Hasee Toh Phasee is the story of Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra) who has been dating Karishma (Adah Sharma) for the last seven years. But on the eve of their wedding Karishma’s estranged sister Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) turns up, and while they spend time together over the next seven days, the feelings that blossom between Nikhil and Meeta become impossible to ignore.
I feel like the marketing for this movie, the trailer and the posters (which, by the way, have got to be the fugliest movie posters I have ever seen), made it seem zany and slapsticky, when in fact it is not. Hasee Toh Phasee is quirky to be sure, both Nikhil’s and Meeta’s families have their fair share of eccentrics, and there were several moments that made me laugh out loud. But in general I found it to be a more subdued comedy, with some parts that were genuinely sad, which seems to be an emerging trend in Bollywood, since in tone it reminded me of Shuddh Desi Romance and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana. The romance works quite well, though, as Sidharth and Parineeti have great chemistry (certainly better than his chemistry with Alia Bhatt in Student of the Year, although perhaps still not as good as his chemistry with Varun Dhawan).
My one problem with Hasee Toh Phasee was the use of prescription drugs as an excuse for Meeta’s behaviour. Anxious about reuniting with her family, Meeta self-medicates with a cocktail of pills that cause her behaviour to be extremely, and unrealistically, bizarre. Once again, a Bollywood movie has aimed for a quirky heroine but has ended up hitting “special ed” instead. And it’s so unnecessary. A person can be nerdy, and weird, and socially awkward, and twitchy, and have mild anxiety-induced kleptomania, without drug use as an excuse for that behaviour. Similarly, I felt very frustrated when Nikhil basically scolds Meeta for taking SSRIs. That’s not how antidepressants work, dude.
Despite this complaint, my overall impression of Hasee Toh Phasee is positive. It’s quirky and funny but also subdued and kind of sad. And it’s romantic. It’s a strong second film for Sidharth Malhotra, and continues Parineeti Chopra’s run of excellent performances.