Happy New Year: Making Sense of Nonsense!

Happy New Year - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

Kids laugh 300 times a day. Adults laugh only 5 times a day!

There is no scientific data to prove it, but everyone seems to believe the above numbers. Kids indeed laugh a lot, are happier and seem to have more fun than us adults. Thanks to the pressures of growing up, we often end up losing the kid inside us.

The reason I speak about kids and adults in this post is because I find it very amusing to see the extreme reactions to the latest Farah Khan movie Happy New Year.

Happy New Year seems to invoke a strange phenomenon - a battle between the kid and the adult within us.

By now, I am assuming you already know who you are – the one who laughed out loud while enjoying the movie, or the one who laughed reading the spoofs and reviews of critics who trashed this movie. One is the kid inside you reacting, and the other is the adult.

Through this post I would like to explore this phenomenon further. It will probably help explain why I like this film and why you might not necessarily be on the same plane as me. So here it goes, let me know what you think…

I have made no bones about it and have been tweeting constantly about how much fun I had while watching Happy New Year. In fact I wasn't the only one; the entire auditorium was in splits. The colors, the stars, the dance, the music, everything on screen was larger than life, vibrant, happy and joyful - Happy New Year invoked the kid inside me.

The primary reason why I felt that way is linked to a phenomenon called suspension of disbelief.

This is a concept where no matter how unreal the happenings on screen are; for the sake of entertainment the viewer tends to believe what he sees on screen is real. Magic tricks, works of fiction and movies are a part of the same process. This is what makes us believe that Batman and Superman exist when we see them on screen.

Suspension of disbelief helps us become kids once again - bringing in innocence, wonder, joy and gay abandon out of seemingly illogical and stupid things!

When it comes to the universe of movies, there are certain limits we set for this suspension of disbelief based on what we already know about the movie or the filmmaker. That is where the adult in us kicks in.

What we expect from a Farah Khan movie is very different from what we expect from a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie or a Ram Gopal Varma movie. They are all set in different kinds of realities and hence our yardsticks to judge those movies change accordingly. That also explains our inherent positive bias towards some dumb Hollywood blockbusters.

And true to form Farah Khan delivered what she promised in Happy New Year - a mad cap, fun, nonsense entertainer - nothing less, nothing more, all within her range of disbelief.

It is not her fault if some people went in expecting to see an Ocean’s Eleven which belongs to an entirely different genre. It is a flawed assumption by the viewers and a problem entirely created by their own will; making them feel like baboons and idiots.

Most film critics seem to have fallen into this trap. Their levels of suspension of disbelief are in stark contrast to what a majority of the audience seems to be willing to give this movie.

To be fair, one of the most complex genres to handle is comedy. And the way Farah Khan manages to exploit the audio visual medium to maximum extent is quite commendable. Be it the way she infuses the character of Abhishek Bachchan in a setup inspired by the movie Don, or the subtitles ‘Aa Dekhe Zara Kisme Hai Kitna Dum’ when the Korean team starts their dance routine, the seven minute speech, or the opening notes of the song Kung Ku Fighting that begin much before the rooftop fight picks up steam – everything is laced with a terrific undercurrent of humor.

One needs to connect the dots to make sense of what’s happening on screen. I have said this in my earlier post about Chennai Express too - one needs to use their brains to enjoy such madcap movies and not leave them at home. Happy New Year belongs to the same category.

The ones complaining the most are sadly the lazy ones who refused to use their grey cells.

Leaving suspension of disbelief aside. I think there is another factor at play here. The negative folks, they fall under three typical categories:
  1. Those who watched the movie, laughed their guts out, but are unwilling to accept and acknowledge that fact
  2. Those who watched the movie, stubbornly refused to laugh, like grumpy kids in the park
  3. Those who havent watched the movie at all and are going by what the above two people are saying, be it online or offline

Case 1 and 2 are purely people who are kids at heart pretending to act like adults with a capacity for only 5 laughs, and the third category, well..what can I say about them...I just pity them for blindly believing what 1 and 2 are saying.

Anyways, give it a serious thought once again and try to figure out which category you belong to. When it concerns this movie, I for sure am a kid who would like to suspend all sorts of disbelief for a few hours of terrific rib tickling entertainment.

I don’t care if the movie hits 300 crores at the box office or not, but I sure had my share of 300 laughs while watching the movie.

Rest I leave to your good senses.


Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

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  1. Bullshit. Ghatiya article. You are trying to defend a crappy film with useless theories which are quite stupid themselves.

  2. I'm a Shahrukh Khan fan who got disappointed with his last two films. I didn't like the film but I didn't yet comment on the tastes of the people who liked it, many critics might have done that too. But you just targeted whole the people who didn't like the film. How could you do so? WHo are you to put us in one of the 3 categories mentioned?

    And please do mention your scale of "Suspension of Disbelief" for every Sajid Khan, Rohit Shetty. Please vary your suspension of disbelief for every bollywood film, let the quality of indian films go down. Hail Entertainment in the name of pointless writings.

    How illogical is it ask a viewer, "hey, its a farah khan film, please switch of your brains completely, I mean forgive logics completely"

    And in the comment below someone has commented about the article, how illogical is it to reply him that "are you a salman khan fan?" Of Course they might like what salman khan is doing so equally as I hate him(salman) but whats your point in calling him so?

  3. Hero requires to do all sort of genres... Only to reach every fan with different tastes of genres.
    It is impossible to do a movie like mnik every time.

    As srk said in a conference,the movies in the past were said good if they got screened in most number of theaters for most number of day.But,now,even if a movie is praised by everyone the end result is different, that was the matter with haider.

    I'm a proud fan of #srk because he has done almost all type of genres. Reason for #srk doing CE was because of collections. Everyone is so obsessed with collections that they are forgetting to enjoy the film. collections are meant for trade people.

    Scenes from Farah khan's movies are illogical and I agree but you cannot say that every other movie is perfect logical. Even in dhoom3 there were illogical scenes and stunts. If a movie without genre of comedy can have such brainless shits, why can't a movie comedy in its genre have such scenes?

    Problem now is that the REVIEWERS are forgetting to notice the type of genre that they are going to watch. I fan proudly say that #HNY is one of the best movies with a comedy genre. Please,for God's sake notice the genre and then review it keeping its genre in mind. You can't expect a khnh out of every CE or HNY.

  4. Obviously a fan post !!! That aside, some queries on your valiant effort to convince that there is something wrong with those who did not enjoy HNY.

    1. Your stats of 300 & 5 laughs ( assuming true) doesn't make a distinction that the laughs have to come from a particular variety you root for. What if I read the Vigil idiot review & had 300 laughs? Would that make me a kid or adult? You conveniently imply that those who had 300 laughs at HNY are truly kids @ heart & others aren't. Why?
    2. Suspension of disbelief - This is not something that is forced by the viewer upon himself. The onus of making a viewer suspend his disbelief is on the makers/performers to do such a good job, that viewer gets so engrossed that he suspends his disbelief. It is a result of how well made the product is. Superman/Batman movies too...if they are not made well ( even if played by George Clooney) will fall flat.
    3. So you say Farah Khan gave what she promised & go on to fault some viewers that they were expecting Oceans 11. Why were those viewers expecting that? Trailers/ premise, similarities......so I guess Farah did present the characters in a way that made the viewers have that impression. Obviously, none of the viewers randomly decided to think of HNY as O-11. I mean why not then assume like Transformers or Basic Instinct?
    4. You just have 3 categories of "negative people" I believe in your world, a 4th category of people like me don't exist - positive people who did not like HNY? I gave it a serious thought as you asked & my good sense tells me I belong to the 4th category, who had their 300 laughs from critical reviews that thrashed the film.

    Cheers !!!

  5. “Obviously a fan post!!!” <-- These opening words are enough for me to skip the rest of what you have written, but I will leave that aside since you have taken the effort to post a meaningful comment. Here are my replies.

    Point 1: The source for 300 laughs or more can be from anywhere, we are speaking here only in the context of the 3 hours one spends as an audience in the theater watching HNY. Also I don’t expect you to watch this movie every day to get your 300 laughs, there is life elsewhere too, right.

    Point 2: This is a good one, but it is impractical if one goes into a Chinese restaurant and expects a masala dosa, or for that matter since you mention Vigil Idiot, consider this – wouldn't it be foolish if someone goes there and comments “this guy doesn't even know how to draw...look at these stick figures, how lame,
    haha!!!” That is what is happening to HNY. Judge it based on what it is, not what you imagine it to be.

    Point 3: Hmmm!!! Seriously!!! Even after Farah Khan introduced each of the characters in the promos in such great detail exposing their eccentricities, right from Nandu Bhide Iss Speaking Inglish to Monica’s concept of dance as an AAAART, you still expected a slick Hollywood film. I am sorry, that’s plain dumbness.

    Point 4: The three categories I mention are for the negative people, not a positive guy like you who didn't like the film because of genuine mismatch in suspension of disbelief…and that happens to me a lot too, for instance I didn't like Jab Tak
    Hai Jaan, Dhoom 3, Kick and Bang Bang because my range of disbelief didn't match what the films had to offer. Wrt 300 laughs reading sarcastic reviews; you are entitled to get them from anywhere, who am I to stop you. Well, I am also assuming that you have watched the movie, else you would belong to category three.

    In summary…thanks for your comment, it helped me explain few
    more points that I could not through my blog post. Cheers!!!

  6. Why Salman Khan ???
    Disappointed to see you bring him up in this matter. They both are very successfull person in their own way, and have their own loyal fans and so dont hurt feelings of their fan. Just like you are fan of SRK as we all reader agrees, and somehow i also feels that although you say you like Salman khan but its false claims by you, atleast that what i feels, else you would not have brought him up in this comment. Just think about it as a neutral fan. No offence.

  7. Hmm ...Maybe I should have written " Let me guess,......SRK fan?" would have worked better? Little touchy aren't we to any critical ribbing ( be it HNY or the post?:P)

    As to the rebuttals, in my opinion all of them are "non sequiturs" ..... I will leave it at that.

  8. Hey Kenit, was just pulling King's legs, I know who he is, just as I know who you are too :)

  9. Nice write up... I really enjoyed Happy New year...for me it was a hugely colourful entertainer


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