After a feast of Bollywood films that paint their leading ladies as paragons of virtue and perfection, there comes along Hasee Toh Phasee. It’s a story about Meeta (Parineeti Chopra), a pill-popping scientist with a mind-boggling IQ. Unlike the perfect Juhu Janes in Bollywood, she’s gawky, has quirks that include eating toothpaste and is a borderline kleptomaniac. When she’s tripping out on pills she tends to blink furiously and do weird things with her face. Nobody around her gets her so she runs away from home, triggering a heart attack in her dad. With that single stroke she reinstates her position as an incorrigible rebel in a rich Gujarati household. Then there’s Nikhil (Siddharth Malhotra), the dashing confused twenty-something who’s trying hard to keep his beautiful, doll-like fiancee happy.
So what happens when the two confused souls Meeta and Nikhil meet?
Naturally, sparks fly but the fire is doused even before it’s lit after he learns that Meeta happens to be his fiancee’s sister. Hasee Toh Phasee tries hard not to conform to the traditional Bollywood formula of overdramatic love stories. It’s a refreshing take on oddball couples. Chopra tries her best to make Meeta endearing. But she goes overboard with her goofy act. Of the two, it’s Malhotra who comes through with flying colours. Even while he’s doing something as dreadful as begging his future father-in-law for money you find yourself rooting for the underdog Nikhil. Will somebody please throw him a bone? While Hasee Toh Phasee is entertaining for the most part, some of it isn’t particularly realistic.
There’s a line that goes: “How do I explain to the world that I am now in love with a girl that I have known for seven days and not with the woman whom I have known for seven years.” Malhotra says it with conviction, but don’t be surprised if you are left asking that question too. For a romantic comedy to work the chemistry between the lead pair has to be perfect. While they do well in their individual roles, together their union doesn’t seem pre-destined.
However, full marks should be given to director Vinil Mathew for not reducing this film to an elaborate big fat Indian wedding spectacle. The background is a sunnier version of Monsoon Wedding (without vile uncles lurking of course), but Mathew does a good job of restraining the madness. Watch this if you want to see a love story with lovers that are not squeaky clean.