“We are not mad, but we are just crazy,” is a line that Ashok Singhania (Saif Ali Khan), stashed in a mental asylum in London, repeats consistently in director Sajid Khan’s latest comedy Humshakals. Now, viewers/readers do me a favour: repeat that line in your head, adding: “We are not mad, but we are just crazy for sitting through the film”. For, there’s no redemption in sight for this farcical potboiler marked by exaggerated performances, cheesy jokes and over-stretched song sequences.
The assault on our senses begin when the dashing UK-based business tycoon Singhania falls into a trap laid out by his evil uncle played by Ram Kapoor. He’s slyly fed a mind-altering drug that makes him behave like an over-excited dog. His best friend Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh) also ingests some of that drug and is shown barking as he wolfs down sandwiches. The pair is then hurtled off to a mental asylum that seems to be run by a bunch of loonies with questionable treatment methods.
Just as our mind got around to all that madness, we are then told that their look-alikes are also lodged in the neighbouring ward with the same names. The second pair is brain-impaired and their arrested development has transformed them into annoying kids. If that didn’t grate on your nerves, a third pair of look-alikes (effeminate gays) is also introduced in the second half. By then, any viewer would be past caring who’s who.
The slightly redeeming scenes were the ones that saw the three men dress up like women. The boys need to take a bow here. Meanwhile, the women — Esha Gupta, Bipasha Basu and Tamannah Bhatia — are relegated to playing eye candies.
If you are willing to suspend belief for nearly three hours, then this mad bunch may make your day. But for others, it’s just torturous. At some point in the movie, we saw a DVD of Himmatwala (Sajid’s recent box-office debacle) being displayed as a weapon of torture for mentally unstable inmates who break hospital rules. Shouldn’t Humshakals feature on that list too?