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Happy Days November 11, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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It has turned out to be his biggest box office success till date but I consider Sekhar Kammula’s “Happy Days” to be his least accomplished work….which does not mean that it’s a bad film. It just didn’t strike a chord with me unlike his previous films.

Supposed to be a nostalgic look at the director’s own happy days at his alma mater CBIT, the plot is about a group of friends and the time they spend together during their 4 years of college. More specifically, one half the film deals with their first year and the interaction with their seniors while the other is about their heartaches and strained relationships. It is the first half which I found quite disappointing and that’s what gave me a less favorable impression of the movie as a whole. The complete handling of the juniors vs seniors thread (except for the senior guy falling for the junior girl angle) is very juvenile. All you have in it is a guy (the character Tyson) who concocts unbelievable stuff in his lab to trouble his seniors. This part really put me off. It was seriously unfunny and unrealistic to say the least…and especially coming from a director of Kammula’s stature. However, he is is in familiar territory when it comes to handling the interactions with his lead pairs. It does remind you of his previous films Anand and Godavari but nevertheless pleasant to watch.

What works most for this film is the fresh cast and the musical score. Sandesh and Tamanna stand out among the cast and the way they emote is excellent. I however had a hard time listening to Rahul (who plays Tyson) speak (but I must admit that in real life I have come across people who speak like that). Mickey J Meyer’s score is brilliant. It is an understatement to say that this film would have felt half as good without it.

One of the main reasons I could not appreciate this film as much as others have is because personally there was hardly anything I found here which I could relate to my own college life. I am sure others would have different perspectives and that’s probably why it is still running to packed houses even weeks after its release. On the whole, this is a film which has its moments and is definitely watchable but it would do good not to go and see this with high expectations.

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1. Sai - November 11, 2007

I agree with most of what you say. I had actually seen this film a couple of weeks back and wrote a partial review which says some of the same things. I will complete and post my review soon.

2. Sai - November 11, 2007

Happy days. A film revolving around the college experience pieced together with many incidents reminiscent of student life. Written and directed by Sekhar Kammula (Dollar Dreams, Anand, Godavari), the experience unfolds through the eyes of eight protagonists: Chandu (Varun Sandesh), Rajesh (Nikhil), Shankar (Vamsi Krishna), Tyson (Raahul), Madhu (Tamanna), Appu (Gayatri Rao), Sangeeta (Monali Chowdary) and Sravanthi (Sonia).

The young cast of debutants (except for Tamanna who has done a couple of films in the past) is well cast. Though some of the performances can seem raw at times, it goes without saying that the impact of this film wouldn’t have been the same with established faces. Even the small supporting parts add to the impact due to the casting of unknown young faces who just have to behave normally.

Chandu is the main protagonist of the film, the confident leader. Varun Sandesh who plays this character has a good screen presence and is the pick of the actors. The Tyson character is the one that touches the audience the most. The good thing about this character is the positivity. Even though there is scope to make him look heroic, Sekhar steers clear and makes him the good samaritan (a different sort of heroism). Raahul plays it well and his diction adds to the character. He is lovable and his eyes and smile reflect the positivity of the character that he plays. Rajesh gets to play to the galleries and he does fine, though there is scope for improvement. Vamsi Krishna plays the interesting character of Shankar. This role does not get much scope in the greater scheme of things but he does enough to make the audience dislike him without hating him.

Tamanna gets to play the simple yet beautiful girl that you wished you’d fallen in love with in college. She seems set for bigger films, if not better ones, as she looks beautiful and displays her ability to perform. Monali doesn’t get much to do while Gayatri is adequate as the tomboy Appu. Though she doesn’t get an author backed role, Sonia impresses as Sravanthi. Her character is important to the film and she behaves just right without overdoing it.

Sekhar tries his best to include all the major events in college life in his screenplay. As with his earlier films, the identifiability is the major strength of the film. The film has mix of realistic and humorous incidents. The scenes are garnished with lot of humor making this a very enjoyable film. As usual, Sekhar has also tried to incorporate a lot of small but relevant messages. It is hard to capture the complexities of college life in a feature film but Kammula does a commendable job of managing his characters. He has done this in the past with Dollar Dreams but he does miss something here. For the first time, he has to deal with gray characters and he shies away from providing reasons. The motivations of the Sangeeta character are never really revealed and I can’t seem to find logic either. The whole Kamalinee Mukherjee thread is extremely filmi and overdone with the love letters and dances. Something useful does come out of the thread but not enough to justify it. The cricket match was dealt with very amateurishly and the fat guy toilet humor could’ve been avoided. In another film, I could have laughed at these but more is expected from Sekhar, especially since most of the film feels real.

No description of this film would be complete without a mention of talented composer Mickey J Meyer. His splendid soundtrack is a major contributor to the success of this film. Meyer has provided impressive music in the past with low budget ventures Pothe Poni, 10th Class and Notebook (10th Class being his best prior work in my opinion). With this film he has gained mainstream exposure and hopefully, he gets bigger and better challenges in the future without falling into the rut of scoring mass numbers for the big heroes.

This film is aimed at the city audiences and they have loved this film. The identification factor is even more than Sekhar’s earlier films and that is enough for this film to succeed. Many in the audience are bound to remember themselves, their friends and similar incidents in college life.

I would rate this film lower than Kammula’s previous endeavors but this is an entertaining film that makes us reminisce college life. I can’t remember a telugu film that aptly depicted college life though there have been many that have used the backdrop.Though we have see a few hits like Desamuduru and Yamadonga, this is really the first good film that we’ve seen this year. Don’t miss it.. if you haven’t seen it already.

Parting Shot: I’ve been hoping that someone makes a film like this one about Indian graduate student life in the USA. There has been the disappointing Vennela in the past, which was way off the mark even though it pretended to try. Sekhar is probably the best one for the job and this film does have an opening for at least a couple of characters to continue in a sequel in the USA. I hope Sekhar can make that film.

3. vallabh - November 17, 2007

Kammula’s ability of making a movie realistic always impresses me, but his sense of humor sometimes doesn’t strike a chord with mine. As you guys said, a few comedy sequences (cricket match, Tyson’s experiments, fat guy toilet scene, etc) could be avoided or dealt better. I have seen girls and kids thoroughly enjoying those scenes though. Also, the ‘talking dog’ sequences in Godavari didn’t impress me much either, though it worked out well for many.

There are lot of goodies in this movie and I agree with all the those you guys mentioned. This movie is definitely worth watching. As I could relate a few scenes to my college life, this flick left me with a good feel when I walked out of the theater.

4. Gosay - January 14, 2008

I complete agree with Shujath, the movie is a great disappointment, i just couldn’t believe it was a work of shekar….. 😦

5. sanathsainathvarma - January 19, 2008

Ya I too agree that this film has been over rated. There are many finer elements which are ignored in this film. This film could have shot lot lot lot better.

Please check out the points that I’ve suggested for the film.

http://ayaskantam.wordpress.com/2007/12/23/happy-days-review-part-1/

6. Taras - March 6, 2008

There is a film called “Flavors”, directed by some telugu software-turned-pros…..a short film….but kind of more realistic….do check it out….it’s worth it….

7. Taras - March 6, 2008

oops!! forgot to mention…my post was in response to Sai’s question about a film on graduates in US

8. Sai - March 6, 2008

Thanks Taras!

I have seen Flavors and I loved it. Check out my review on the film.

Flavors is about Indians who have settled into their American lives.

What I would like to see is a movie about Indian graduate students. Their aspirations, issues with money, problems with professors, exposure to an alien culture, friendships where friends are more like family, betrayals, competition and more. There is so much that one can explore here. The film should provide an experience for those who haven’t been through this while also providing the identification and reminiscence for those who have.

9. pavithran - December 23, 2008

I accept that some of the scenes are done immaturely, which is quite agnaist what people expect in a sekhar kammula’s movie . The magic scenes and the fat senior scenes could have been avoided as a movie on engineers should not talk about stupidly sounding science fiction like a vapour emerging from test tube which shows who is in your heart .

What I observed is that the movie is made for a commercial success . we can see many commercial aspects incorporated in the movie to please all sections of audience though it dissapoints many sekhar kammula’s fans in one manner .

Coming to the story part of a engineering college life its pictured ideally to please the viewers . As I blogged at
http://pavithran.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/happy-days-an-ideal-movie/

But the plus points being senior junior issues , love stories , freshers,farewell & technical events are quite nostalgic not to say about the actors who suited their roles.The time when it was released was also good keeping in mind the no of engineering colleges and lack of a proper movies sorrounding their lifes . Vennela was one bad potrayal of life in MS . Luckily Happy days was more sensible. Hence the movie was a big hit .

10. sekharkammula - December 23, 2008

Sekhar Kammula admits to press that he sugar coated Happy days to make it commercially viable !!
http://www.hindu.com/mp/2008/11/04/stories/2008110450020100.htm

11. bharath - March 15, 2009

your movie is natural.i saw this movie before a couple of months.songs also excellent.


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