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Akshay Kumar’s Diwali release, Hindi comedy Housefull 4 has already managed to collect a total of 1.2 billion dollars in six days at the box office in India and becomes the highest-grossing in the Housefull franchise.
Now, did I burst-out-laughing? Of course, yes…. ‘I’m joking’!
The fourth instalment of the Housefull franchise tells Bollywood’s ever-so-popular no-novelty reincarnation saga of three re-embodied romantics – Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Bobby Deol, reuniting in the present day as brothers. However, the men wind up falling for the wrong women – Kriti Sanon, Kriti Kharbanda and Pooja Hegde.
The brothers are due to marry a set of three sisters until Bala starts to realise that they are all reincarnations from 600 years earlier. Back in 1419, thee couples are separated because of an evil conspiracy and revenge. In 2019, they cross paths once again but the three brothers are about to marry their sisters-in-law.
“History always repeats itself” – the three couples land up in Sitamgarh once again, where it all began. Housefull films were always ‘keep the brains at home’ types, but at least hilarious.
The reincarnation spin-off is directed by Farhad Samji, who has also written dialogue for this story by Sajid Nadiadwala and Sara Bodinar. They take the audiences for granted as six year olds and feed accordingly. The loose screenplay is based on a weak story. On top of that Samji’s farcical dialogues are forcefully funny.
The early scenes of the present day, in 2019, are easily forgettable because of the underdeveloped plot and characters while the 1419 era is a silly tribute to Bahubali’s mise-en-scène and Padmavat’s royal wardrobe.
A must credit goes to one of the most sought after cinematographers in Indian cinema today – Sudeep Chatterjee; Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty’s production design in making the grandeur Sitamgarh kingdom.
Thankfully Akshay, Bollywood’s Mr dependable entertainer, is back again in his comedy avatar after a long list of patriotic and nationalistic acts. The film rests heavily on his shoulders (for commercial purpose obviously), resulting Akshay sharing the maximum screen space amongst his five other co-actors in the film. His deadpan comedy brings laughter as he gets ‘Bhoola’, mocks Parikhsit Sahni’s dialogue delivery and chants ‘Sa re ga ma’ with Gama (Rana Daggubati).
The ‘takliya’ dialogue too will keep the Akki fans smiling! Sadly, his underdeveloped flat characters both as Harry and Bala make him a bit less funny than hilarious.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a forced and unnecessary cameo in a song, who mocks his own character from his Netflix hit Sacred Games. Johnny Lever’s drag act and crass humour might not work for everyone.
Female characters, the ornamental parts of the franchise, are not given any opportunity to show their individual comedic timings.
However, Sanon with her unique elegancy in dialogue delivery does what Deepika Padukone didn’t in 2010’s Housefull.
The most positive thing about the film is no one will be unhappy – if one goes without expectations.