Housefull-3 looks towards the south even as the film discovers new depths to sink itself into. When every bad joke in the planet has been exhausted, it becomes self-referential and this happens for all the three male leads. Two of them invoking their real life in reel while another looks towards one of his films. Sandy’s (Akshay Kumar) split personality or at least a badly caricatured version of it is activated (Yeah, I cringed at using that word.) when he hears the word “Indian” and one incident happens while watching Kumar’s film Airlift. Bunty (Abhishek Bachchan) comes close to mistaking the wax statue of Aishwarya Rai for the real person and Teddy (Riteish Deshmukh), in a moment of weakness, refers to his girlfriend Jenny (Lisa Haydon) as Genelia. The catch is these are some of the bearable moments in Housefull-3.
This is Sajid-Farhad’s second outing as directors after Entertainment – a forgettable film in its own right. They think google translating Hindi lines to English make for good comedy. There is even a fart joke in there somewhere. The stench is quite nauseating. This is what I wrote about Entertainment – “It doesn’t have one breakout life saving character because, hey, everyone here is competing to give the worst performance of their lives. Even the dog lacks any charm or wit. It just struts around or jumps around and gives close up shots. What can be said of a movie where even the dog is uninterested?” Sajid-Farhad have no reason to grow up because this is what their roster reads like – Golmaal Returns, Golmaal 3, Housefull 2, Bol Bachchan (that is referenced here, again) and so on. Something drastic needs to change for us to stop getting roasted by them every 2 years.
It must rank as an achievement to make a 134 minutes long film where not a single joke lands. Yes, the point remains that nothing takes off to land but for once, moving away from the writers-directors, can any part of this cast do comedy? There is Akshay Kumar who has a great pedigree but this is no material to expect anything from him. Deshmukh and Bachchan cannot help themselves and the three actresses – Lisa Haydon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nargis Fakhri – are only there to give you fitness goals. Boman Irani and Jackie Shroff make dad jokes and Chunkey Pandey plays himself. When was the last time we had an out and out rib tickling screwball comedy from Bollywood? With stars, a mainstream film? It’s like overnight we forgot how to make comedies anymore. Even during the 00s, Priyadarshan was making (or remaking) some solid comedies that this current climate would forgive and take back as its own. If not laugh out loud or tirelessly crafted, they were at least comedy done with some dignity and a sense of respect to the art and the audience. Films like Hulchul and Hungama remind you of better times (this could also be the sudden jolt to some Akshaye Khanna memories talking, thanks to the Dishoom trailer). They didn’t just wing it.
(An edited version of this was published in The New Indian Express)