Film: “Housefull 3”; Directed by Sajid-Farhad; Starring: Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Jackie Shroff, Lisa Haydon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nargis Fakhri; Rating: *
Nothing prepares you for the assault on all aesthetic consideration in this mirthless, and worthless, comedy.
Nothing at all. Not even the opening when Nikitin Dheer, Samir Kochhar and Arav Chowdhary loot jewellery like they had just seen “Dhoom: 2” for the third time.
Besides Akshay Kumar battling bravely to beef up the burlesque, there is no one to salvage the comedy about three losers (yes that’s how they are described by their girl friends) eyeing a London Gujarati millionaire’s wealth. Or maybe ‘eyeing’ is not the right word considering Riteish Deshmukh plays blind to obtain entry into the Gujarati’s mansion and millions.
Later Riteish turns paraplegic (or apaahij, as he’s called in this blissfully improper comedy) while Akshay turns blind, Abhishek turns….well, let’s just say he tries to mock some other human disability. One being interchangeable with another.
Perhaps one disability that Indian cinema needs to address is the failure to be funny in lowbrow comedies. Mocking the disabled, ridiculing skin colour (one dark skinned child is described as “single-screen type”) and pervasively attacking good taste do not constitute the integral ingredients of comedy.
It gets worse when the purported humour chooses to get repetitive for no other reason except to keep the proceedings moving even after the plot has lost all its steam.
The second-half is dotted with unmistakable evidence of a writer’s block. The gags virtually come to a standstill while the writers figure out ways to keep the spirit of comedy from collapsing completely. So in one post-interval sequence all the characters speak in Gujarati for a while.
Standing at the centre of this mirthless mess is Akshay Kumar trying to infuse life into irremediably dead scenes. He is saddled with the task of playing a split personality, a psychological vanity that the script is ill equipped to handle. The “comedy” is much better off insulting every minority and majority group of people.
While Akshay and his two partners in crime Abhishek Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh manage to whip up a semblance of, shall we say, self-pleasuring in the chaos of conflicting interests, the three heroines vie for the honour of being the worst actresses.
Oh yes, Jacqueline, Lisa and Nargis playing three exceptionally stupid Londoners, get to dance to the vintage Cyndi Lauper track “Girls just wanna have fun”.
Devoid of all laughter, this is that one dreadful moment in the history of Bollywood comedies that we had hoped would never arrive, where even Akshay Kumar mouths double meaning dialogues about nothing ‘standing’ in his life.
By Subhash K. Jha