Direction: Sajid and Farhad
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Abhishek Bachchan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nargis Fakhri, Lisa Haydon
Housefull 3 is about three Indian heiresses in London. Don’t ask me what their names are. These aren’t characters. They are props. In the climax sequence, the film’s hero Akshay Kumar refers to them as maal. Jacqueline Fernandez, Nargis Fakhri and Lisa Haydon play the maal. Their brief probably was: look attractive and interchangeable.
Since the heiresses have grown up in London, their Hindi is faulty. At one point, one of them says, ‘Seriously guys, akhrot ho kya?’ Which she helpfully translates as: ‘Are you guys nuts?’
This film definitely qualifies as an akhrot. Housefull 3 is an equal-opportunity offender – it’s racist, sexist and willfully rude about people who are differently abled. But the worst sin, in my book, is that it’s just not funny. Housefull 3 has been co-written and directed by the brothers Sajid and Farhad. The two have had much success writing films like Bol Bachchan (2012), Singham (2011) and Chennai Express (2013). Their brand of humour is determinedly low-IQ, but at their best they can make you laugh out loud. Here, they take on a successful franchise but the jokes are consistently limp.
Here’s a sampler: Boman Irani plays Bakul Patel, a rich London businessman who has a bevy of housemaids, all African-American. When the bad guys inadvertently sleep with these women, they are told: ‘Tumne muh kala kiya’. Akshay is Sandy, a man with split-personality disorder. When he hears the word ‘Indian’, he becomes Sundi. Riteish Deshmukh’s character Teddy pretends to be blind. When Bakul asks him where he met his daughter, Teddy says: ‘On a blind date’. Bakul also enjoys wordplay. Early in the film, he declares: ‘Aadmi ko kush rehna chahiye. Ghambir toh Gautam bhi hai’.
There are a few scenes in which the lunacy hits the mark, but they are painfully infrequent. At one point Sandy, pretending to be wheelchair-bound, lunges at Bakul’s feet, saying: ‘Wheel payna papaji’. I had to laugh. The men – Akshay, Riteish and Abhishek Bachchan – all seem to be having fun and their energy keeps the engine running. But it’s not enough. And did I mention that Chunky Pandey reprises his role as Aakhri Pasta. In one scene, he appears disguised as the paravarik jyotish Akhri Aasta.
It’s very tiring.