On 4 February, The Happy a short film that traces the journey of Par, an Indian-American who is from Texas and New Jersey released online. Par is accidentally mistaken for a spiritual guru, while he (ironically) is in LA for his own fulfilment. The film has been written, directed, produced and also stars Par Parekh. The short film is also a kind of teaser for an upcoming web series on the lovelorn and spiritually lost Par.
Par bumbles through an awkward conversation with his ex, and happens to catch hold of a wayward flyer that offers him salvation, in the form of a free hug. What unfolds next is what forms the rest of the film. A small error, leads Par into a situation that puts off his spiritual fulfilment.
Par finds himself at the residence of Astrid, an actress who is waiting for her Past Life Regression therapist, but finds a bearded Par at her door. Assuming that he is who she has been waiting for, she lets him in.
The film employs cleverly-chosen music and sound effects to convey the underlying absurdity of the entire situation. Anticipation, suspense, and surprise are all conveyed.
The Happy is a kind of parody of LA’s infamous fascination with rediscovery and spiritual enlightenment. In the film’s LA, absurd human tendencies to over-mystify just about everything and mankind’s tendencies to typecast just about everyone are depicted with humour.
Parekh says, “The Happy is a place that exists just left of actual Los Angeles. It’s a highly stylised version of a place we think we know—a caricatured city playing a character itself. Here, the ultimate goal isn’t to be happy, but to have your brand of The Happy™ be more authentic than everyone else’s.”
The film, and the series which it anchors, was inspired by Parekh’s initial move to LA and his subsequent discovery of the city. He said, “Angelenos from every walk of life seem to project onto me their hopes and dreams and seek from me spiritual enrichment, which is really pretty comical since I can barely figure out how to get to La Cienega, let alone Nirvana.”
The Happy had its theatrical premiere at SeriesFest in Denver 2019 and was screened at Austin Film Festival as part of the original series program. “I am so thankful to my nearly-all-female cast and crew for helping me bring my vision to life,” says Par. “I hope my film will make audiences laugh as the Par character ventures through LA’s bizarre subcultures, meeting people who are so eager to find happiness, they think that a lovable goof can put them on their path to #bliss.”