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LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION! Welcome to the review-blog of an Indian pichchar aficionado!

Housefull


Rating: 4/5

It wasn’t ‘Housefull’ really at the theater on Friday release night, so my initial expectations from the movie went pretty low. The movie started rolling and it had a plethora of lame jokes, Hawasfull here and there, and my expectations went down another couple notches at least. Having a very good feel for such movies, I let my brain slip from my knee into my shoe. Thirty minutes into the movie, what do you know! I took to the humor which seemed bland at first, but it eventually began to make more and more sense. End of the movie, my cheeks hurt. I re-realized that not all Bollywood movies are made with a purpose of telling a story. Flaws in the story, technical errors and any other such are perfectly acceptable. Why? Because the sole purpose of such flicks is to humour the audience.  As long as they have a good laugh, and can laugh each time they’re reminded of those jokes, the movie has achieved its purpose. First and last rule: Do not question abnormalities of any type. Are we good? Now read further.

PLOT:
The entire film is a comedy of errors (intended, unintended and technical). Aarush (Akshay Kumar) who considers himself a panauti (bad omen) lands in London for relief. Through his close friends’ Bob (Riteish Deshmukh) and Hetal (Lara Dutta) , a married couple working odd-jobs at a casino, Aarush lands temporary good luck by getting married to the rich, casino-owner’s supposedly domesticated daughter, Devika (Jiah Khan) who elopes on the honeymoon night, to spend time with her phirang boyfriend, wearing bikinis on the same Italian resort. While attempting suicide, Aarush meets Sandy (Deepika Padukone) and naturally, they fall in love. Aarush and Devika quickly make peace, and initiate divorce, of course in absence of Devika’s father, since it’s OK for him to be filled-in during the climax.

It’s revealed early on that Hetal and Bob had eloped to get married, and the Bentley-owning, Haldiram-snack type business owner-father , Batuk Patel (played by Boman Irani), based in India, continues to disapprove. Few song sequences later, the two happy couples decide to bring in more family members into the story. A five-minute drama later, Batuk melts, and is convinced about Hetal’s affluent western life (as bluffed), wants to accept Hetal’s invitation to do a meet-and-greet with the family (!) now nesting a bonny boy (bluffed, also). Since this is the right time for another character to make an entry, Maj Krishna Rao (Arjun Rampal) who is Sandy’s brother checks-in into the (rented but bluffed as owned) palatial bungalow. Not able to chew all that is thrown at him, Krishna also conducts lie-detector tests using an equipment he carries everywhere in a briefcase, to approve of the new damad. What ensues his how the two couples pile up one lie upon the other, circumstantially (Eg. Hetal and Aarush pair-up, briefly) to keep problems-arising-out-of-truth, at bay. Finally, being a cultured, desi-ghee eating imaandaar insaan that he is, Aarush speaks out the truth in presence of all characters (who obviously get invited to any Royal event in London) which is already disturbed by a leak of laughing gas (played by Nitrous Oxide). All real stories are now blurted out, and unable to control their laughter, all four  are acquitted because laughing gas plays on your mood too.

PERFORMANCES:
This section alone is the USP of the movie. Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani are the real stars in this rib-tickling comedy. Although one would expect Akshay to grab all limelight being the big star of today, he’s managed to play down his persona very well to jive with the character he plays and the other characters too. Aarush as a pushover, without a job, constantly afraid of Maj. Krishna is a character portrayed very lucidly by Akshay. He proves again that comedy also is his forte, and how he delivers scenes with innocent or funny expressions, antics without mouthing profanity, makes him all the more a funny watch. Riteish Deshmukh has been trying to get more versatile with time, but comedy is his big thing. Bob’s character is on lines of Aarush’s, both timid pushovers trying hard to tackle big problems. Riteish’s performance is really dialogue-based and not so much expression-based. An exception though, which has been repeating in many of his movies, is his expressions impersonating a gay male, or a drag. Boman being the most versatile actor of recent times, has pulled off a Gujju Patel role very very well. It’s not so much about the language as much as it is about how a nosy character like him would think, how he would loudly voice his thoughts, and his experience visiting London first-time.

The girls, Deepika, Lara and Jiah are all-glam. Lots of skimpy clothing (including bikinis), many latka-jhatkas, some nakhras defines their role. The actresses singularly or collectively, did not necessarily add to any of the comedy in terms of expressions or dialogue because most scenes are led by the male leads. Looking good in song sequences and adding glam quotient to outdoor scenes is where the ‘meat’ of their roles is. It’s about time Bollywood tries to tap humor capabilities of female leads too. Arjun Rampal as a supporting actor plays a doting brother who tries to pamper-talk his sister only in Telugu at their every meeting albeit poor Telugu-speaking skills, is funny, especially to someone that understands Telugu. Poorly-scripted sequence ‘Ennada Rasacala’ from Om Shanti Om did not humor me as much as badly-accented ‘Entra chinna’ and much more, here. Maj Krishna Rao lives to only give jitters to his would-be B-I-L Aarush, and Arjun does this with great ease, although facing a big star like Akshay. Overall, it’s a very good group effort by these 7 actors. 

SCREENPLAY, DIRECTION & CINEMATOGRAPHY:
ScreenplayYou care? Really?! Direction. Sajid Khan has been translating his silly humour from TV shows to movies with perfection. His idea has always been about letting loose, and create situations that evoke fun. No logic, no stress. So really, based on a script done to death, this movie solely banks on Sajid’s direction ability to craft the next sequence that could keep the audience in splits. Even if you’ve seen You, Me and Dupree, or old Tom and Jerry cartoons, the ‘inspired’ sequences are enjoyable. Looking at the big picture, Sajid can be excused. His art is not just about presenting and packaging scenes, its as much also about considering the social strata of today, having everything for everybody, an actor’s dialogues and  expressions, the right locations, and relevant background music. The scenes build on each other, to follow a straight-line graph, inclined upward or horizontal depending on how much your sense of humour stretches on the Y-axis. If you don’t appreciate silly, don’t bother analyzing the time-laughter graph. Cinematography by Vikas Shivraman is good. It adds good accent to the scenes by creating sprightly visuals. Scenes shot on Italian beaches are absolutely beautiful. City of London has not been captured so well, except in a couple of scenes here and there. Spaces in a London apartment, and in and around a palatial bungalow have been well used to improve the nuances of each scene.

MUSIC:
The album has great compositions by Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy. ‘Aapka Kya Hoga - Dhanno', 'Oh Girl You're Mine', 'Papa Jag Jayega’ are the top picks. Background music by Sandeep Chowta is noticeable. Specifically, there are more than a couple of scenes where Aarush is emotional about his loser-hood, but the song ‘He’s such a loser’ follows quickly in the background, automatically changing the viewer-perception and flavour of such could-have-been-serious scenes. Job well done with music, overall.

Why 4/5:
This film is a massy (and wee-bit classy) commercial entertainer with many many no-brainer jokes and sequences. It lacks logic, but it has much comical appeal, especially for folks familiar with Sajid Khan as a TV show host. The loss of 1 point is because of my rational analysis of the movie screenplay, only. In my perspective, the movie as a product will achieve its objective in humouring a huge audience base that believes in the power of silly. Even if the houses are not full now, it may as well have a good run on the DVD circuit. But watch it house-full (of people) and you will enjoy it much, much more. 

2 comments:

Varsha said...

I agree about the music part . But when it comes to the actors...I think the movie picked up pace when Chunkey pandey enters the scene. No credits to him? Overall a nice review...4/5 did not pull me to the theatre but atleast I understand now why the movie would do well.

Sunny said...

Thanks :). Appreciate your thinking. Not to discredit his excellence, but Chunkey Pandey was just another actor I felt. I thought of him as just another actor like Randhir Kapoor or Lilette Dubey who were present to add humour only and not move the story along, specifically.

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