Movie Review: Humshakals (2014)
Humshakals is the story of the confusion and mayhem that takes place when three individuals have a lookalike of a lookalike, all with the same name. Ashok (Saif Ali Khan) and Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh) are best friends and both are unaware of their lookalikes Ashok (Saif Ali Khan) and Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh), who are also best friends and are unaware of their lookalikes Ashok (Saif Ali Khan) and Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh), who again are best friends. And then there is Mamaji (Ram Kapoor) who is a lookalike of another Mamaji (Ram Kapoor) who in turn is a lookalike of another Mamaji (Ram Kapoor). In short, it’s the story of three individuals having triple roles.
Bollywood’s obsession with double roles [many, many films], triple roles [recall Amitabh Bachchan’s triple role in MAHAAN or Rajinikanth’s triple role in JOHN JANI JANARDHAN], even multiple roles [Sanjeev Kumar reprised as many as nine roles in NAYA DIN NAI RAAT] is too well known. But Sajid Khan’s HUMSHAKALS is, perhaps, the first Hindi movie that has each of the three male leads [Saif, Riteish and Ram Kapoor] reprising triple roles.
Like his cinema or not, Sajid’s laughathons have regaled the spectators since his big screen debut [HEYY BABYY; 2007]. Over the years, the HOUSEFULL franchise — HOUSEFULL and HOUSEFULL-2 — have only cemented his status as an entertainer who endeavours to make the audience flex their facial muscles in those 2+ hours. The only sore point in his career has been HIMMATWALA, but one expects him to bounce back with renewed vigour with HUMSHAKALS.
Handling a complicated screenplay is indeed demanding — an arduous task, frankly — but Sajid has, in the past, handled multiple characters in most of his films. Nonetheless, the script of HUMSHAKALS falls into a new terrain completely and the going can be slippery if it lacks the grip. Of course, the intent — providing laughs and offering entertainment — remains the same, but the triple roles have to ensure abundant entertainment for you to relish the ride. While Sajid keeps the storytelling simple and uncomplicated, the fun quotient is missing for most parts, appearing in bits and spurts only.