There are bad movies, and then there’s Humshakals. The worst film of 2014 so far, in my book.
You have Ashok (Saif Ali Khan), a London-based billionaire, living in a mansion and hobnobbing with Prince Charles. His passion is stand-up comedy, even as he tries to amuse local Londoners with jokes in Hindi. That’s how the film is. Characters talk to foreigners in Hindi, and all key people, from doctors to wardens to nightclub owners are Indian.
When he meets the consistently mini-skirted Shanaya (Tamannah), he replies with a “You are so Churchgate”, when she exclaims, “You are so witty”. (Gettit? Doesn’t matter....)
Anyhow, his uncle (Ram Kapoor) has his eyes on the moolah, now that Ashok’s father is in coma. He takes a sneering doctor’s help and turns Ashok and his sidekick Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh) into dogs. Meaning with the help of MAD (mind altering drug), he has them behaving like dogs for a few hours.
So you have a scene where the two actors ham it up, giving the most insulting representation to canine behavior imaginable. They’re locked up in a mental asylum as per the Uncle’s devious plan. But as coincidences, or developments in Sajid Khan’s films go, there are inmates with actual mental disorders, who are exact humshakals of Ashok and Kumar. And guess what?? They’re named Ashok and Kumar too.
They’re 30 years old (hah!), but have the mind of a five-year-old. Again, their exasperating behavior (coupled with seriously bad acting) is an offensive representation of how children behave.
No wait, there’s more. Their uncle (Kapoor) has a humshakal too, and finally towards the end, we don’t have double, but triple versions of these characters. Then, there’s a Hitler-worshipping warden called Bijlani (he has a thing for electric shocks), a pretty assistant (Bipasha Basu), and an asylum doc (Esha Gupta) stumbling around in heels.
Now madcap comedies can be super-fun, but they still have to be well thought-out! A comedy has to make you laugh in the first place, not go looking for a headache pill.
Sajid Khan has totally lost the plot here (pun intended). He mistakes UNBEARABLE crudity for humour, and assumes jokes that school kids would find beneath them, good enough to entertain an audience. The actors mistake pulling faces for acting (for Saif, this film is a HUGE comedown). The female actors are made to display miles of leg in clothes that become shorter and tighter as the film progresses.
The characters scream, “It’s all so confusing”, mirroring exactly the viewer’s thoughts. But by then you’re jaded, waiting for the film to end. You know, it’ll stay with you though; such torture is not easily shrugged off. You didn’t sign up for a horror film but you’ll see images that could haunt you for days.
Watch it if you can tolerate Saif (dressed as a waitress, and looking eerily like a revolting version of Soha Ali Khan) getting sexy with Riteish, and Riteish (in a skirt) seducing Saif’s clone. And if Ram Kapoor lusting after his own clone (in drag), and trying to rape “her” is your idea of fun, who am I to judge. Just don’t say you hadn’t been warned!
Rating: 0 stars