Kolkata, April 7, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) The actual theatrical performance of Bollywood movies often has little connection to how the movie is received by the critics. Over the years, films like ‘Maine Pyar Kyon Kiya’, ‘Singh Is King’ and ‘Welcome’ have not quite received critical acclaim (far from it, in fact!), but have been successful in becoming major blockbusters at the box-office.
Director Sajid Khan’s very own ‘Housefull’ (2010) was critically panned as well, but went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year. While the movie was not the classiest of fares, the masses were uniformly entertained by the film, helping the makers laugh all their way to the banks.
Sajid Khan is now back with a sequel of that immensely successful film – ‘Housefull 2’. The movie promised more fun, more laughter and more entertainment than its predecessor. The star-studded (and quite a big line-up!) cast and the sleek promos of the film had already created a major buzz and hype about ‘Houseful 2’ prior to its release. The million-dollar question was, would ‘Housefull 2’ become Sajid Khan’s third successful hit (the director had also scored big with his first directorial venture, ‘Heyy Baby’)? The film does have certain flaws, but is definitely more entertaining than the first film of the franchise.
‘Housefull 2’ relates the tale of twelve main characters (as is rather evident from the punchline of the movie – ‘The Dirty Dozen’!). First, we have four crafty con artists, ‘Max Mahadkar’ (John Abraham), ‘Sunny Sharma’ (Akshay Kumar), ‘Jwala Chaudhury’ (Riteish Deshmukh) and ‘Jai Bose’ (Shreyas Talpade). The leading men of the movie, however, do not quite get on well with each other. In fact, there are two distinct camps among them, with ‘Max’ and ‘Jai’ being constantly at loggerheads with ‘Sunny’ and ‘Jwala’. They might be involved in the same line of (rather dubious!) activities, but the four do not share the same points of view on practically any matter!
Love enters the life of the four conmen (which eligible bachelor in a mainstream Hindi film ever remains single?!) in the form of four charming (and wealthy!) young ladies. ‘Max’ falls for the charms of ‘Bobby’ (Jacqueline Fernandez), ‘Sunny’ gets emotionally attached to the gorgeous ‘Henna’ (Asin), ‘Jai’ finds the love of his life in ‘Parul’ (Shahzhan Padamsee) and ‘Jwala’ gets into a relationship with the tantrum-throwing ‘JLo’ (Zarine Khan). The four couples also decide to tie the knot and dream of stereotypical ‘happily ever after’ lives. Soon, the lovebirds are invited by ‘JLo’s father, ‘JD’ (Mithun Chakrabarty) to spend a nice holiday together.
The four grooms would also have a chance to get acquainted with their respective father-in-laws for the first time. This, however, proves to be a much trickier task than the couples had ever imagined!
Each of the father-in-laws (who are, in any case, slightly eccentric in their habits!) wish to have the richest groom as the husband of his daughter. The four gullible girls are also under the misconception that each of them is married to the richest person of all (something that is never sorted out by the men!). Adding further confusion to the proceedings is the fact that, a common name (‘Jolly’) is assigned to each of the four conmen (posing as well-to-do grooms!). In order to keep up their facade, each of them has to pretend that he is the richest to his father-in-law, apart from keeping their wives blissfully unaware of their actual financial standings. Hilarious marital mayhem ensues, with our protagonists growing increasingly desperate to keep their father-in-laws pacified. Will the girls (and their fathers!) be able to solve the puzzle of the four ‘Jolly’-s? Can the four conmen actually be successful in keeping their father-in-laws in the dark right through? Catch ‘Housefull 2’ on the big screen and find the answers!
‘Housefull 2’ is a definite improvement over the first film of the series, ‘Housefull’. For starters, the humour quotient, which often came across as rather crass and low-brow in the first film, is much better in this movie, particularly during the first half. The movie has no pretensions of taking itself seriously and director Sajid Khan shows, yet again, that he definitely has the knack of knowing what exactly entertains the common audience. There are way too many characters in the film though and, as the film moves along (and on-screen confusions start to mount!), viewers can start feeling just a bit lost (particularly if (s)he had not been paying minute attention to every detail of the movie!). The screenplay is fairly racy and, given that the movie does not offer much (read: any!) scope of thinking on the part of the audience, that works in favour of ‘Housefull 2’ too.
When a movie has so many central characters, it is pretty difficult to expect equally sincere and intense performances from all of its cast members. ‘Housefull 2’ is no exception to this common syndrome either. The performances of the actors in the film are slightly uneven and vary from the genuinely funny to the distinctly ordinary. Akshay Kumar, as ‘Sunny’, is, as usual, spot-on with his comic timing and histrionic skills. Kumar’s releases over the last couple of years have not done well at the box-office but this rough patch has done nothing to diminish the sheer acting expertise of the man. However, after a point of time in the film, Akshay Kumar’s expressions do start to appear a tad repetitive (more so because he has been doing mostly comedy films of late). A change of genre would not hurt the slightly flagging career of the actor.
John Abraham, as ‘Max’, does a surprisingly good turn in ‘Housefull 2’. The actor has indeed come a long way (as far as flair for comedy is concerned!) from his ‘Garam Masala’ days and he does bring an air of credibility to his role. Ritiesh Deshmukh, as ‘Jwala’, is well-cast and does a fine job in the film. A major disappointment in the film, however, comes in the form of Shreyas Talpade. Cast in the role of ‘Jai’, the actor tries too hard to appear funny and, in the process, hams up his lines. The other men do a fairly good job of covering up Talpade’s weak performance in ‘Housefull 2’, though.
The leading ladies of ‘Housefull 2’, do not, unfortunately, quite back up their male counterparts with their acts in the film. Only Asin, as ‘Henna’ manages to make a mark. Jacqueline Fernandez, as ‘Bobby’, looks pretty and sprightly, but that’s all there is about her performance. Shahzhan Padamsee appears limited in her expressions. Her dialog delivery style needs to improve as well. Zarine Khan, as ‘JLo’, looks ill at ease in front of the camera and does not carry off her role with any sort of conviction. To be fair to the ladies, none of their roles are well-detailed, leaving them rather restricted in their performance scopes.
Sajid Khan packs in several endearing moments in ‘Housefull 2’, which are bound to find appreciation among the viewers. The sequence where two of the stalwarts of Hindi movies, Mithun Chakrabarty and Rishi Kapoor share a jig together, is definitely one of the finest in recent Bollywood flicks. Boman Irani, as ‘Batook Patel’ and Chunkey Pandey, as ‘Akhree Pasta’ (reprising his role from the earlier film) serve up some outrageously funny moments. The narrative remains steady for most parts of the movie, although the final half-hour could easily have done with tighter editing. The climax is nothing to write home about either.
‘Housefull 2’ is bolstered by the expert cinematography of Manoj Soni, who makes the locations and the sets appear quite believable and, in many instances, extremely beautiful. The dialogs are, generally speaking, funny. However, they are not mouthed with equal confidence and élan by all the actors on show in the film.
Music directors Sajid-Wajid deserves extra credit for delivering a thoroughly enjoyable musical score for ‘Houseful 2’. The pick of the tracks in the film is the item number, ‘Anarkali Disco Chali’ (picturized on the truly evergreen Malaika Arora Khan), while ‘Papa Toh Band Bajaye’ is peppy and hummable too. The other songs gel perfectly with the light and entertaining mood of the overall movie. The background score is pretty well-conceived too.
Director Sajid Khan does a mighty fine job of making an entertaining and fun film in ‘Housefull 2’. It is no easy task to manage a story that features such a long list of principal characters, but the young director does well to lend a proper, systematic shape to the storyline (except, perhaps, the final few minutes of the film!). The performances are relatively patchy, but there are enough gags and humorous moments to keep a smile on the face of the viewers right through the movie. ‘Housefull 2’ might not be the classiest of Bollywood comedy films, but it is definitely worth a watch!
‘Housefull 2’ sets out to be a film that would make the audience double up with laughter, with its rich (and massy!) humor content. For most parts, the movie succeeds in achieving this ambition too!