Reviewing the Reviews: Maximum zero stars for Humshakals

23 Jun,2014

By Deepa Gahlot



Director: Sajid Khan

Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Ram Kapoor


If there’s a universally reviled film this year, it’s Sajid Khan’s Humshakals, more so perhaps because some of his earlier films were undeserved hits, and after the dud Himmatwala, the assumption was that he would have learnt his lesson and at least attempted to make a half-way decent film.


This one got the maximum zero stars, and the kindest critics gave it 2 stars. The Times of India’s 3 stars don’t count, because nobody takes the paper’s reviews seriously any more.


Raja Sen of tore into the film, “I’m not buying it, Sajid Khan. No director, I believe, can be senseless enough to think this is fine or remotely funny. Monkeys could direct a better film, and, going by what I’ve watched over the years, some have. But Humshakals couples its crude farce with a certain aggression, as if daring the audience to stay in their seats while it repeatedly spits at them. This is not filmmaking, this is sadism.”


Aniruddha Guha of Time Out was scathing too, “Khan made three films before Himmatwala that some people found appealing enough for them to make money (Hey Babyy, Housefull andHousefull 2), and hence Khan decided the best way to get lucky is to get back to the old formula: The film must be set in London, a large part of which should be shot in a single house – a large mansion; there must be several characters; at least one song must be shot in the corridors of the house with the actors dressed in night suits. The climax of one of his earlier films was set in the royal palace of England, and so obviously this time he goes for the House of Commons. The interior, in both cases, resembles a room at, possibly, Chandivali studio.”


Deepanjana Pal of Firstpost ranted, “The evil uncle keeps plotting against his nephew while his nephew counter plots with the help of his best friend and the three entirely ornamental heroines. All these plans and stratagems aren’t to further the plot but to provide Sajid Khan with opportunities to throw in his familiar brand of homophobic, sexist and generally offensive attempts at humour. Adding to the irritation are Himesh Reshammiya’s grating compositions and a soundtrack that is filled with idiotic sound effects.”


Shubhra Gupta commented, “From past experience, you have to go into a Sajid Khan film wondering just how much of a dip there can be from the previous ones. This one is way beyond. Idiocy is a gentle term for what is unleashed upon us. You can also call it a two-and-a- half hour show reel of plot-less, witless, joylessness. I am all for political incorrectness. Silliness can be great fun. But brainless doesn’t have to translate to brain-dead, when it is done with smarts. ‘Humshakals’ has zero. Even in his really terrible moments, Sajid has managed to come up with one laugh out loud moment. Or two. Here there are none.”


Saibal Chatterjee of wrote, “So you thought Sajid Himmatwala Khan could sink no further. Watch just 15 minutes of Humshakalsand you’d be disavowed of that notion. Even by the pitiable cinematic standards that the director has so defiantly set for himself, Humshakalsis the very pits. It scrapes the bottom of a barrel that seems to have no bottom at all. Humshakals is an execrable comedy of horrors that plumbs the depths of stupidity and crassness. If there is any purpose that this load of unalloyed trash serves, it is simply this: the film proves how delusional Sajid Khan is. He thinks this is cinema. Sorry, Mr. Khan, no matter how much money your film ends up with at the box office, the joke is entirely on you!”


Nandini Ramnath writing in Mint commented, “Since everything is multiplied three times in Sajid Khan’s latest comedy, it’s totally fair to complain that Humshakals is thrice as excruciating as films in this genre. The movie, which barely improves on its trailer, is a failed over-the-top comedy in which every single moment is spelt out in skyscraper-high letters. The plot is partly set in an asylum but is bereft of the insane, David Dhawan-esque glee required to carry through its premise of triple roles. Khan pokes fun at himself in a couple of scenes, but he is unable to mine humour from the possibilities of two sets of lookalikes.”


Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu wrote mockingly, “Trying to review or analyse this Sajid Khan film is like sending a child-crafted-claymated monkey for a brain scan and hoping to find proof of brain activity.If there was any justice in this world, the review for this film, as a fellow critic friend suggested, would just be a photograph of critics making farcical tongues-out-retarded-squint-faces at the camera with the caption: Hum Pagal Nahin Hai, Humala Dimaag Khalaab Hai. (We are not mad. Our brains don’t work).”


Rahul Desai of Mumbai Mirror raged, “Sajid Khan and his writers produce the usual orgy of offensive, sexist and homophobic gags – including a bunch of randy midgets trying to rape three girls (the heroines, did I mention?), Prince Charles-lookalikes spouting Marathi in The House Of Commons, Cocaine Paranthas and Riteish doggy dry-humping a man’s leg.  Humshakals is a defiant film made by a man who is fast becoming a rebel without a cause. His audacity is almost frightening, but I was reassured by the pin-drop silence in the hall-one that’d accompany the screening of a gutwrenching war drama. This is, in many ways, not too different.”


The review of Sarita Tanwar of DNA was one of the milder ones, “Sajid Khan is known for a certain kind of comedy. And it has always worked for him. He has his audience and he unapologetically caters to them. So while you might find the jokes corny or cheesy, the drag act a drag, and the comedy of errors a little overdone, his fans lap it up. There are many funny scenes in the film, even if it doesn’t work for you in entirety, you will enjoy it in parts.”


Shubha Shetty Saha of Mid-day spoke for many when she wrote, “Imagine this. You slip and fall into a ditch. And then you get up cursing yourself for missing the step. And two steps later, you again slip and fall into a ditch. You get up and two steps later, you again slip and fall into a ditch… you are hopping mad and shocked by the end of this experience? Well, that kind of sums up one’s experience of watching ‘Humshakals’… ”


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