Banner: Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment
Producers: Sajid Nadiadwala, Wardha Nadiadwala, Firuzi Khan
Director: Farhad Samji
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Kriti Kharbanda, Pooja Hegde, Ranjeet, Chunky Panday, Johnny Lever, Rana Daggubati, Sharad Kelkar
Writers: Sajid Nadiadwala & Sara Bodinar (Story), Farhad Samji (Dialogue), Aakash Kaushik & Madhur Sharma (Screenplay), Farhad Samji, Tushar Hiranandani, Sparsh Khetarpal & Tasha Bhambra (Additional Screenplay)
Music: Sohail Sen
Popular film franchises are tricky. And when you are already three films down and each of those films is loved by the audience, then the expectations around the fourth instalment becomes sky high. Housefull 4 has hits screens this Diwali with all these baggages. In its favour is the fact that Akshay Kumar and Riteish Deshmukh, the leading men of the first three films, continue their fun run in this film as well. In terms of story, the film has a novel idea- a reincarnation comedy. Does this translate into an entertaining film? Let us find out.
Harry, Max and Roy are brothers. They run a hair salon in London. The three are in deep financial crisis as they owe Michael Bhai five million pounds thanks to Harry's forgetful nature. The only way for them to get out of this mess is to get married to rich businessman Thakral's daughters Kriti, Neha and Pooja. The guys manage to impress the girls and their father. The wedding is fixed and it is decided that it will be held in Sitamgarh in India. When they arrive in Sitamgarh, the place triggers a 700-year-old memory in Harry's mind. He discovers that he was Rajkumar Bala and has reincarnated as Harry. He also remembers the past lives of his brothers and that of the girls they are getting married to. This revelation leads Harry to realise that they are getting married to the wrong girls. Now he has just 36 hours before the wedding to make everyone remember their past lives and at the same time ensure that whatever went wrong 700 years ago doesn't happen again.
Bollywood has tried the reincarnation formula often on screen with most films finding success. The key to this has been a well-written plot with interesting twists and of course good performances. Drama, romance and suspense have been the main themes that this formula has relied on. But with Housefull 4 the writers give a comic twist to a reincarnation story. There is plenty of scope for gags, slapstick and a comedy of errors. Despite all this, the film does not hit the mark all the time. The story of 1419 is much funnier than what we see in the 2019 version. The dialogue pays constant homage to Bollywood songs and situations and seeing that in 1419 is amusing. But somewhere as the story moves to 2019, the story starts dragging. The situations created for the characters to recollect their past life seem forced. Even the comedy seems contrived and uninspiring. Not that there are no genuinely funny moments, but there should have been more such instances considering how hard the previous parts made us laugh.
The film has been shot well and looks magnificent. Be it the palaces or the jungles, Housefull 4 is unapologetically glossy. The action sequences are well choreographed and pack quite a punch. The songs fit within the narrative. But if there was a song or two less and some ruthless editing was done, Housefull 4 could have been a tighter film.
Akshay Kumar does most of the heavy lifting in the film. As Harry and Bala he is a hoot. His expressions, body language, the balance between naughty and nice, evil and innocent, all of that with his signature humour, make his performance stand out. Riteish Deshmukh as Bangdu Maharaj and Roy does a good job. His chemistry with Kumar is the highlight of the film. Though he doesn't get to exploit the characters, especially Bangdu Maharaj to the fullest, the actor makes good use of the opportunity he has. Bobby Deol as Dharamputra and Max is decent. He is supposed to be the action star of this film, but his prowess is underutilised. Kriti Sanon, Kriti Kharbanda and Pooja Hegde as Madhu/Kriti, Meena/Neha and Mala/Pooja respectively do their parts well. While they have limited screentime, they have some pretty cool action sequences, which they ace. Of the remaining cast, Ranjeet as the father of the girls and Chunky Panday as Aakhri Pasta are okay. It is a delight to watch vintage Johnny Lever. Rana Daggubati as Gama/Pappu is wasted. If it weren't for his dynamic screen presence, the character would have fallen flat. Sharad Kelkar is okay. Nawazuddin Siddiqui does a fabulous job in his cameo.
Verdict: A fun ride