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‘Humshakals’…Dumbshakals

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MUMBAI: In Humshakals, Sajid Khan tries to do one better on the Royal bard, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s one of the earliest plays was Comedy Of Errors, a play about two sets of identical twins. That was a short play about mistaken identity. On a mistaken notion that he can do better than Shakespeare, Sajid makes a film about a set of three identical sets of people who are not related. They are not separated at birth twins or triplets; they are just identical. Having taken this suicidal step, Sajid goes on to create a comedy.

 Sajid has had a successful debut and follow-up in his rise as a director of films from a standup comedian of a kind who regaled in running down film folks on TV. He had a great start with Heyy Babyy! Followed by Housefull and Housefull2. Disaster caught up with him soon after when he delivered a dud in the remake of 1983 Jeetendra hit, Himmatwala; he made the mistake of trying to better it.

This time he makes the mistake of trying to improve on Shakespeare and that is quite a task. Gulzar presented a fairly decent version of the Shakespeare story in Angoor in 1982 where he had the advantage of two among the best artistes playing lead roles in Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma.

Saif Ali Khan is Ashok and Riteish Deshmukh is Kumar, both childhood friends. Like Ashok is the ward of a Tata or Birla kind of family whose father is in coma and the business empire is left to him to handle. His hobby is to gather people over free drinks and tell them PJs. It does not matter that he is an heir to an empire, he still wants to be known as a standup comedian. Actually, if that has nothing to do with the film’s script thereafter, nothing or no sequence has relevance. Sajid Khan just tries to put together a feature film of 159 minutes together with whatever content he comes across, relevance being immaterial.

Producer: Vashu Bhagnani.

Director: Sajid Khan.

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Ram Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Tamannaah Bhatia, Esha Gupta, Satish Shah.111

So, Humshakals goes on to being one marathon jamboree of poor jokes, sick jokes, dated jokes and no jokes at all. And, the film is shot in UK where even the whites speak Hindi dutifully, an asylum has Indian attendants and doctors and it is India Raj in UK, a sort of payback for the British Raj in India.

If Angoor had great talents in Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma handling two roles each, here we have two limited actors in Saif and Riteish trying to better them with three each. Yes, not to forget Ram Kapoor. I mean, how many nails can you add to a coffin?

Till most of the first half, the film has one Saif and one Riteish after which another pair is added, both with same names and the third comes in the form of a villainous doctor’s handiwork who gives a face change to two of his assistants. Mercifully, the writer director are a easy with three Ram Kapoors, introducing them gradually.

What do these three humshakals do? They do buffoonery in the absence of scope for showing any histrionics. But, even in buffoonery, Satish Kaushik takes the cake as he excesses by all accounts as even Akash Khurana joins in at the end. The three girls, Bipasha Basu, Esha Gupta and Tamannaah Bhatia remain at the director’s back and call to make an appearance when he can’t think of anything else.

There is nothing such a script here but just an attempt to put together gags which, sadly, are dated and PJs. Direction is juvenile. Music is poor with no song carrying appeal. The use of foreign locations is not justified.

There is nothing that works for Humshakals and, this rather costly film, will be a big jolt for its investors.

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