Happy on the run / Happy Bhag Jayegi

This is the story of a girl called Happy. She is trying to escape a forced marriage, but by mistake finds herself in a house in Pakistan belonging to a young politician called Bilal. Happy tries to persuade Bilal to rid her of her unwanted husband and help her to re-unite with her true love Guddu. The romantic comedy, produced by Anand L. Rai, is very similar to his other two popular films Tanu Weas Manu and Tanu Weas Manu Returns.

2016 – 126 min – comedy, romance
language: Hindi
subtitles: Czech, English
directed by: Mudassar Aziz
cast: Diana Penty, Abhay Deol, Jimmy Shergill, Ali Fazal, Momal Sheikh

The plot of Happy Bhaag Jayegi combines two classic Bollywood conflicts but approaches them in a rather unorthodox way.

The first of the conflicts is characteristic for Western romantic films, too – adverse social circumstances and family’s disapproval get in the way of a genuine love being fulfilled. But while the Western films typically favour the personal desires of their heroes and heroines and support their rebellion against those who don’t wish them luck, classical Indian films tend to be more conservative and insist on the sacredness of family ties. Where the Western protagonists may resist and rebel against their families, Indian characters need to be much more diplomatic. In the famous romantic film Dilwala Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), a loving couple struggles for their parents’ blessings. In Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), one of the protagonists has a relationship with the women of his dreams and even leaves India but before the film comes to a satisfactory conclusion, he has to re-establish the severed family ties.

The other conflict is of political nature and specific to the Indian subcontinent: the antagonism between India and its western neighbour, Pakistan. Indian cinema ignored Pakistan for several decades but after 2000, a large number of nationalistic action movies was shot with Pakistanis playing similarly stereotypical villains as Russians did in American films during the Cold War.

Indian population is still very conservative and the main causes of tension between India and Pakistan have still not been resolved (on the contrary, the autumn of 2016 is marked by armed clashes in the disputed territory of Kashmir and an escalated political rhetoric), but the Bollywood films start to shift in terms of the values they hold.

In this respect, Happy Bhaag Jayegi is a good example which shows that the conservative adherence to traditions and the family’s will is not always the best way to go and that there could be friendship and cooperation and not just animosity between the citizens of India and Pakistan.

Trailer  Happy Bhag Jayegi