big bolly, bad bolly

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By An open letter to the review-proof director of housefull Pratim D. Gupta Did you like/not like Housefull? Tell
  • Published 1.05.10

Dear Sajid Khan, we know reviews don’t matter to you. You cancel press shows because, well, you don’t care what critics say about your film. You make it for the audiences, you say. So, here’s an open letter from (just) an audience member because truth be told your so-called masterpiece doesn’t exactly qualify as an accompanying text for James Monaco’s How to Read a Film.

First up, what’s admirable is your confidence in yourself and your film. You assure your producer that Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers ki aisi ki taisi, Housefull will make at least Rs 60 crore at the box office. Then as a mahurat moment, you message all your stars: “Today you start work on the biggest hit of your career!” How cool — or cocksure, if you please — is that.

Talking of cool, you must have thought of Housefull after watching — we didn’t forget your tweets of how you watch a blu-ray disc every night — The Cooler. That charming 2003 film about a man who is employed at a casino to bring bad luck to the players and good luck to the casino.

So Akshay Kumar (Shabbir Kumar neighing out loud Loser kahin ka...) is William H. Macy (sorry Bill, we’re co-operating!) here. He’s a panauti — a word you will hear 257 times in the film — who spells doom for anybody and anything he walks past or into. He is looking for a Kismat Konnection and lands up in chaddi buddy Riteish’s house in London.

The vacuum cleaner from 3 Idiots swings into action as the man sucks in, as a gesture of friendship, everything from bum cheeks to talking parrots! The joke doesn’t end there. Both Akshay and Riteish are electrocuted and start hip-hopping and beebopping on the streets of London.

Now Riteish is a card dealer at the casino and his wife Lara is a waitress in a Playboy bunny dress. Their boss (Randhir Kapoor playing a sad man’s Rishi Kapoor) gets Akshay married to his daughter (Jiah Khan). Just like that. Indian values and all. No such luck with the girl who wastes no time in parading in a bikini with a firangi on the honeymoon beaches of Italy.

Just the cue for more bikini babes as Deepika emerges from the waters to save suicidal Akshay and Lara flies in — with Riteish in tow — to complete the bikini troika! Spend on locations, save on clothes.

Then you have Lara’s father (Boman Irani) from their Gujarati village and Deepika’s brother (Arjun Rampal) from the Indian military intelligence all converging in London to justify the second half of the 160-minute borefest.

Honestly Sajid, Housefull is like a never-ending Micromax mobile commercial. (No offence to the telecom company.) And Akshay is not even guffawing. Just get some stars together, bombard starved audiences with promos and publicity, pile on the shows and anything goes. Anything. Right Mr Host-’’-Dost?

You keep trashing the likes of Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Ashutosh Gowariker but you are not even fit to cut a trailer for them. You boast of the crores your film will make at the box office. So do Ravi Kishen’s Bhojpuri blockbusters. Should we compare thee to....?

If PETA can protest against parrot-sucking, Sajid you have so kindly given a reason to every human rights organisation to bay for your film’s bad blood. Housefull is racist, sexist and homophobic. The Gujarati grandpa almost flings away the black baby and calls the baby’s mother Surpanakha. Later Santa and Banta keep cracking Sardarji jokes. Where are our sensitive protestants who make a hue and cry about the correct length of a Sikh beard?

Your first film Heyy Babyy, despite the stink of the flying potty jokes, was genuinely funny at times. But it was not funny enough for you to repeat the PJs. Or is that your signature style, a director’s special? Whether it’s the tiger roar joke — “beta, sher sunao” — or Akshay-Riteish doing the gay routine in the bathroom, you have left your best lines back on the small screen. You have even repeated the Heyy Babyy dance moves... daiyya re daiyya!

Not just Boman’s Gujarati Pappa, the rest of your cast and crew are sleepwalking too, Sajid. Akshay looks like the sugarcane whose last drop got squeezed out in the last movie. Riteish, the face — and body — of Bollywood’s everlasting gay joke, should try a career on some cartoon network. Lara and Jiah may have toned bikini bods but the tiniest of two-pieces cannot cover up their lack of acting sills.

Boman is the only funny man on display playing the grumpy Walter Matthau-esque father figure with aplomb and tickling the funny bone just that much in the second half. He is helped by Arjun Rampal playing the suave speculator with the right amount of panache. Deepika continues to impress, not just for her Kingfisher swimsuit calendar wardrobe but her completely natural demeanour.

After two sound outings in My Name is Khan and Karthik Calling Karthik, Shankar Ehsaan Loy again hit the wrong chord with Housefull. Sajid you are a celebrity DJ and you can’t help spin a single original chartbuster?! The only foot tapper is that stolen 30-year-old Laawaris song Apni toh jaise taise.

You know what Sajid, you were really funny in that TV show of yours Kehne Mein Kya Harz Hai where you used to label every filmmaker, from Mahesh Bhatt to Prakash Mehra, a copycat and laugh away at the “ham scenes”. Well, be assured that a few weeks from now, no one will bother to even make fun of your second film. Remember Joginder, that pet bully of yours? He is funnier.

Yours seriously...