Monday, May 10, 2010

Housefull - The Return of the King

This past Saturday, we caught the evening show of “Housefull”. After nearly 3 hours of continuous entertainment, we walked out with a smile on our faces. “Housefull” will remain memorable for years to come.

With an impressive ensemble star cast of Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Riteish Deshmukh, Lara Dutta and Arjun Rampal, director Sajid Khan has managed to pull off mind-boggling action with mind-numbing comedy, in what is a thoroughly entertaining journey into madness and absurdity. The movie does not even attempt to pretend to be an intelligent movie, and clearly calls for the audience to “leave your brains at home” to be entertained.

The story, in short, is about a man (Akshay) looking to find true love to turn his bad luck into good. In this pursuit, he marries Jiah Khan, only to find out she loves someone else. True love then makes an entry in the form of the leggy Deepika Padukone, and the rest of the movie is all about how Akshay, with the help of Riteish and Lara, manage to convince Deepika's brother (Arjun Rampal) for his consent. In the process, Lara and Riteish also have their own sub-plots, to add to the confusion, leading to a crowded climax and happy ending.

There are many great performances in the movie, not the least of which is the short yet impactful “Blink and Miss” performance of Jiah Khan. It takes a “big heart” to accept an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, bit-part role, and yet manage to display such immense talents. Yes, Jiah has indeed outdone herself, as well as the other two girls- Deepika and Lara. It amazes me how such a petite, gentle girl can possess such immense talents. At times, you wonder how she could keep such talents suppressed all this while, and how she could suddenly pull-off such a well-rounded performance.  One also wonders if one can really be born with such talents, or if these are acquired ones. Regardless, she has used her talents well to bounce back from the debacle of her debut movie. Especially in the scene when she emerges from the sea to Akshay’s amazement. Jiah’s scenes are the “Mind-Boggling Action” scenes, in case anyone wondered.

The rest of the movie is all Mind-Numbing. Clearly, this is in the “Singh is King” mould, and uses a generous dash of slapstick to cover up the lack of real humor. Nevertheless, when you have actors like Akshay and Riteish, you can pull off even slapstick and make it seem fun. The scene where Akshay brings home a Tiger is funny, although clearly devoid of sense, for the intelligence use of word-play. Likewise when Riteish word-plays on "Phone-Tubble" in a rare show of actual intelligence from the script-writers.

Akshay Kumar finally returns to his forte, after a less than satisfactory report card last year, in his role as a jinxed loser. He is so pathetic that a Casino actually hires him to jinx a winning table to cover its losses. It’s zany for someone to actually think of such a job, but trust Sajid Khan to think of exactly such zany stuff. Riteish has carved a niche for himself playing the funny side-kick to the hero, and is a natural in his role as Babu Rao a.k.a. Bob, a dealer at a Casino in the UK. Arjun Rampal is strictly tolerable as an Intelligence Officer cum over protective and suspecting brother of Deepika. 

Among the girls, Lara turns in a fine performance, and is both funny and sexy. Deepika is hot and pretty, but acting, clearly, is not in her genes. As regards Jiah, where do I start? She is truly an asset. Or two.

The rest of the cast is competent- Boman Irani, Lilette Dubey, Randhir Kapoor, Chunky Pandey and the British Royalty Look-alikes. Special mention for Chunkey- he is quite a charmer as Aakhri Pasta, the flirtatious but well-meaning Italiano.

In short, Houseful is a fun movie, and a great weekend watch, especially after (or even better, with) some beer. Strictly frivolous and completely wacky- Akshay Kumar is certainly back. And the two Sajids (Producer and Director) are laughing all the way to the bank.

As for me, it is a memorable movie as this was Vivaan’s first movie in a theatre. Not only was he well-behaved, but also quite enjoyed it. The scene with the Tiger was his highlight of the movie. As a family, we enjoyed the movie thoroughly. I had my own reasons.
For Vivaan, it was the Tiger. For now.

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