“HouseFull 4 is full of exaggerated antics in this amalgamation of the modern and the antique” – A Subhash K Jha Review

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HouseFull 4
Starring  Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Riteish Deshmukh, Kriti Sanon, Kriti Kharbanda, Pooja Hegde
Directed  by  Farhad Samji

 Roar of approval from the audience accompanied  every  exaggerated antic in this  amalgamation of the modern  and the antique. So any critical  response is redundant.

Anyway, take  a deep breath and  dive.

First things first. House Full 4 is  a  very ambitious  film, ambitious in  scale (it moves  across two eras 600 years  apart, past and  present), in treatment (the cinematography and  art design would be considered  exquisite if only there was room  for refinement in this 7-‘coarse’ meal)  and in  the sheer  grandiosity that the  film exudes. Comedy here is  serious  business. It is  woven around sets  and  costumes borrowed from  Bhansali or Rajamouli’s warehouse.

In trying to be  a funny giggly  hee-hawing version of Baahubali and Bajirao Mastani, House Full 4  ends  up  looking like  a  dish that got overbaked while the  chef  was reading funny WhatsApp messages in his  work-time. Though a bustling  comedy filled to the brim with  banter, the  camaraderie among the three  heroes  never rings true. Every so  often they seem to  be talking in  rapid fire motions to themselves instead  of  each other. It’s like the  boys (all above 40) have  forgotten  to have fun while  aiming for just that.

Although the lengthy film (too too long  and over-ripe for a  comedy) boasts  of  six  screenwriters (including Tushar Hiranandani who  has directed this week’s other  fine film Saandh Ki Aankh)  most  of the  prankish  escapades  seem to have been  thought out on  the sets. The dialogues  seem improvised and  do not shy away from  taking  digs at  various venerated  institutions. But the  mood of defiance smacks of  immaturity.

 The sense  of defiant  rowdyism is  only skin deep. Scratch the surface, and  we get  a fiercely traditional comedy  about three heroes, their three love interests, two lives and  several misadventures. While Akshay  Kumar in spite of the  multi-starrer format, hogs most  of  the limelight, and pigs on the  cheap shots  involving  a born-again  discombobulation, it is Riteish Deshmukh who  makes the strongest impact. His ‘Bandgu Maharaj’ is one  of  the  funniest  characters cultivated  in Bollywood’s farce factory. If you need a  solid reason to see this film (why would you need a reason to laugh at  retarded antics of men who forgot to grow up?) Deshmukh is it.

Bobby Deol’s takeoff on his father Dharmendra’s Dharamveer never takes  off. He  looks distracted and bored. As  for the girls, Kriti Sanon being paired with  Mr Kumar, gets more footage than the  other two leading ladies who are  mere specks in the  comic cosmos.

House Full 4  is packaged  like a Diwali mithai ka dabba layer after layer of  temptation  that  you  can’t  help binging on. But it finally leaves  you sick at the pit of your stomach.
While  its obsession with  raising laughter  in every frame  does get the better  of its finer  judgment  you finally feel everyone is trying to remain relentlessly funny even as many talented actors  like Boman Irani,  Johnny Lever , Rana Daggubatti and Sharad Kelkar  hardly get  room to register  in  the  large-screen  comedy  circus.

More like  a droll reincarnation  of Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani  with an identical look and colour palate,  House Full 4 is definitely an improvement on the first three  films of this fatuous  franchise. It  would have you chuckling  unwillingly, though the laughter  is more  for  a bunch of  brave  upbeat  actors trying to  keep us engaged  like school kids at  a parents’ day event. Everyone   given two  lifetimes  to  fool around with. And hell, they  do know how to whip  up  a frenzy  even if the costumes don’t quite  fit them.

Our Rating

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