Planning to watch Humshakals this weekend? Read our movie review

20 June-2014, Deepanjana Pal/FP: Humshakals begins with Saif Ali Khan pretending to be an awful stand up comedian with profoundly pathetic jokes. His set isn’t failing only because he’s telling jokes in Hindi at a comedy club in London. The jokes are genuinely bad.
Technically, that’s a good beginning for a film that’s supposed to be a rib-tickler. Set the bar low and things can only get better.

Planning to watch Humshakals this weekend? Read our movie review

Planning to watch Humshakals this weekend? Read our movie review
Unfortunately, in Humshakals the jokes don’t improve. The film’s climax is set in Khan’s version of the British House of Commons, which isn’t a parliament but a tacky ballroom with a green arch that has “House of Commons” written on it.
If you’ve just applied for a British visa and don’t get it, blame it on Khan. Between what he’s reduced the House of Commons to — there’s a Prince Charles impersonator in the mix — the mockery he’s made of the mental health care system and the awful choreography that the British extras have to dance to in the film, Humshakals is a disaster for our relations with Britain.

In all fairness, you can’t complain about lapses in accuracy while watching a Sajid Khan film.
There’s no reason for people to be dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns at the House of Commons, just as there’s no logical explanation for why a private company would conduct its board meeting in Britain’s lower house of Parliament. If you start questioning the logic and factual accuracy of Humshakals, you’ll need valium instead of popcorn to survive the 159 minutes of the film.
Because in Khan’s world, there is such a thing called “stage three, OCD” which involves patients flying into a murderous rage when someone sneezes around them.

How does one calm such a patient down? By giving him a lollipop.
Dwarves, the regular target of what Khan imagines is wit, chomp down on regular sized men’s genital areas just because their height makes this convenient. Here, women wear absurdly short, tight dresses; comas can be cured in seconds; cocaine has the same consistency as atta; and Saif Ali Khan is 30 years old.
Humshakals’ central problem isn’t the lack of realism, but that it isn’t funny. Saif Ali Khan and Riteish Deshmukh play Ashok and Kumar, two men about town.
Kumar runs a comedy club. Ashok is the heir to the fantabulous Singhania empire and a struggling stand up comedian with godawful jokes. Unfortunately for Humshakals, there’s not much difference between Ashok’s ‘bad’ jokes and Sajid Khan’s ‘good’ jokes. Ashok’s idea of a joke is to say, “You are so Churchgate” when someone tells him “You’re so witty.” (Just in case you didn’t get it, he adds, “VT, witty, Churchgate, get it?”)
Sajid Khan’s idea of a joke is to have Riteish Deshmukh pretend he’s a dog and dry hump an actor’s leg. It’s all painful to watch.
Apparently Sajid Khan spent months writing the script of Humshakals. Here’s what he came up with: Ashok the rich businessman and budding stand up comedian finds his well-ordered life being toppled when his uncle Kunwar Amar Nath Singh (Ram Kapoor) has Ashok sent off to the Lord Cray G. Mental Asylum. (If you thought that’s bad, wait till you see the warden who literally worships Hitler.) The uncle’s plan is to have his nephew declared insane and then take over the business.
However, Ashok and Kumar end up in a mental asylum that is home to another Ashok and Kumar (played by the same actors) who are actually crazy. How do we know they’re crazy? Because they speak like deranged kids.
As all mentally disturbed people do in Sajid Khan’s world.
A merry go round ride follows in which the lunatics are mistaken for the sane and the sane are mistaken for the lunatics. This is the one trick in Humshakals and it becomes boring very quickly since lookalikes mushroom out of every possible corner.
The evil uncle keeps plotting against his nephew while his nephew counter plots with the help of his best friend and the three entirely ornamental heroines. All these plans and stratagems aren’t to further the plot but to provide Sajid Khan with opportunities to throw in his familiar brand of homophobic, sexist and generally offensive attempts at humour. Adding to the irritation are Himesh Reshammiya’s grating compositions and a soundtrack that is filled with idiotic sound effects.
The only actor who emerges with some grace out of the ungainly mess that is Humshakal is Riteish Deshmukh. The script he’s given doesn’t allow him to be genuinely funny, but he manages to eke out a few microseconds of humour.
In contrast Saif Ali Khan, the star of the film, is painfully awkward and entirely out of place in Sajid Khan’s world. Humshakals was probably Saif’s attempt at scoring a ‘massy’ blockbuster the way actors like Akshay Kumar have, but no matter how how much he woofs, dresses up as a woman and makes faces, Saif is not able to fit into the mould of stupidity that Sajid Khan has created for him.
If you’re thinking of watching Humshakals, here’s a suggestion. Don’t do it. There are better things you can do with your money and being swallowed alive by a python is less excruciating than watching Sajid Khan’s latest attempt at making a movie.

Posted by on June 20, 2014. Filed under Bollywood, Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.