Synopsis – A set of three brothers are due to marry a set of three sisters, until one of the brothers starts to realize that they are all reincarnations from 600 years earlier and the wrong couples are about to get married.
My Take – Unlike most who care to admit, I really do enjoy mad cap comedies. For me personally, they work like a perfect recipe at the end of a long stressful week, and a welcome to the minute weekend, with a good dose of guffaw at the series of non-nonsensical and bizarre sequences taking up the screen-time.
In Bollywood, the Housefull series, which started back in 2010 with a definition of being a 150 minute onslaught of mindless comedy, leads this charge. To all the naysayers out there, after three installments in the last nine years, has there been any point in expecting logic, sincerity, and political correctness, from these films? No? Because they remain dumb as hell. While the story and the cast, with the exception of Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Chunky Pandey, has changed over time, there’s one thing that has remained constant, they remain outrageously entertaining.
This latest installment too sticks to the template of mounting a comedy of errors on a flimsy premise, which is held together by a series of unending gags, and slapstick humor.
Yes, in comparison to its predecessors, the hackneyed jokes gets to you after a point especially if you went in looking for something more sophisticated, and has made itself quite easily open to pick out faults in its writing, direction and acting. But in the end hasn’t this series always been about over-the-top comedy, loud punchlines and colorful montages, because this Farhad Samji-directed film has been themed as a reincarnation comedy, and how can one expect anything revolutionary cinematic in that?
While as a fan of the series, I was a comparatively disappointed, nevertheless I can’t deny how this random assemblage of actors somehow managed to creates moments for laughter with their baloney antics and banter.
The story follows Harry (Akshay Kumar), a hairdresser, who runs a salon in London, with his two brothers Max (Bobby Deol) and Roy (Riteish Deshmukh). However, due to an incident caused as a result of Harry’s short-term memory loss, the brothers are deep in debt with a local gangster. With time running out to pay themselves out of the trouble, the trio hatch a plan to get married to Kriti (Kriti Sanon), Pooja (Pooja Hegde) and Neha (Kriti Kharbanda), the three pretty daughters of Thakral (Ranjeet), a wealthy businessman.
Once the grooms are approved, their tipple destination wedding as fate has planned, leads them to Sitamgarh in India, a place no one has heard of before. But from the moment of their arrival, Harry begins to feel a strong resonance with the place, of a life he has previously lived before the same place back in 1419, as Prince Bala Dev Singh.
A connection immediately confirmed by the hotel’s bellboy, Aakhri Pasta (Chunky Pandey), who too in his previous life served the evil prince. Upon remembering the whole sequence of events which took place earlier, he immediately realizes that he and his brothers are marrying the wrong sisters, and sets out to course correct their current life events, with the only fear in his mind, that the evil King Gama (Rana Daggubati), might also return to complete his 600 year old unfinished business.
First things first, the film is a very ambitious film, ambitious in scale, in treatment and in the sheer grandiosity that the film exudes. The comedy here is serious business. It is woven around sets and costumes inspired by very successful epics like Bajirao Mastani and Baahubali. And it is all rounded up in a set of endless and mindless confusions that are hilarious and meant to be enjoyed as such. It’s all just mad and the silliness quotient very high.
Also, what is this series without running gags? There is one involving Riteish Deshmukh and his effeminate characteristics, Akshay Kumar being the butt of all harm, a long speech confusingly explained, and of course, Akhri Pasta going ‘Mamma Mia’. However, the graph of the film falls considerably in the second half, with many redundant scenes and sequences, were most of the intended humor falls flat.
Although the lengthy film boasts of six screenwriters most of the escapades seem to have been thought out on the sets, with the dialogues seem improvised and do not shy away from taking digs at various venerated institutions. But the mood of defiance smacks of immaturity.
It has come to an understanding that when it comes to these kinds of comedies, you cannot simply expect logic and practicality to integrate, as that’s a spoiler in itself. Even if there are some really silly, stupid and overboard sexist jokes, which is a bit of a turn off in itself, you wouldn’t really be surprised, as after all, it comes from the Housefull franchise.
Yet, one of the most important factor of the financial success of the series remains in the hands of Akshay Kumar and his comedy timing. Akshay, here, once again displays his timing in punchlines, and is terrific in both roles. He is at his A-game here and leaves no room for complaints. He is charming, funny, and honestly carries the entire film.
Following him closely is another series constant, Riteish Deshmukh, who once again delivers. While Bobby Deol gets to flex his muscles, he hardly has anything else to do here. Nawazuddin Siddique, as Ramsay Baba is forcefully plunged into the screenplay, and does not have any impact or long-lasting value to the whole film.
The ladies too, Kriti Sanon, Kriti Kharbanda and Pooja Hegde, who despite looking drop dead gorgeous, don’t have a lot to do, which is hardly shocking given the trend. The same goes for Rana Daggubatti and Sharad Kelkar, who hardly get any room to register. Nevertheless, Chunky Panday, Johnny Lever and yesteryear actor Ranjith add on to the laughs. On the whole, ‘Housefull 4’ is an outrageous comedy which had the potential to be a lot better, yet serves anyone looking for sheer craziness, and madness.
Directed – Farhad Samji
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 145 minutes