The film was released on Diwali, 24 October 2014 in three different languages: Hindi, Tamil and Telugu in around 5000 screens in India, the biggest release for a Hindi film in India. The film received negative reviews from critics, but was a commercial success and ranks among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences features the film's script in their library.
Chandramohan Manohar Sharma, better known as Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan), is a street fighter who has been yearning for revenge from Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff) for 8 years. Grover, with his rich and despicable mind, labeled Charlie's father, Manohar Sharma (Anupam Kher) as a thief because Charan had conned him into stealing his own Diamonds (he stole his own diamonds and framed Sharma for stealing them) priced at INR 100 crore ($15 million). Charlie finds out through the media that diamonds worth $300 crore will reach the Atlantis Hotel on Christmas Eve. He wants to steal the same diamonds and frame Grover. To accomplish this, he must assemble a dynamic team.
First in his team is Former Army Bomb Squad Captain Jagmohan Prakash, or Jag (Sonu Sood) who has a hearing deficiency which happened when he failed to defuse a bomb; he gets furious when someone insults his mother. Second on his team is Tehmton Irani, or Tammy, (Boman Irani) who is an overweight jogger and suffers from epileptic fits. It is also revealed that Tammy and Manohar were best friends. Third on the team is Rohan Singh (Vivaan Shah), a young hacker who Charlie believes can hack into Shalimar's computerized system. He is also Jag's nephew. After thoroughly researching about the vault, the team finds the main vault comprises a biometric lock (fingerprint lock). The problem is that only one person can access the vault at any time: Vicky Grover (Abhishek Bachchan), Charan's son. So they enlist the aid of a lookalike, Nandu Bhide (Abhishek Bachchan). Charlie describe his team as ek full time bewda (Nandu), ek sanki jadeya (Tammy), ek bhari banduk sipahi (Jag), ek badmaash bachcha (Rohan).
It is revealed that Tammy was immensely in love with the Shalimar vault and he is the only one to open the vault without the combination. The real Shalimar vault has a laser shield in front of the vault whose code combination is changed everyday. The team finds out a weakness that the Shalimar safe is in the Altantis hotel underground which is connected through an air duct system which is further connected to room 9C, a lounge room in Atlantis. Charlie then explains a problem, being that room 9C is booked for a team participating in the World Dance Championship (WDC), a dancing competition. The group refuses, but Charlie re-motivates the group, convincing them to become a dance team.
The real story is eventually revealed: Manohar was an engineer in vaults. He met Charan Grover, who was a dealer in African diamonds, gave him a contract to build an impenetrable vault. After the vault was completed, Charan drugged Manohar and conned him into stealing the diamonds by using his fingerprint. Desperate to win the competition, they employ many dance teachers, but to no avail. In desperation, Nandu introduces Charlie to Mohini Joshi (Deepika Padukone), who is a Marathi bar dancer. Although reluctant at first, Mohini decides to help them learn to dance, not knowing their true intentions. During this time, Charlie and Mohini grow very close.
They manage to qualify in the first round (by blackmailing the judges with evidence of their secret homosexual relationship) and eventually win the competition to represent Team India in the WDC (by having Rohan hack the machine that tallies the votes). Many people (including and especially Indians) despise them for their lack of dancing skill, but Charlie and his team (excluding the oblivious Mohini) are all only concerned with the heist.
In Dubai, the other competitors are especially hostile towards Team India, including Grover as he considers India a team of losers. During the first round, they are pitted against Team Korea, Charlie even fought with the Team Korea's captain at a very dangerous place. At the semi final, their performance is halted when Charlie saves a falling child of the rival, instantly gaining respect and admiration from the audience the world over as well as the other teams (including the grateful Team Korea). After going over the plan, everything is ready. The team eventually find out that the diamonds will arrive on New Year's Eve instead of Christmas which impedes the heist. Though Team Korea secure the last position in the semifinals, the judges, moved by Charlie's saving of Korea's dancer and their spirit, decide that Team India will compete in the finals as a Wild Card addition. Over the course of the weeks leading up to the finals, the members of Team India become beloved celebrities in the eyes of the public.
Mohini ends up hearing the whole story as to why they wanted revenge, angrily confronting Charlie and his false motivations of the competition. Charlie reveals a shocking secret that Manohar is not in jail but is actually dead. After Manohar was arrested, he appealed for a trial, but Grover bribed Manohar's lawyers and tampered with the evidence. The next day, it was shown that Manohar committed suicide by slitting his wrists with a razor. Charlie kept this a secret from the other members in order to keep from demoralising them. However, the team confides that this only makes their determination to avenge Manohar even stronger. Mohini reluctantly joins the team and helps them for the heist.
The night of the final round, the heist is set in motion. Mohini lures Vicky into an elevator, allowing a disguised Nandu and Jag to sedate him temporarily while Nandu takes his place. For the thumb print, Jag paints POP on his thumb, removes it and places it on Nandu's thumb matching the print. While Tammy cracks the vault combination, he suffers an epileptic fit, however they open in time. Everything seems to go very well until Charlie and Tammy find another safe inside made of glass which houses the diamonds and Vicky wakes up. Tammy realizes that Manohar built this safe and that the password should be known by Charlie. After a session of deep thinking, Charlie enters in the password (the password being "CHARLIE") Once successfully stealing the diamonds (and covering all of their tracks), the team boards a nearby boat, but Mohini refuses to come as she feels dedicated to protecting India's honor with the competition. Rohan eventually resolves to join her as well, leading to a fight amongst the remaining members over what they should do next.
Grover is horrified to find the diamonds stolen (with "Vicky's" opening of the door to the safe's room incriminating both him and Grover), but he soon pinpoints Team India as the thieves. When Team India is found missing, Grover claims that they must have left with the diamonds. As he watches Mohini perform, Jag, Tammy, Nandu and Rohan join in. During their performance, Charlie makes his unannounced appearance and eventually helps the team win the competition.
With any and all suspicions removed from the members of Team India, Charan and Vicky Grover are arrested, Charlie revealing himself as Manohar's son just as they are both dragged out of the hotel by police. Team India reach the airport and manage to bypass security. Charlie had camouflaged the diamonds as ice cubes in his cool drink, but the security guard disposes it. Later, during the flight Charlie reveals that he switched the fake diamonds on the trophy with the real diamonds in the drink. The film ends, with an epilogue, where Mohini opens a dance school in the end ("Mohini School of Dance") and Charlie proposes to her with a ring made of one of the diamonds.Shah Rukh Khan as Chandramohan Manohar Sharma a.k.a. Charlie
Deepika Padukone as Mohini Joshi
Abhishek Bachchan as Nandu Bhide/Vicky Grover (double role)
Sonu Sood as Captain Jagmohan Prakash (Jag)
Boman Irani as Temhton Irani (Tammy)
Vivaan Shah as Rohan Singh, Jag's Nephew
Jackie Shroff as Charan Grover
Varun Pruthi as Charan Grover's Assistant
Kavi Shastri as Mr. Gupta
Anupam Kher as Manohar Sharma (Charlie's Dad)
Daisy Irani as Tammy's mother (cameo)
Sarah-Jane Dias as Laila (cameo)
Dino Morea as host of World Dance Championship (cameo)
Kiku Sharda as Saroj Khan/(a dance choreographer)
Prabhu Deva as dance instructor (cameo)
Malaika Arora Khan as the heroine of a film (cameo)
Anurag Kashyap as himself/Judge of World Dance Championship Auditions (cameo)
Vishal Dadlani as himself/Judge of World Dance Championship Auditions (cameo)
Sajid Khan as director of a film (special appearance)
Jason Tham as Team Korea Leader
Plans for the film began way back in 2005 with an ensemble cast of Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone (in her film debut), Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Uday Chopra, Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Dutt, Raveena Tandon, Zayed Khan and Manisha Koirala. The film was shelved for unknown reasons and instead, Farah Khan made Om Shanti Om (2007) which featured Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. After her 2010 film Tees Maar Khan, Farah began to consider the possibilities of the film and screenwriting was completed by October 2012.
When the film was revived, the filmmakers wanted an established actress in the lead role opposite Khan. In December 2012, media reported that the makers had approached Priyanka Chopra for the part, who was their first choice for the film after the script was revamped. However, Chopra turned down the film due to dates issue; the schedule was clashing with another film she had signed. Later several actresses were considered for the part such as Sonakshi Sinha, Asin, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Parineeti Chopra and Katrina Kaif, however Deepika Padukone was finalized, making it her third film with Shah Rukh Khan after Om Shanti Om and Chennai Express (2013). Khan was reported to be playing the role of a con artist in the film which had Deepika in the role of a Marathi dancer. At a point, John Abraham was to play one of the supporting roles but Sonu Sood replaced him. Boman Irani was confirmed by the director during an interview. In August 2013, Jackie Shroff was finalised to play the film's antagonist. The director's brother Sajid Khan would be making a guest appearance while actress Malaika Arora Khan was also signed to appear in a cameo role. Vivaan Shah was reported to play the role of a computer hacker. Actor-director Prabhu Deva performed a dance in a cameo appearance for the film.
Farah made the official announcement of the film on Twitter. The first schedule of filming started in Dubai. Arabian Business reported that a major portion of the film will be shot in the prestigious Atlantis, The Palm. On 23 January 2014, Shah Rukh Khan was injured while shooting for the film at JW Marriott Hotel, Mumbai. Though reported as minor at first, he suffered a fractured shoulder and a torn left knee patella, being advised rest for a while. Mehboob Studios was used as one of the major locations while certain portions were also filmed near the Wilson College. The final schedule was completed in August 2014.
To promote the film, digitally personalized posters written in cast members' handwriting were made available to social media users.
The film's cast and crew, along with rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh and actress Madhuri Dixit travelled on a promotional tour titled "SLAM!". Starting from 19 September in Houston, it took place in New Jersey, Washington, Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver and San Jose. "SLAM!" also continued to United Kingdom on 5 October.
On 13 October 2014, an official game based on the movie, titled Happy New Year-The Game was released for Android and iOS. It was made in collaboration with the production company and Gameshastra India, an Indian game art outsourcing studio.
The worldwide distribution rights were sold to Yash Raj Films for ₹1.25 billion (US$19 million), the satellite rights were sold to Zee Network for ₹650 million (US$10 million) and the music rights to T-Series for ₹120 million (US$1.9 million), earning a total pre-release revenue of ₹2.02 billion (US$31 million).
The music of Happy New Year is composed by the duo of Vishal-Shekhar while the lyrics are penned by Irshad Kamil. The full soundtrack was launched on 15 September 2014. Prior to that, promotional music videos were released for "Indiawaale" and "Manwa Laage" on 2 and 9 September respectively. After the album was launched, promotional videos of the songs "Lovely", "Nonsense Ki Night" and "Satakli" were also released.
The soundtrack gained mostly positive reviews from music critics.
Kasmin Fernandes at The Times of India felt, "As a heist film centred round a dance competition, Happy New Year provides plenty of fodder for composers Vishal and Shekhar and lyricist Irshad Kamil to showcase their way with sounds. And they've delivered, with seven original tracks, one electronic version, a variation, a medley and an instrumental number." Rohit Vats for Hindustan Times gave the album 3 out of 5 stars stated, "Farah Khan looks more concerned about the feel of her film than the quality of the songs, and it prompts her to go with trendy tunes. Overall, the album is average and is only youth oriented. Acquiring longevity will be difficult for this album." For India.com, Prathamesh Jadhav wrote, "It's a mixed bag!" On the contrary critic Surabhi Redkar for Koimoi felt, "Happy New Year album is not as extravagant as the film looks. With an expectation of a Bollywood musical soundtrack, it comes down to a regular album of Vishal-Shekhar. Even though the album will be a hit with tracks such as Manwa Laage and Kamlee, it will not enjoy much longevity."
Happy New Year set a record by collecting 44.97 crores making it the first Bollywood film to reach the figure for a single day. The film witnessed a drop on Saturday when it earned ₹285 million (US$4.4 million) nett and collections on Sunday were in the same range, taking the opening weekend to a record ₹970 million (US$15 million) nett. The film grossed around ₹1.75 billion (US$27 million) in its first weekend worldwide, the second highest opening for a Hindi film after Dhoom 3.
The film grossed around ₹122.5 million (US$1.9 million) nett on its first Monday to take its total to ₹1.09 billion (US$17 million) in four days. It earned ₹110 million (US$1.7 million) nett on its first Tuesday as the film had a decent hold from Monday in a few circuits, taking its total to a huge ₹1.20 billion (US$19 million) nett in five days. Happy New Year grossed a huge ₹1.34 billion (US$21 million) nett in its first week. The film had a strong weekend and its all India collections were good on Monday and Tuesday but it fell on Wednesday. The huge first week gave the film a massive distributor share of ₹770 million (US$12 million) approx. The film grossed ₹2.45 billion (US$38 million) worldwide in its first week which was the fourth highest total ever behind Dhoom 3, Kick and Chennai Express. The Tamil and Telugu versions of the film grossed ₹11 million (US$170,000) nett and ₹26 million (US$410,000) nett respectively in first week.
Happy New Year had good collections on second Friday of around ₹45 million (US$700,000) nett. The film showed huge growth on its second Saturday and Sunday to gross around ₹67.5 million (US$1.1 million) nett and ₹92.5 million (US$1.4 million) nett respectively. Happy New Year grossed around ₹202.5 million (US$3.2 million) in second weekend to take its ten-day total to ₹1.54 billion (US$24 million) nett. The film grossed around ₹30 million (US$470,000) nett on second Monday, ₹40 million (US$620,000) nett on second Tuesday and ₹27.5 million (US$430,000) nett on second Wednesday. Happy New Year grossed around ₹353.8 million (US$5.5 million) nett in its second week to take its total to ₹1.685 billion (US$26 million) nett. It grossed around ₹45 million (US$700,000) nett over its third weekend to take its total to ₹1.73 billion (US$27 million) nett. Happy New Year grossed around ₹77.5 million (US$1.2 million) nett in week three taking its total to a little over ₹1.76 billion (US$27 million) nett.
Happy New Year grossed ₹15.6 million (US$240,000) nett in week four and ₹3.4 million (US$53,000) nett in week five taking its final total to ₹1.83 billion (US$29 million) nett. Box Office India declared Happy New Year a "Super Hit".
Happy New Year recorded the second highest overseas opening weekend of all time with figures of $8.1 million (INR 498 million). The film had an all-time record opening in the Gulf, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Germany. In the opening weekend, the film grossed $2.9 million (INR 178 million) in the Gulf, $2 million (INR 123 million) in US/Canada, £570,000 (INR 56 million) in United Kingdom, Aus$380,000 (INR 20.5 million) in Australia and $600,000 (INR 37 million, PKR 62 million) in Pakistan. Happy New Year took the all-time best ever opening for a Hindi film in Germany as it grossed $94,000 on its first day of release. Dhoom 3 had grossed $86,000 over the weekend and My Name Is Khan was $98,000 over the weekend. At the end of its theatrical run in overseas, the film earned $15 million It's one of the highest-grossing Indian films in overseas markets of all times
The film received negative reviews from critics in India and overseas. While the performances of the lead cast, particularly Bachchan and the humor content received praise, the lack of character development and the 'unoriginal' plot received criticism.
Saurabh Gupta of Indian Express rated the film 2 out of 5 stars calling it a "Mera Bharat Mahan sentiments" type movie, and a cross between an Ocean's 11/12 and "Flashdance". Rediff rated the film 2 out of 5 stars, and said "the film plays out like a spoof from the get go, a gigantic lark where nothing is taken seriously". NDTV also rated the film 2 out of 5 stars and said that irrespective of earnings at the box office, it "has nothing new to offer". Mihir Fadnavis of First Post said that, "the movie looks and feels like a home video project that was intended for appreciation by precisely two people in the entire universe – Farah and Shah Rukh Khan" and appears to be "Ocean's 11 rewritten by baboons". Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times gave the film 2.5 out of 5 stars taking on originality, said that "Originality? What's that, ask Farah Khan in Happy New Year".
Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters said that the film has liberally borrowed from Hollywood heist films, in particular from Steven Soderbergh's Ocean’s Eleven. "The first half is lighter and genuinely funny at times, but as the second half wears on, the proceedings become monotonous". Lisa Tsering of The Hollywood Reporter reviewed film as, "an ambitious musical, a love story and an Ocean's 11-style crime caper". Sami Qahar of the Dawn gave the film 2.5 out 5 stars and said the film is "Ocean’s Eleven plus Italian Job plus Step Up all in one…on cheap shape-deteriorating steroids."
Actors Shah Rukh Khan and Abhishek Bachchan hinted there might be a possible sequel of this film.
Bollywood film choreographer Saroj Khan reportedly got upset after being spoofed in the movie. Farah Khan denied having spoofed Saroj Khan. Farah had earlier allegedly spoofed Manoj Kumar in her 2007 film Om Shanti Om.
Jaya Bachchan described Happy New Year as a "nonsensical film" and she said, "I only watched it because Abhishek is in it. I told him he's a great actor if he can act stupid in front of the camera like that."