BOTTOM LINE: A Bland Marriage Comedy
Platform: YouTube- Zoom Studios
What Is the Story About?
From being opponents in an inter-school quiz competition in childhood to being two much-in-love souls ready to get married, Avni and Roneet Bagchi’s journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. And they aren’t done yet, trying to overcome every possible hurdle in organising a grand Punjabi wedding – handling fussy relatives, keeping the marriage within the stipulated budget and not letting the temperatures flare up amid all the chaos. Will their relationship take a toll in the process?
It’s only in recent years that audiences have appreciated the value of actors who can genuinely be funny on the screen. Happily Ever After’s cast is everything but for that. Naveen Kasturia and Harshita Gaur may be impressive actors in their own right, but they have zilch chemistry as a couple. There’s something incomplete when the two come together on the screen – it’s a mix of unimaginative screenwriting, underwhelming performances with little sense of timing. Shivankit Singh as Manny and Gurpreet Saini as Rishi don’t have much to do in their poorly established roles. Rajiv Khanna is annoying as the snooty uncle (I’m still not sure if that’s a compliment). Ramna Wadhawan remains an assuring figure amidst all the mediocrity that surrounds her.
Happily Ever After tries to be a Karan Johar-meets-Made in Heaven universe, but is neither as pop-corn worthy as the former nor as realistic as the latter. It has its heart in the right place though. The struggles of a couple in choosing between a simple and a grand wedding, handling budget constraints, bloated egos, pointless superstitions, the fluctuation in their equation during the coordination – the writing explores the society through the lens of marriage and makes the situations relatable at many levels. Yet, somewhere from being a good script to being executed for the small screen, the soul of Happily Ever After is lost.
Amid a marriage backdrop, the show is a melange of two traditions that Bollywood has forever loved to typecast – Punjabis and Bengalis. A major reason why Happily Ever After fails to create an emotional connect with a viewer is its disjointed narrative. The non-linear storytelling across different timelines invites more confusion to the show and doesn’t give the viewer enough time to bond and invest in the journey of the characters. The lines are extremely funny, yet the comic timing of the lead actors and the supporting cast comes a cropper.
Lots of unnecessary subplots contribute to the mess it eventually becomes. The sexuality of Roneet’s cousin, his commitment issues during a break (that the lead couple takes from their relationship), the aunt’s miserliness and supposedly unabashed approach to life and hook-ups, the tale of a widow who loses her husband at a young age, compound the ambiguity in the story. The series direly needed heartfelt moments where the couple had bonded – instead, it only focuses on their struggles. So, the show becomes more bitter than sweet.
The tone of the series too is inconsistent – perennially unsure if it wants to be slice-of-life or over-the-top and keeps alternating awkwardly. The forced brand placements are such a deterrent to the show’s flow – it’s annoying that the makers keep finding excuses to promote SBI’s convenient loans and Pond’s products in the middle of nowhere. Besides, the female protagonist throws so many tantrums that you wouldn’t want to see a happily-ever-after ending for the couple after all. That’s definitely not the vibe a couple’s journey towards their marriage should exude. The happiness for the viewer precisely is for the reason that the show has come to an end.
Music and Other Departments?
What is a show about a Punjabi wedding with dull music? There’s nothing remotely foot-tapping or enthusiastic about the background score and music bits by composer Gaurav Chatterji. The cinematography is one of the redeeming factors of Happily Ever After – it doesn’t let the show sink as fast it would have, thanks to the visual finesse. Key editing decisions by Vini N Raj could have gone a long way in making this mediocre show a memorable one – the choppy narrative only becomes a pain to watch. The writing is partly superb and partly amateurish. However, it’s with the execution where Happily Ever After falters the most.
A few relatable moments
Realistic portrayal of struggles prior to a marriage
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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