parineeti is sassy but not a simpering siren. She doesn’t even turn into one towards the end like Deepika in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. Unlike a conservative Deepika who was safe in her cocoon, Parineeti is a live-wire living on the edge. Even when the credits begin to roll, Parineeti is off to solve some legal hassles on foreign shores.
Parineeti is, we are told, a Chemical Engineer from Delhi IIT. So technically, the heroine has more grey cells than the hero who is a struggling event manager with weird business ideas. Second, in the mainstream images, you seldom see a hero, who tugs your heart strings. Sidharth is a caring emotional guy who tries to please everyone in the movie. It is endearing when he manages to bring Parineeti’s father out in the balcony so that she can catch a glimpse of her estranged father. When Parineeti asks him to break away from her own sister, he says, "It is not easy for me to break up. I am an emotional guy." Essentially,Sidharth Malhotra is here to stay – with or without his shirt.
Significantly, it is the heroine who unabashedly proposes and looks at Sidharth with puppy eyes. In one scene Sidharth is visibly uncomfortable with all the staring and asks her to look away. Clearly, ‘Hasa to Phasa’ and not ‘Hasee to Phasee’. Regardless, it is a simple sweet movie which displays refreshing role reversal.
I am not judging whether this role reversal is good or bad. You decide. All I am saying is that young directors are attacking stereotypes. What is heartening is that Bollywood is presenting deviations in such a palatable way that you gulp them without realizing what you ate. This candy floss is not pure sugar. It has nuts. And for this reason alone this movie should be applauded.