Occupancy Exceeded

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HOUSEFULL. Director: Sajid Khan. Players: Akshay Kumar, Ritesh Deshmukh. Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy. Theatrical Release (EROS).

Akshay Kumar is in serious relapse these days. Several of his recent movies(Blue, Kambakkht Ishq, 8 x 10 Tasveer) have been contrived action adventures or comedies that remain true to Kumar’s modus and little else. That is sad, considering Kumar has considerable talents, all of which amount to a big zero as long as he continues to churn out trash like Housefull.

What passes as “comedy” is a migraine-inducing exercise in convoluted plotting, witless writing, sexual innuendos that flatter no one (including the writers), while perpetuating the worst stereotypes about gender roles, gays, Europeans, and as director Khan’s celluloid screech makes abundantly clear, even Indians.

c9e5f3dee3567f0c147e492f1fdae84f-1Loosely following Kamalahasan’s 1998 Tamil hit Kaathala Kaathala (there is a lawsuit pending for copyright violation—stay tuned),Housefull also pretty much retraces Heyy Babyy, director Khan’s last pairing with Kumar.Housefull has Kumar playing Arush, a zombified loser so jinxed that casinos actually pay him to turn the luck of gamblers on winning streaks. As divined by a fortune teller, Arush’s luck will change only if he finds true love. And the search for true love is where matters go horribly wrong.

Arush’s and his best friend Bob (Deshmukh) first end up in Italy where they trash and stereotype all things Italian. Change scene to a really big house in London where the pair and their would-be love interests (Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta) converge (house full, get it?) to play out musical love affairs under the see-nothing eyes of their elders (Irani and Rampal).

The writing is disastrously unfunny. The acting is almost uniformly plastic—including all principals. The exception is Rampal as an overprotective brother intent on protecting his sisters (he has two here) from the lecherous heroes. Even Rampal gets conned into playing a testosterone-pumped cop who continually threatens violence to appease his alpha male ego. Any softness displayed by a male character is instantaneously transformed into a gay joke—by far the worst of which is Deshmukh’s cringe-worthy gay sub-character.

Here’s the skinny. Under no circumstance should anyone allow themselves or their loved ones to tolerate this calamity. Finally, if you happen to come across the last remaining earthling that has yet to catch a Hindi film, under no circumstances should you let them see this movie as their intro to Hindi flicks.Housefull is growth-stunting, no matter which room one peeks in.

Globe trekker, aesthete, photographer, ski bum, film buff, and commentator Aniruddh Chawda writes from Milwaukee.

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