Mayank Shekhar's Review: Housefull

By Hindustan Times

Film: Housefull
Director: Sajid Khan
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Lara Dutta, Deepika Padukone, Jiah Khan
Rating: **

Whether or not you watch this pic, you’ve certainly watched its promos. Akshay Kumar slams into a slapping match with a monkey. A growling tiger parks himself on a couch of a living room. And the track Apni To Jaise Taise plays at a discotheque for a background score.

This is the magnet, which attracted that many bums to cinema seats on a packed first-day first-show of this film. The first gag reprises a scene from the Ben Stiller comedy A Night At A Museum. The second one is an obvious impression from Hangover. Both elicited roars at the theatre. The hit song is a Kalyanji-Anandji number, remixed, from Lawaaris.

I suppose filmmaking is also a culinary art of marinating spices and scenes together. The purpose appears served.

Kumar, the hero (animatedly usual, top-form) plays someone cursed with 'panvati' or pre-destined bad luck. They call him a loser instead for some reason. His presence makes for poor fortune everywhere. Casino owners love him for the bad omen he brings to customers at the tables. This premise -- quick jokes for almost half the film, and done away with later -- is a fairly common one in Bollywood (Bad Luck Govind is a recent film that comes to mind; Kismet Connection, being a more mainstream instance). The story is credited to producer Sajid Nadiadwala. Next to his precious previous, Kambakht Ishq, this is certainly Citizen Kane!

The jobless hero’s first marriage doesn’t last beyond a night. The girl (Jiah Khan) leaves him for her original love. His second wedding involves faking his wealth to keep the girl’s (Deepika Padukone) brother (Arjun Rampal) satisfied. His buddy (Riteish Deshmukh) with his wife (Lara Dutta) bums around by the side. It’s hard to figure the shindig out. I’m not sure you’ll care. I’m certain the filmmakers don’t.

Merely a gag-order is in motion here: one shaggy dog story follows another; sometimes related, many a times not. Boman Irani’s native Gujarati dad does the Kantaben gay-gag from Kal Ho Naa Ho; Chunky Pandey’s Aakhri Pasta pushes forward the Italiano ‘Al Kamino’ vignette from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Some make sense, many don't. Few are borrowed; fewer still don’t fit in.

Laughter is the subject; a laugh, being a subjective thing, of course. So, laughing gas is forced into the climax. Canned laughter should elicit even more collective laughs. You want to pause for breath. Your brains deserve a break.

Khan, the director (Heyy Baby) starts this gig off, paying homage to filmmakers, from Manmohan Desai to Hrishikesh Mukherjee, with K Raghavendra Rao (Himmatwala) thrown somewhere in between. The admission appears a bit full of itself.

Piyadarshan attempts such a movie every other weekend. Akshay Kumar stars in most of them. He top-lines similar stuff from many other directors as well. Govinda, at one point, did the same, with David Dhawan. Kumar’s Welcome was a super-hit. Even De Dana Dan, I hear, did reasonably well. Singh Is King seemed better.

What more can you suggest for a movie called Housefull. Like the magazine Hustler, or the cream Fair And Lovely, the unsubtle intentions are in the title alone. Just wait and match the crores that will be flashed on its posters, weekend onwards. Nothing exceeds like commercial success, I guess. Surely they weren’t looking for any critical acclaim here. Fair enough then.

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