Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Humsha-what now? (Team Bips Forever)

How did I forget Humshakals was coming out? I must have blocked it from my memory to preserve my own sanity because it would have been the perfect example of "HOW NOT TO DO DRAG" to go along with my thoughts on Divine.

Brushing off the cobwebs--and double checking on wikipedia--Humshakals is a Sajid Khan joint, produced by Bollywood's least popular papa, Vashu Bhagnani, whose presence is reason enough to hope it flops hard. (Please save us from another Jackky Bhagnani-starrer.)

The premise is that… well, let's let Saif Ali Khan tell us:

"Usually in double-role films, one of the twins is rich, the other one may be a tapori etc. But here, Sajid has given all of us three different characters, and named us alphabetically ... so the same name but with the suffix A, B and C. A is an ordinary guy, B is brain-damaged and C is the effiminate kind ... so they all are identical yet different. It was liberating to act in these roles."

So, you have Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, and Ram Kapoor in three roles each, at least two of which are being played really broadly comic, a skill most definitely not in Saif Ali Khan's acting tool kit. Right off the bat, we should all be dubious of how humorous this film will actually be. (Although I suppose we should all be grateful that at least we weren't forced to see Ajay Devgn trying to be funny in a dress.)

Humshakals raised some mixed feelings for me when I first heard about it. I did really enjoy Housefull 2, a lot. Unlike many other critics and bloggers out there, Sajid's brand of broad comedy has sat just fine with me in the past. Even in the ill-advised Himmatwala (which I wrote about here), there is a certain appealing brashness to Sajid's vision. He favors heroines holding whips, throws work to a lot of my favorite bit players and character actors (from Ranjeet and Chunkey Pandey to Zarina Wahab), usually has sis Farah help out on a song or two, and he's aggressively low brow in his humor. And with his big mouth and massive ego, Sajid also provides oodles of entertainment on the interview circuit.

However. HOWEVER. There does seem to be something really off with Humshakals, beyond just the standard Sajid Bikini Fetish. Unlike the loopy fun of Housefull 2 or the earnestness behind Himmatwala, the emotion behind Humshakals just seems bitter and angry at the audience. Most likely because we were indifferent to his baby, Himmatwala. "You only want Aditya Chopra-style nostalgia? FINE! Have it, assholes." "You critics think my humor is offensive, JUST WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THIS! Gay people, ha ha ha! Mentally ill people, har de har har." I'm honestly surprised he didn't include a fourth role for each of them but in black face. I mean, just to tick off ALL the boxes that offend the politically correct.

Now, I've certainly enjoyed drag humor in the past and a "comedy" mentally ill character doesn't have to be awful (see Double Dhamaal for fine examples of both) but… it can't be mean. This feels mean, like the powerful bullying the weak and where's the fun of that?

Well, Bipasha Basu would seem to agree and the big story today is that she's disavowed the film in a tweet, saying:

I take full responsibility of getting into a film only on the basis of trust. But after dubbing for my character in the film, as I had professionally committed to do so I'm extremely disturbed by the end result of the same. In these circumstances I didn't know how to promote a film with all honesty and that's why I thought it was better to stay away.

I've always liked Bips and this is why. Even though she's not the greatest, most natural actress out there, she is nice to watch on screen. Bipasha works hard, she respects herself, and I feel like the fact that she has stuck around in Bollywood to the ripe, old age of 35 (yeah, sister, fellow 1979-er right here!) without scandal and without the protection of a Godfather, just speaks oodles about her class and character… i.e. she's got lots of it.

Bips doesn't say what it is that bothered her and the tabloids are hinting (aka projecting on to her statement) that it's sour grapes because she didn't have as a big a role as promised. That doesn't sit right with me, based on her past films. I can't remember her being less than gracious about sharing the stage--whether it was Race or Dhoom 2 or All the Best or any of the ensemble casts she was a part of. Why would she be throwing a hissy fit over Humshakals of all things?

I mean, look at her effortlessly keep that basic bitch Esha Gupta in her place in this song.

And now I'm really torn because Riteish Deshmukh is one of "my" heroes, one of the ones I love to see in ANYTHING because he's so good and yet angst over because he gets such crap roles. How can I wish him to fail? Yet, I would love to see Saifu and his crap comedy skills bite it. And, more importantly, I'd love to see Sajid flop big time just to fully rub his nose in the lessons he didn't take away from the disastrous box office of Himmatwala.

At least we Riteish fans have LAI BHAARI to look forward to:

*dishoom dishoom* Humsha-what now?


odadune said...

Riteish also has Ek Villain going for him. :)

It's interesting that you find Humshakals angry in tone, given that Esha has described Sajid as the kind of director who yells at people when he's, and the making of video for Pyaar Ke Bazaar has Saif cussing about having dorky shoes. To me the promos just feel tired-the cast is game (I actually like Saif in them) but it just feels like a bunch of Housefull 2 outtakes with poorer production values and zero choreography.

they had to run the film past the censor board twice, which is not heard of but kind of supports the idea that Bips might have had a problem with the content.

Jess said...

I don't buy the "Bips is unhappy she's not in it enough" theory either... she filmed her role, it was only when she saw other parts of the film during dubbing that she had a problem. And like odadune said, with the double censor, it looks like she was offended by the content.

I feel mostly bad for Tamanna being put in the middle of this Bips-Sajid stuff, as if she's the cause of it. Everything I've seen of her over the past years says she's a nice girl who wants to entertain people, and has a knack for picking bad scripts. Saif/Ritesh/Ram will bounce back fine, and Esha is too new for this to stick to her. And everyone loves Bips. The only person whose Hindi career may go down the toilet after this is Tamanna. Hopefully It's Entertainment will do something positive for her.

I thought Housefull 2 was great and really funny, but man Sajid just keeps shooting himself in the foot with his attitude, both during the Himmatwala promotions and this one.

odadune said...

FWIW, Humshakals has had a pretty decent Friday and Saturday, and the anecdotal evidence sounds like the Sunday will be as well; the general feeling among observers is that it's doing better than Himmatwala did (and remember: Himmatwala more or less broke even for the producers; if Sajid hadn't had a scathingly reviewed 100 crore film in his recent past and been shooting his mouth off about making another one, it would not have been a big deal). I mean, it needs to not crash too badly on the weekdays and second weekend for everyone involved to break even, but it probably won't be as much of an albatross around Sajid's and his cast's neck as it might have been. As an added bonus, Zee Music Company, which was launched with the Holiday and Humshakals soundtracks was supposedly founded with the idea of offering the artists more equitable deals than the established companies did, so some of that money and publicity is potentially going to a good home. :)

Tamannaah's not really been singled out in the Humshakals reviews (if anyone goes beyond dismissing the women as ornamental, it's to scold Bipasha for taking the film or Esha for being particularly wooden). She would probably get more attention from It's Entertainment just because the song picturizations are going to be a bigger part of the film's marketing (Tips being a music company first and a film production company second) and she's the only prominent female in them.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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