Director Sajid Khan, unbeknownst to you and me, has acquired a formidable fan following. The Sajid Khan demographic is unmistakable: hormonal boys who get excited by hot girls in short skirts, roll with laughter when animals bite ripe bums, and weep uncontrollably when daddyji throws open his arms for a big bear hug. This group in India, in terms of age, could stretch from 13 to 83.
Sajid Khan’s films — Heyy Babyy and Housefull 1 and 2, not counting the Darna Zaroori Hai aberration — are aimed at them and are about boys and/or babies in search of large, rackety joint families where there are many big daddies. That’s it, actually. That’s what Sajid Khan is up to these days — in search of one big happy family.
Once I had this rather belated epiphany, that the title Housefull (1 and 2) is not so much a box-office wish or demand as a familial need, I got over my anger and objection to his nonsensical plots, idiotic characters and simpering girls. It all just seemed silly, and a bit sweet’n’sad.
Like it was in Housefull 2010, we are back in London. But this time we are introduced to two squabbling sautele bhai, Daboo (Randhir Kapoor) and Chintu (Rishi Kapoor). They resent each other because one is jayaz, other naajayaz. Their wives follow their cue, and so do their daughters — Bobby (Jacqueline Fernandez, d/o Daboo), and Heena (Asin, d/o Chintu), both eager but misguided animal rights activists.
Daboo and Chintu, who go out of their way to humiliate each other, decide that the best revenge would be to find a really rich lad for their respective daughters. So both summon Aakri Pasta (Chunky Pandey), who arranges for Chintu to meet the parents of a suitable boy. But confusion and Chintu’s shouting induce a heart attack and suitable boy Jai (Shreyas Talpade) swears revenge. His plan is to get his rich friend Jolly (Ritesh Deshmukh) to pose as groom and then ditch Chintu and his daughter.
But Jolly, who can’t muster the courage to introduce his own girlfriend, JLo (Zarine Khan), to his stern big-businessman daddy, JD (Mithun Chakraborty), suggests the name of a real kamina for the job. That’s Max (John Abraham), a dim and swaggering pickpocket. He agrees, but lands up at Daboo’s house. Revenge is incomplete, so a bigger kamina is contacted to teach Chintu a lesson. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Sunny (Akshay Kumar).
Let’s break here to go to the Class of 2002, when Jai, Jolly, Sunny and Max were college buddies. On a retro night in college, they dressed up as boys from Grease 2 and sang a song dedicated to, yes, Papa (Pa-Pa toh band jajayen). Max and Sunny were best-friends till a closet episode made a mess of things.
Back to the present: Sunny is posing as Jolly in Chintu’s house, with the real Jolly posing as his driver. Across the divide, in Daboo’s house, Max is posing as Jolly, with Jai posing as his driver. Chintu and Daboo are besotted with their fake Jollys, convinced that their Jolly is the real son of JD.
(Note: JD is short for Jagga Dakku, a dreaded dacoit who had surrendered to his cop friend Batuk Patel (Boman Irani) and had promised to marry Jolly to Batuk’s daughter, Parul Patel (Shazahn Padamsee). But Parul and Jai are now an item.)
In the middle of daft encounters that threaten to expose all, and much fighting and shouting and two biting reptiles, everybody finds time to romance, make up, generally act stupid and sing songs. But things come to a head when Daboo and Chintu, with the real and fake Jollys and Jai, land up at JD’s palace, followed by Batuk Patel and Parul…
Housefull 2, like its predecessor, is good- looking but mindless ha-ha-he-he. Big houses are rented where stars are brought in through various modes of transport, one more outrageous than the other. Outings are opportunities for girls to wear bikini tops and flash thundering thighs while boys can tumble about, joke, poke and tie up the story in so many knots that it ceases to matter who is who.
But story and characters were never really the concern here, not in the original, and definitely not in this sequel. Characters only talk in PJs (all) and have ticks (Rishi Kapoor wears a bow tie with everything, even shervani); and the story is simply this: Everybody starts out single, alone and crabby, but at the end all find one big happy patriarchal family.
No offence is intended here: not with the objectionable jokes, the tharki buddhas, Mallaika Arora’s frigid mujra, racist remarks, bimbette babes, or even the mild meanness of a few, because the intent is visceral, and so are the means. The real villains are misunderstandings and egos, stuff that can be fixed with a family lunch.
The main focus of this picaresque plot by Sajid Nadiadwala is on arranging fathers for sons. That is why everybody here is basically good, moral and ready for a group hug every time the director feels the urge for one.
No one’s need for daddy and family is greater than Sajid Khan’s, and that comes out almost endearingly in his constant use of old Bollywood — parodying stories of bichede bhai, dakku ka vachchan; using aged actors and paying warm homage to their on-screen reputations and giving them girls, families and stuff to crow about.
Some of the gags work — like the visit to the office of Ranjeet, Bollywood’s rapist No. 1, where we are distracted by his name plate, “Dr Ranjeet V.Asna K.Pujari”, and some idiotic dialogue and crotch-bum jokes. But these are preceded and followed by long, dry, dull spells.
Housefull didn’t use Akshay Kumar at all. He mostly stood in the margins, as if being punished for his bad luck at the box-office. Housefull 2 compensates for that — Akshay has the privilege of talking directly to us. His loutish jokes are shared with us, almost one-to-one, and that trick, I gathered from the laughter in the hall, works with a particular (mental) age group.