Mudassar Aziz’s Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi has set off in the opposite direction from his 2016 comedy Happy Bhag Jayegi, in which runaway bride Happy (Diana Penty) accidentally lands up in Pakistan while fleeing her nuptials.
Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi has China for a backdrop and new cast members, including Sonakshi Sinha, Punjabi singer Jassie Gill. Jimmy Sheirgill, Ali Fazal and Piyush Mishra return in the sequel, which has been produced by Aanand L Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions. “We did not want to lose the first film’s charm,” Aziz said a media event in Mumbai on Wednesday. “Our attempt was never to make the sequel bigger and expensive. We wanted to bring the story back to the audience with much more confidence.” The movie will be released on August 24.
The first film, which was also produced by Aanand L Rai, was praised for its madcap characters and performances. Rai said that he was looking forward to working with the same cast after the original’s success. “I expect double the dose of happiness from this film,” Rai said. “We were really happy when making the first movie. I was very sure about working with this team again, with these actors. If not for this sequel, a film would have been made with the same cast.”
The priority was to retain the 2016 production’s essence with honesty, Aziz declared. “When I went to Rai saab with the sequel’s idea, that was the only thing we were thinking about,” the director said. “A sequel comes from a filmmaker’s personal space. Sometimes, we have a feeling that there is something left to say. So we want to tell the story again. That is what happened with this film.”
The sequel has yet another runaway bride, who shares her name with Penty’s character and is played by Sonakshi Sinha. “The script was amazing,” Sinha said at the event. “I really wanted to work with Aanand [Rai] sir and Mudassar [Aziz] sir and his wonderful team. I had no reason to say no. There is a lot of humour even in places you do not expect.”
Like the original, the sequel is an ode to happiness, Aziz said. “I would often tell my cast that happiness is the one emotion in life that will run away if you do not cherish it,” he said. “That is what the title stands for. Both these characters are two remarkable representations of happiness.”
While Happy Bhag Jayegi used its Pakistan setting to mine cross-border comedy, the new production focuses on China, another of India’s neighbours. “We should all develop an appetite for humour through sarcasm,” Aziz said. “The relationship between the two countries is hot and cold. But that is exactly why we need to laugh at it. It gives us all the more reason to speak about the two cultures and certain border tensions that keep popping up now and then.”
Will Abhay Deol’s charming Pakistani politician Bilal Ahmed return for a second round? Aziz wouldn’t say. “The answer lies in the film. You will have to wait and watch.”