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Sajid Khan’s latest ‘entertainer’ numbs you in stages

21st Jun 2014

Humshakals

Director: Sajid Khan

Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Ram Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Esha Gupta & Tamannaah Bhatia

"Why was 10 afraid of 7? Because 7 ate 9!" This is an example of what Sajid Khan considers a bad joke. Chunky Pandey still being cast in a movie is something Khan considers to be genuinely hilarious. Can't tell the difference? Me nei...ok, I'm kidding. I think that's pretty bloody hilarious too. 

After Himmatwala, I promised my temporarily paralysed brain that I would never put it through that sort of trauma again. Turns out I suffer from some sort of memory loss (that Khan would be quick to convert to "medical" terms and call "Stage 10 Amnesia". I mean, there's a character in this film that suffers from "Stage 3 OCD" — for those of you who aren't doctors, that basically means that if you sneeze in front of a guy with this "condition", he will turn into the Incredibly Unfit Hulk and then murder you. Well, unless you can hand him a lollipop in time; then he's cool. Noted? Ok).

Humshakals is about three grown(!) men (Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor) making the worst decision of their careers in possibly the worst movie of the year — I say "possibly" because every time I think it can't get worse than this, Bollywood thinks I'm throwing open a challenge... and proves me wrong.

Maybe I should try giving you some context (not that Khan thought this was at all necessary through most of this two and a half hour eyeball-gouger himself): Ashok (Saif Ali Khan) is a millionaire who also considers himself (and I assure you he is alone in this) a budding stand-up comedian. Kumar (Deshmukh) is his BFF of course, because otherwise the outrageously unfunny and nonstop Ashok-Kumar (GEDDIT?) jokes would be hard to pull off. Then there's Evil Mamaji (Kapoor), who wants all of Ashok's cash because enough! What about his trip to Mauritius, you guys?

So he comes up with a plan: declare Ashok mentally unstable, send him to Lord Cray G. Mental Asylum, take over the business, and BOOM: Banana Coladas on the beach, bi*ches!

Plan in place, just the details need help now: he must find a way to convince the already perpetually-confuddled board members that Ashok has lost his mind. He achieves this by mixing a drug into his water that makes anyone who consumes it behave like a dog for 24 hours at a time — barking, snarling, humping legs, the whole deal. "Dude, he basically just gave them Haryanvi LSD!" exclaimed the guy sitting next to me in the theatre, as he watched Deshmukh and Khan get into character.

Off to the mental asylum, both of you. And guess who else is checked into the same asylum? Their doppelgängers! And these guys are genuinely, medically mega-nuts — Stage 25 Loco, if you ask me, because they talk like sleepy five-year-olds; how much more proof do you need?

The next many hours are spent with the dog-duo being mistaken for the toddler-duo and vice versa and then vice versa and then vice versa and then WATCH OUT: there's a third duo! And even Mamaji gets two carbon copies for himself somewhere in the middle because where science fails, Bollywood succeeds; where logic gets sucked into a black hole, Sajid Khan is awarding himself gold medals.

Am I being harsh? Let me breathe and think of the lighter moments of the film: maybe I didn't get it when they introduced the dwarves called Thapa and Uske Papa, who fight their battles by biting people's crotches. Also, did you know that spritzing pheromones on yourself like Axe deo cancels the effect of chloroform? Also, bombs can be deactivated by unplugging the aux cable they come with.

These things notwithstanding, all I know is that if I'm not served a cocaine and/or vodka ka parantha (as seen in this film) at the next wedding I attend, I'm going to be very disappointed. Hey, I might even kill the next person who sneezes.

-RAVINA RAWAL

 
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