The thing about a Farah Khan movie is that it unapologetically and unabashedly carries high the flag of the cinema of nonsense. The sole raison d’être for her movies, and those of her brother Sajid Khan is to entertain – and that too the masses, not the discerning viewer who values his sensibilities more than a trip to la-la land. It’s perhaps no wonder then that her movies do well, playing to the galleries as they do.
179 minutes of a Farah Khan movie is well beyond my tolerance level especially when despite huge openings, it has been thrashed to bits unanimously by all reviews. But when your 9year old implores you to take him to this nonsense fest, you succumb. So it was that I landed in the theatre, armed with all resources at my disposal to survive the 3 hour ordeal – two smart phones (just in case one battery drained and left me high and dry as smart phones often do), a strip of disprins and an unlimited supply of coffees and popcorn. That the show started half an hour late, didn’t exactly help matters. Yet, surprisingly, I survived and here’s I’ll tell you how.
The trick is to go with abysmally low expectations and arm yourself with all the resources at your disposal- smart phones, food, and medicine. If you are the sadistic kind who finds being miserable alone beyond tolerance, carry your friends. Misery, you see, loves miserable company. If not friends, at least drag your spouse along- this has to be “THE” acid test of his/her devotion to you- if your marriage can survive this, believe me you’ll survive a lot. And finally, contrary to what you may have thought all along, the focus of your attention cannot be the movie. If you err here, you are doomed my friend. Focus on your child cackling away happily at all the inanities; on the crowd whistling at SRK’s abs ( how the hell does SRK do that at his age?); on the AC that is too cold or too hot- in short, on anything other than what is happening in front of you on the screen.
So it was that I survived “Happy New Year”. When asked how the movie was, I happily chirped “not too bad”. Only when more probing questions came- either from the spouse whom I had spared the ordeal (can’t put my marriage through such “agni pareekshas”) or the excited child- “Wasn’t that guy/scene just so funny mom?” I realised that I really had no clue as to what had transpired in those fateful 179 minutes. I remember that here was a plethora of everything – revenge, heist, love, melodrama, slapstick comedy, music ( or noise perhaps), dance, patriotism, digs at everyone and everything etc etc- everything except one essential element- a coherent, gripping narrative. The actors do manage to somehow pull it off though but not without making you wonder if this is what Wordsworth had in mind when he talked of “willing suspension of disbelief”. Except that here it requires more than a suspension of disbelief- it asks for a suspension of all rational, logical faculties of the mind. And no, there is absolutely no method to this madness or any way to get around it and you better not look for one. Then and only then, my dear, can you come out dancing the way I did- to the tune of “I’m feeling alright, ‘cos it’s a nonsense ki night”.