(STAR RATING: A half for Riteish Deshmukh)
Bottom line: Beware. Dogs may take offence.
I love your shakal. Really. I love the way you achieved that endearing naive look in Dil Chahta Hai.I love the way you said the whacky lines, “ya to yeh dosti gehri hai ya phir yeh photo 3D hai.” Every repeated viewing continues to evoke the same kind of laughter as the first time in 2001.
I really wanted to laugh for your sake in Humshakals.Yes, the film with a Hindi title that pretends to be English with the ‘s’ added to it. After all, there were three of you. When you are Ashok Singhania, the millionaire, you do look the part, with your charming Nawabi presence. More so when you get into the magnificent red Ferrari while calling yourself a struggler in stand-up comedy. Reminds me of your writer and director, Sajid Khan who seems to have been making his moolah despite struggling to be slapstick funny in all his past movies.
When Khan dedicates Humshakals to Kishore Kumar, Peter Sellers and Jim Carrey, I suppose his intentions are all in good faith. Maybe he relates to your character who knows that the audience boos away his bad and sad jokes but continues bravely for the ‘passion’. And he is certainly as lucky as Ashok because he always gets away with it. Just like that sole pretty girl (Tamannah) who laughs and claps; there is always that section of audience simply dying to laugh. Their own lives must be pretty tragic. So much so that they don’t mind coughing up hard earned money to sit through an asylum circus.
Just what was that slapping scene between, you, Riteish Deshmukh, Ram Kapoor and Satish Shah, all about? Was it a definition of ‘slapstick comedy’? Did you ask Sajid? And the scene where your look-a-like with five-year-old mind plays with the machine wires next to your wealthy father lying in coma and calls it video game? Maybe you were told that this is a father–son story and the villain, Mamaji (Ram Kapoor) would wrong you by sending you to a mental asylum after turning you and your loyal friend, Riteish into dogs. Do you really believe that is even remotely funny? Esha Gupta, playing the doctor, certainly must have thought so, since she was quite sincere in constantly offering you both a big bone.
For that matter, did you ask yourself why you even agreed to act in this film? Didn’t you just miss the humour inDil Chahta Hai? Or even a rather silly, over the top act with Shah Rukh Khan in “Kal Ho Na Ho”? Your perfect sense of comic timing was most visible in “Main Khiladi Tu Anadi”. It could have been the same with a fine actor like Riteish Deshmukh who plays Kumar to your Ashok.The two of you could have done an “Angoor” like Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma, given your talent. Unfortunately, you did not have Shakespeare as writer and Gulzar as director. You had someone whose Himmatwala could actually make Jeetendra’s Himmatwala more tolerable. Guess he seemed to have realized that, considering he was sporting enough to incorporate that ‘torture’ scene. The one in which Satish Shah as the sadistic asylum warden makes you watch ‘Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala’ as a form of punishment he calls ‘torture’.
So on a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a torture did you go through when you donned a swimsuit, a wig, high heels and waxed your legs? Or when you had to bark and run like a dog and roll around on a conference table for what seemed like an eternity? Or when you had to jump and scream in kid voice, “Hum paagal nahin hain,hamara dimag kharab hai”?
You have said in your interviews that you wanted to ‘experiment’. That was awfully brave of you, indeed. Because judging from your choice of scripts ranging from Omkara (your Langda Tyagi was the best experiment ever with that unruly, rustic characterization) to Being Cyrus (the coolest negative role ever) to my all time favourite, Ek Hasina Thi; Humshakals might have been a tough decision. But then, which actor would not be tempted by a triple role. Even if one of them is effeminate and downright boring. Plus there is your wonderful co-actor Riteish who is a natural at making an ass or a dog of himself. Did he also think that lathering maska all over Ram’s face was a great gag?
And if that level of retard humour wasn’t enough, it got worse with Ram lookalike in the asylum, getting murderous fits over a sneeze. The lollypop act must have been a cakewalk for him as it has been done to death. He can be forgiven for lapping up these kind of roles. Bipasha Basu seems to have had second thoughts, though. After all, she got reduced to a few Bengali words and some short skirts. Those claws must be itching to scratch some eyes out.
I would much rather you have a blast like you did, as the golden haired Boris in Go, Goa, Gone. When you sang and danced with Tamannah to “Mujhe apni bana le caller tune”, tapping one hand on another, what were you thinking? Didn’t you just miss your act in Agent Vinod’s “pyaar ki pungi”? That was so you, cute and comic.
Since your three faces didn’t make Sajid’s film any more tolerable than all the past films, I sincerely look forward to seeing your original shakal back on screen soon. The lovable, funny, earnest, sincere and cool Saif Ali Khan.
(THIS HAS FIRST APPEARED ON TELLYCHAKKAR.COMhttp://www.tellychakkar.com/movie/movie-news/humshakals-what-were-you-thinking-dear-saif-387)