Review Hindi

Housefull 4 review: This juvenile ‘comedy’ normalizes harassment

Release Date: 25 Oct 2019 / Rated: U/A / 02hr 26min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The film continuously uses problematic situations and dialogues in a vain attempt to create humour.

Irrespective of whether you liked the first three Housefull movies, there was no doubt they were family entertainers, even with all the intentional and unintentional silliness. But Housefull 4 is very different; it is impossible for a family to watch this film.

Imagine Akshay Kumar forcibly smooching the queen of England and boasting about it. Yes, you read that right. The same actor, in a previous incarnation as Bala, gets girls from a classical dance class taken away forcibly to perform before the king. Veteran actor Ranjeet, who carries on with his character from Housefull 2 (2012), lusts over a picture of a dead woman who was the mother of the three male protagonists.

Now which family would be comfortable watching all this? No, you can't pass this off as 'adult' humour. Most of this is plain and simple glorification of sexual harassment. And these scenes are not the exception in this film. Housefull 4 is problematic at various levels.

The biggest problem, of course, is the character of Bala. He is eager to kill his father to become the next king. He is also a pervert. Yet, he is not the bad guy. The film projects him as the main hero who is just 'funny'. Now, why would you root for such a guy even if he is much better in his next life? Of course, 'better' is just a comparative term. It only means Akshay Kumar's character is not as much of a pervert as Bala was.

Ironically, Akshay Kumar has been making speeches on women's empowerment and respect for women over the past couple of years. But if he has no problem portraying such an unmitigated chump in a so-called mass entertainer like Housefull 4, one can only surmise that his words were meant to promote his films like Pad Man (2018) and Mission Mangal (2019), which were about women's empowerment. 

Akshay Kumar’s comic timing remains perfect, but it is not possible to appreciate his performance because of the many problems with the characters he portrays.

Coming to the complicated storyline, Harry (Akshay Kumar), Roy (Riteish Deshmukh) and Max (Bobby Deol) are brothers who own a salon in London in 2019. They woo Pooja (Pooja Hegde), Neha (Kriti Kharbanda) and Kriti (Kriti Sanon), respectively, because they are daughters of the billionaire Thakral (Ranjeet). The three brothers wish to marry the three sisters because they owe a huge debt to a mobster and see this as a quick-fix for their problem.

Harry keeps getting weird dreams from the past. He soon realizes that he, Roy and Max were Bala Dev Singh, Bangdu Maharaj and Dharmaputra, respectively, in 1419. They fell in love with Madhu (Sanon), Mala (Hegde) and Meena (Kharbanda), respectively. But just when they were about to get married, they were killed by a demon of a man named Gama (Rana Daggubati) who attacks them because of a conspiracy. The brothers now need to make amends for what went wrong 600 years ago.

There is no novelty in the story despite the film being touted as the first reincarnation comedy of Hindi cinema. The opening credits scene is straight out of Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017).

Even if you are able to ignore the problematic factors mentioned earlier, the film does not offer more than a few laughs. Strangely, the funniest moments are provided by references to Neil Nitin Mukesh, old film songs and the one-liners by Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s character. Other than that, the writing relies mostly on pigeon droppings and crude dialogues like "isne hug diya [he shat]" in a vain attempt to create humour. It just grates after a while.

Except for Akshay Kumar, the rest of the cast is forced to ham by the content, included a seasoned comic like Johnny Lever.

Housefull 2 and Housefull 3 did not offer much scope to the lead actresses to show off their acting skills. Housefull 4 stoops lower and turns its lead actresses into mere objects. But given this film's idea of 'comedy', this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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