If, like me, you squirmed through the cringe-fest that was Housefull, the prospect of a sequel will fill you with such dread that hari-kari would seem like a reasonable option.
Housefull 2 tells the story of four fathers (Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Boman Irani), their four daughters (Asin, Jacqueline Fernandez, Shazahn Padamsee, Zarine Khan) and four prospective sons-in-law (Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Riteish Deshmukh, Shreyas Talpade). Each father wants his daughter to marry the richest man, but with each swapping identities, confusion ensues and chaos reigns, all under one roof.
It’s not often that you come out of a film with no clue what just happened. From the off there is no knowing where this story is going to take you, as you are catapulted haphazardly from one location and one ill-conceived plotline to the next in a manner that defies all logic.
With such a large ensemble you would hope there might be some display of histrionics that would get you through the 2 hour 40 minutes of utter lunacy, but each performer exceeds the next only in how bad they are.
Akshay Kumar has made a good living on this kind of cinema and shows a glimmer of his former self in a well-played action sequence, but the rest is shockingly bad, even by his standards. John Abraham has demonstrated his ability to turn his hand to comedy, but a fight with a stuffed python is a cheesy gag too far. Hritesh Deshmukh too has the face and gait for physical humour and somehow comes away from the experience relatively unscathed.
The women in the film, meanwhile, are served up as under-dressed eye candy, which might explain the lack of emphasis on dialogue delivery or the presence of any actual acting. Let’s not even get started on Chunkey Pandey’s Italian turn.
You can but wonder why veteran actors such as Mithun Chakraborty, Randhir Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor would willingly partake in such a display of buffoonery. While Boman Irani retains some air of dignity, the rest are diminished in status.
The film hits an all-time low with the shameless gyrating to the song ‘I Want You Right Now’, a politically incorrect sequence with Chakraborty and the arrival of Prince Charles no less, to save the day.
With the addition of the modern-day proclivity for bikini-clad women galore and unashamed skin shows from the boys, alongside its mustachioed baddies, bad dubbing, unpalatable dialogue, caricatures and clichés, it’s a throwback to the worst of ’80s Bollywood cinema.
The only redeeming feature lies in the knowledge that at some point the hell has to end.
That said, if the crowd reaction is anything to go by, there is an audience for this kind of cinema. Indeed, if vacuous, crass, politically incorrect comedy, cheap gags and widespread lunacy are your bag, Housefull 2 really is full of it.