Most memories feel good because they are memories - time adds gloss to the past. The proof of that would be the percentage of people who are happy with their present. Including college students.
Happy Days is then, as its director confessed (though he might not use that specific word), a romanticised version of college life.
Will you like it?
Let's split that question into smaller, simpler questions. Did you make great friends in college? Did you win competitions in front of cheering crowds? Did you get to do important organizational stuff? Did you crack acads? Did you have girls with crushes on you? Did you land the one you wanted to? Did she stick to you?
If you can answer yes to even one of those questions, you are usually in a lucky minority. And you will most probably like Happy Days. It's a movie featuring and glorifying a bunch of kids for whom most answers to the questions above are yes.
And if you cannot answer yes to even one of those questions, well, hopefully you've accepted who you are. And remember, this is just a movie. Real world college truths for the majority are years of unrequited love and consequent self-esteem issues (the math: CBIT has about 15 girls for every 100 boys, with about, what, 5 really attractive ones each year, and a few hundred boys spanning all batches with crushes on them but doomed to watch in silent dignity as one smart guy gets lucky), average exam scores, stage fear, and lack of any special skills to excel in any extra-curricular activity.
Yes, they're all just like you and me. Let no movie convince you otherwise.
Then sit back and enjoy Happy Days with all the credulity you would bring to, oh, Spiderman
For, it is a well-made film. While perhaps not in the league of an Anand
or a Godavari
, it is well-written and has good characterizations - so even if it starts out looking like a film made to be put up on YouTube, and with plenty of college movie clichés, it slowly gets into its own, weaving interesting tales around its principal characters.
Happy Days takes you through the college days of 3 male and 3 female engineering students of CBIT, focusing mostly on crushes, courtships, fights over girls, romances and heartbreaks. It brings its slices of reality into college romance - the absolute fearlessness with which 17-year-old unscarred youngsters plunge into love, the unexpectedly incredible pain of break-ups, life in denial... Particularly acute is a scene where Tyson (Raahul) talks of the dreadful pain of imagining a loved one happily married to someone else, and kissing and making out with him.
For something that hits young people with more impact and devastating consequences than any known ailment, it's surprising how little society and the educational system do to equip people to anticipate and handle issues of love. Everyone has to find out the hard way. When a 20-year-old of Tyson's maturity and temperament has to sit and cry - and this happens outside the movies too - it's a failure of all people who know it can happen.
Happy Days is still no treatise on the dynamite called college romance, but it shows a little more depth, without giving commentary. Also, this script is not the best Kammula has produced. There are places where the behaviour of characters does not appear logical. Then, the film feels abridged considering that it spans 4 years - it seems to focus on some specific chunks in the years rather than follow them seamlessly, jumping from chunk to chunk. So it doesn't quite feel at the end like what you thought it would be when you entered the theater.
But that is looking for warts in a mostly fine effort. The performances cannot be faulted either, especially considering these are all tyros. Raahul as Tyson and Nikhil Siddhartha as Rajesh make those characters worth remembering. Kammula's lucky mascot Kamalinee Mukherjee makes a guest appearance.
Happy Days is also a free ad for CBIT, if it needed one - the brand equity certainly goes up. Kammula however stops short of adulation of his alma mater - indeed, that can backfire with all the other people he needs to watch the movie.
Happy Days is enjoyable for those with happy memories of college. If you have too many things you'd want to change about yourself if you had a chance to get back to college, perhaps you should stay away - this is a movie mostly about the successful ones (okay, Tyson is still a topper and a whiz, and Rajesh knows to go after what he wants and can talk up a storm).
For many current students who will watch this, that is a possibility that they will want to be different from tomorrow to look cool. Usually a bad idea. Again, who's gonna tell them?