Cast: Akshay Kumar, Jacqueline Fernandez, Abhishek Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh, Lisa Haydon, Boman Irani, Nargis Fakhri, Chunky Pandey
Director: Sajid, Farhad
Some of our cinematic experiences are akin to having junk food. Not that I have anything against any such unwholesome diet (I love it!), but too much of junk is likely to make you sick and is widely considered a poor life choice.
Writer-director duo Sajid-Farhad have scant regard for any post-mortem of their films, and would like us to believe that anything — and I mean just "anything" — they dish out in the name of entertainment, will be consumed by us. In the third instalment of Housefull 3, a franchise taken from Sajid Khan, their undemanding content borders on not just the ludicrous, but on things offensively unpalatable too. Hence, they have bawdy jokes, unfunny gags, dull, humourless one-liners — all getting passed off for comedy, that too as they struggle to include jokes on racism and the differently-abled.
Business baron Batuk Lal (Boman Irani) doesn’t want his three daughters (Jacqueline Fernandez, Lisa Haydon, Nargis Fakhri) to get married because he believes that they are cursed — their marriages will bring them doom. What he doesn’t know is that all three have boyfriends (footballer Akshay Kumar, car racer Riteish Deshmukh, rapper Abhishek Bachchan). As we find out that the three women are anything but obedient, and are in reality party animals with an active nightlife, we expect some fun on the side. To make sure the men in their lives get an easy entry into their home, Gunga’s (Fernandez) man Akshay Kumar pretends to be a "cripple", Jamuna’s (Lisa Haydon) man Riteish Deshmukh turns "blind" and Saraswati’s (Fakhri) boyfriend Abhishek Bachchan becomes mute.
The three women end up playing almost glorified extras with little effort from their side, to add some heft to the lacklustre proceedings. They do look gorgeous though, with each of them trying to outdo the other in their perfect outfits and pouts. What follows is the writer-duo’s excuse for a comical assault on our sensibilities that amounts to serious embarrassment. The wafer-thin plot involves shameless situations that have, among many others, a direct attack on black "naukaranis".
There are other attempts to raise laughter with pun-intended lines like "kaamwaali gayee toh kaamwaali gayee" for "let bygones be bygones", or "thandi waali dawa kha lo" for "take a chill pill". I must confess that I found "bahar latakte hain" for "let’s hang out" amusing, but when it’s "bandook ke bachche" for "son of a gun" it reminded me of my school days. Comedy is serious business. And like in any genre of filmmaking, the script is always the hero, whose storyline can have many characters and thus have several instances to include a convoluted plot. But what we have here is uninspired writing that refuses to rise above the cliché-ridden scenes.
In an age when writing standards have gone tremendously high, a film with poor writing is a "no go" for sure. Writers should be aware that WhatsApp messages that could shame some adults are shared between school children. Bland, uninspired writing for such grandiosely-mounted and astronomically-budgeted films is extremely damaging. To be fair to the film, it never makes any endeavour to harbour any desire to be anything other than crude. And so, unlike in the earlier versions, there isn’t any attempt to "borrow" scenes from Hollywood hits; nor does it have any intention of giving undue importance to a star. Kumar, Deshmukh and Bachchan get equal footage.
But Boman Irani fails to even marginally display what he could possibly bring to a badly-written role: he hams and often hangs somewhere in between the comic lines, refusing to go the whole hog, when he should be unashamedly going along doing inane stuff expertly, the way the script demands. All in all, Housefull 3 is representative of everything that’s reprehensible about mainstream Hindi cinema. Most objectionable is the grossly obnoxious and insensitive jokes to evoke laughter. My piece of advice: Stay away from this loser!
But if your sole purpose of staving off boredom is to spend 135 minutes in a theatre, despite the overly enthusiastic effort on the part of the star-cast and the filmmaker’s stimulus giving no value or meaning or fun-filled joy ride to your life, you might as well go for it!
Arnab Banerjee is a film critic and has been reviewing films for over 15 years. He also writes on music, art & culture, and other human interest stories.