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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Housefull 4 movie review: This Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon film is uneven but funny

Housefull 4 movie review: Watch it if you are a fan of the franchise and, of course, Akshay Kumar, who seems to be getting better with age.

bollywood Updated: Oct 25, 2019 15:48 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Housefull 4 movie review: Akshay Kumar leads an ensemble cast in this comedy caper.
Housefull 4 movie review: Akshay Kumar leads an ensemble cast in this comedy caper.
         

Housefull 4
Director - Farhad Samji
Cast - Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Bobby Deol, Riteish Deshmukh, Kriti Kharbanda, Pooja Hegde

At a time when content is king, an out-and-out comedy like Housefull 4 has its work cut out. Housefull 4, on its part, does a credible job with an all-star cast of Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Pooja Hegde and Chunky Pandey, among others. The film, directed by Farhad Samji, manages to tickle your funny bone whilst making sense.

Another plus is that Housefull 4 goes beyond funny as Samji stirs the pot with drama and action. The clear standout is Akshay’s bald king Bala with his idiosyncrasies and a viral signature step.

Watch the Housefull 4 trailer here 

The film is divided between two eras — 1419 and 2019. Harry (Akshay Kumar), Max (Bobby Deol) and Roy (Riteish Deshmukh) own a barber shop in London and are in debt. To pay off the massive loan, they devise a plan to marry three millionaire sisters. Harry suffers from short-term memory loss on hearing any loud sounds and often has flashbacks of a life he led 600 years ago. Early in Housefull 4, we see Harry visiting Sitamgarh, where it all started and then convincing others that they all have all been reborn.

We are then introduced to the cast’s period avatars -- King Bala (Akshay), Bangdu Maharaj (Riteish) and Dharamputra (Bobby) from 1419. The twist in the tale comes when they realise they are about to marry the wrong girls, and how the past has an impact on their future.

Bollywood is no stranger to reincarnation tales. It has tried the genre often in the past with various degrees of success – while Karz, Karan Arjun and Om Shanti Om achieved cult status, others such as Ek Paheli Leela and Raabta sunk.

The trio of female actors in Housefull 4 is hit-or-miss.
The trio of female actors in Housefull 4 is hit-or-miss.

For Housefull 4, it is the comedy that sets it apart. The first half of the film keeps you engaged with its period look and sets mounted on a lavish scale, but the second half is a downer with a weaker narrative. Even if you fast forward the second half all the way to the climax, you would not miss anything.

The dialogues, with a clear emphasis on rhyming, keep the laughs coming. Samji, who has also penned the dialogues, gives us these gems: ‘Aaj mera fast hai, isliye thoda slow maara’, ‘Isne gender ka tender nahi bhara’, Kabootar ka yuck brings good luck’, ‘Maa ka saaya nahi hai aur mundan ke baad sir par chaaya nahi hai’. Housefull 4 also references older films and songs in creative ways to keep you smiling. While Housefull 1, 2, 3 were laughter riots with several lame jokes, Housefull 4 thankfully overcomes that shortcoming with elan.

The film rests on Akshay’s shoulders and he does a commendable job of keeping it going. He perks up the screen with his very presence, giving a fillip to others’ performances too. As Bala, he raises the bar but the underdeveloped character of Harry lets him down.

Riteish Deshmukh and Chunky Pandey, who have such spot-on comic timing, have been under-utlised in the film, with their dialogues often sounding off-track. Bobby Deol looks macho and stands out.

Bobby Deol in a still from Housefull 4.
Bobby Deol in a still from Housefull 4.

Among the female actors, Kriti Sanon does well – both as a princess and a woman of today. Her namesake, Kriti Kharbanda brings freshness to the screen though her poor dialogue delivery is distracting. Pooja Hegde, who is doing a period role again after her debut Mohenjo Daro, is strictly average. The only scene where she pulls off a joke is when she says ‘In shabdon ko toh sangeet mein pirona chahiye’ in a rather cheeky way.

Rana Daggubati is wasted in a cameo, especially as we have come to expect so much from him after Baahubali. Yesteryear villain Ranjit, senior actor Manoj Pahwa and Johhny Lever are in their element. Amid such an interesting line-up, Sharad Kelkar turns out to be the surprise element, and quite impressive too.

While Housefull 4 music is ordinary, the Ek Chumma song has been beautifully choreographed. Bala – Shaitaan Ka Saala is clearly the highlight with its lame yet catchy lyrics. A qawwali called Badla featuring Rana doesn’t fare any better.

Housefull 4 is quite the comic extravaganza that offers you a heavy dose of laughter this festive season if you can keep your expectations in check. Watch it if you are a fan of Housefull franchise and, of course, Akshay Kumar, who seems to be getting better with age.

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