Humshakals is so bad that it’s actually not that bad. Everything I write hereon will not be a review. I refuse to judge a film like this on its cinematic merits. I will definitely not convince you why it’s a good film. In the cynical world of film criticism, it probably isn’t. It makes that tiny section of viewers go bonkers. What I can and will do is justify why I sometimes enjoy ludicrous comedies like this one. If you hate movies like this, might as well stop reading and not go watch the film. If you have enjoyed Heyy Baby (2007), the Housefull films but hated Himmatwala (2013) like I did, you can read on.
The truth is that people don’t want to like a Sajid Khan film. I don’t know how to rate or review Sajid Khan’s Humshakals myself. It's not a "3 star film" but I just didn't hate the film. It's more like a 2.75 but I can't give that rating. Half of the audience will hate it because it’s directed by Sajid Khan. Others won’t watch it because it’s directed by Sajid Khan. I would rather give him a pass this time. Not just because he didn’t torture me like he did with Himmatwala last year. He also includes a scene here where Satish Shah, who plays Y.M. Raj - the asylum warden, is torturing his inmates played by Saif Ali Khan and Riteish Deshmukh. What does he torture them with? He shows them Himmatwala. Who doesn’t have a sense of humor now?
For me, Humshakals is a guilty pleasure. It’s difficult for me not to laugh at people acting like bumbling idiots. Especially when they are aware of it. This isn’t a madcap laugh riot like it could have been. Yes, there are many moments where I facepalmed and cringed but they were outnumbered by the times I laughed. There are some gags that are absolutely hilarious and I know I will be laughing at them when I see it some time on TV in the future. (Admit it, you laugh whenever you watch Heyy Baby or Housefull on the telly, since you didn’t stop reading).
The gags I found the funniest are: scenes that include cocaine and vodka ke parathe, a scene where a Spider-Man (2002) reference is pissed upon, and the main actors dressing up as women. Any movie that can make me laugh at the oldest/ done-to-death/ not-funny-anymore trick in the comedy of errors, of men playing women, is not a complete failure in my book.
I would also give credit to actors Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor. If these actors weren’t so convinced about the ridiculousness of the script, this film would have had my contempt. I have always been an admirer of Saif Ali Khan. He is a natural comedian. Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) are better examples of it but hey, it doesn’t hurt to have some fun. Ram Kapoor plays the evil K.A.N.S. Mama and the OCD patient Johnny. His comic timing is as good as his villainous act. How could I resist my laughter where we cut straight into a scene starting with him dressed as a woman falling over a bed in slow motion? Yes, it’s that kind of film. I will not spoil what happens to the bed.
There are two typically Bollywood songs – Caller Tune and Piya Ke Bazaar Mein. Himesh Reshammiya can make catchy music when he wants to.
As I mentioned earlier, people hate Sajid Khan more than they dislike his movies. His selfish remarks and arrogance are beyond annoying. But nothing better than a man learning from his mistakes and doing what he’s good at, right? It’s a different matter that what he is good at, isn’t exactly good in your books. Good for him, that the single screen audience does not keep such books.
My caveat also included that this isn’t a review but a justification. I hope I was able to justify why I did not hate this film. Some might laugh during the film but they will still come out and say they hated it. I don’t blame them because as a film, there’s nothing much in it. Others who are the actual target audience of the film will laugh and admit it when they exit. I prefer to wear my laugh on my face and don’t let my fingers hide it either. As far as this year’s mainstream comedies go, I liked it more than Main Tera Hero. If you are looking for an enjoyable mindless entertainer, Humshakals is the imperfect antidote to your sanity.
Rating: 2.75 stars (** 3/4)