May 6, 2010

Laughing gas that makes you weep - Housefull!

Sajid Khan's career as a TV anchor, who had pungent criticisms of hamming and copying in Hindi films, is far behind him! These days he is the director of super-hit films, and man who scorns critics and calls the viewers the only critics he cares for. After an unacknowledged, albeit highly successful, down-market and low brow rip-off of Three Men and a Baby (is that even possible?), Sajid returns with his self-avowed biggest film of the year in Housefull! This time he stays away from any accusations of plagiarism by copying scenes, plot-lines, dialogs, from so many films that your head is in a whirl trying to keep them all duly accounted for. At some point you throw your hands up and simply stop counting. But honestly, what can one expect, when the producer (Sajid Nadiadwala) goes on the debut show being hosted by a leading box office analyst, and tells him his film is unique and ground breaking because while there have been tales with mixups with two wives in the past, they have now introduced a unique element, a third wife!!!!! It reminded me of how comic genius plays with stuff like that - there was the famous SEVEN minute abs sequence in Something About Mary!! Have a look:

However, this was said with a completely straight face and in all seriousness by Mr. Nadiadwala, as he and Mr. Nahata went on a mutually congratulatory spree.

So there we have it - it is a unique tale of a man who is a LOSER, a panauti (and we are never allowed to forget this). He is employed by a casino to sweep in and sweep out the good luck of the customers! He proposes to a girl (Malaika Arora in a strangely dentured look) and is rejected soundly, marries the casino owner's daughter (a strangely and shapelessly buxom Jiah Khan), breaks up with her, tries to drown himself, is saved by an Amazon of a girl (Deepika Padukone), who falls in love with him, has to pretend to be married to a third girl (Lara Dutta), and so on and so forth.

Along the way we have innumerable copied scenes - the wrecking of an apartment by a wayward vacuum cleaner (a la Mr. Bean), the tiger in the house (Hangover), the slapping monkey (Night at the Museum), the lie detector tests (Meet the Parents), wife swapping (last seen in All The Best), near identical beach and ocean vistas in romance (Bacha Ae Haseeno), the gay jokes (Kal Ho Naa Ho), Lilette Dubey as the aging sex-starved woman (Kal ho Naa Ho), and there is even a random baby thrown into the mix (Heyy Babyy?)!!! There are the obligatory songs that sounded quite good by themselves, but alas do not get any justice in the film.

Is there anything unique in tthis product? Yes, there are several poor jokes, and several jokes in really poor taste. Those can be attributed to Sajid Khan, unless he sees films I have not been able to catch. The incessant slapping between the leads and Boman does not start out funny, and degenerates into the realm of distasteful after about 6 repeats. Buckingham Palace is turned into Uckingham Palace - when Santa is told by Banta to Be SILENT! Phone in Tub becomes Phone TUBBLE, and a black baby is a piece of "Dambar" (Tar). Sajid's respect for his audience's IQ is quite evident when the baby (a ploy to get Boman Irani from India to London) is speedily removed from the scene and no one cares any more. And it really dawns on us that this man is either an idiot or thinks we are, when coolant is replaced by laughing gas and causes an entire hall to burst into uncontrollable laughter for 15 minutes. Coolant? Is that not supposed to go into some cooling coils in an AC unit? Unless Sajid was thinking gas chamber, and by the time this episode rolls around, that option does not seem so bad.

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