William Shakespeare's 'The Comedy Of Errors' was among his shortest, farce and popular plays which he had penned down in his initial phase of writing. This play about mistaken identity was adapted by many writers, including our own Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's 'Bhranti Bilas' (1963), which was later adapted into a full length feature film. Five years later, our Hindi filmmaker Bimal Roy produced it in Hindi in the form of 'Do Dooni Char', which starred Kishore Kumar in the lead role. This movie was written by none other than Gulzar who, after a gap of fourteen year made it with more detailing in the form of 'Angoor' starring Sanjeev Kumar in the lead role. 'Angoor' turned out to be one among India's finest adaptation of 'The Comedy Of Errors' and joined the elite list of the best comedies from our Hindi cinema. Almost three decades later, director Sajid Khan comes up with his new film 'Humshakals' which seems to be weakly inspired by 'The Comedy Of Errors', but instead of two main protagonists Sajid gives us three main protagonists and that too in triple role instead of the double roles. So let's find out whether 'Humshakals' is a modern day adaptation of the classic comedy or totally different and original on its own.
'Humshakals' is the story of a rich millionaire Ashok (Saif Ali Khan), who dreams of becoming a stand up comedian and is supported by his best friend Kumar (Ritesh Deshmukh) in pursuing his passion. Enters Mamaji (Ram Kapoor), who wants to get hold of Ashok's property and thus tries to declare them mentally unstable. Ashok and Kumar are locked inside a mental asylum, where in an another section, are locked Ashok (Saif Ali Khan) and Kumar (Ritesh Deshmukh) who are actually mentally unstable. One thing leads to another and Mamaji catch holds of the lookalike's of Ashok and Kumar and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story has basic inspiration from 'The Comedy Of Errors' but with lots of restructuring done to it. The first half starts on a very slow note and the movie picks up only post interval. Many funny one-liners make you smile instantly over its wittiness along with some stupidity. There are some good, enjoyable scenes like Ritesh-Bipasha Bengali talks, Saif's one-liner jokes, Ritesh trying to control his urination, Saif-Ritesh-Ram dressing up as females, the whole board meeting and few more. However, they are done in typical Sajid Khan style. On the flip side, the first half takes lots of time in establishing its main plot line and the climax turns out to be bit disappointment. The board room scene built up the expectation level and with the entry of the third look-alikes the climax part has to be triple the fun, but sadly, is a weak version of 'Housefull' movie's climax scene. There is a brilliant scene where the director mocks about his own and later his sister Farah Khan's flop film, which sadly is again copied from Ritesh Deshmuk-Aftab Shivdasani's film 'De Taali'. The writers run out of the interesting screenplay due to which the movie tends to drag in many parts and seems super lengthy. The camera work is strictly average and the European locations have been seen in many earlier films.
Music & Direction:
Music by Himesh Reshammiya is peppy and goes well with the flow of the film. 'Caller Tune', 'Khol De Dil Ki Khidki' and 'Hum Pagal Nahin Hai' are entertaining. 'Piya Ke Bazaar Mein' is inspired by Laxmikant Pyarelal's hit song from the 70's (We at Moviezadda had recently exposed it in our popular segment - Chori Mera Kaam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paGTzzNPsd0). 'Barbaad Raat' could have been omitted. Background music is funny, especially the paratha track and few more.
Sajid Khan loves to make films that are full of one liner jokes and loads of slapstick comedy in it. 'Housefull' and 'Housefull 2' were among his wittiest work till date along with 'Heyy Babyy' in terms of his style of comedies. Though I personally feel 'Darna Zaroori Hai' was his best work till date and we unanimously will agree that 'Himmatwala' was his worst. Here in 'Humshakals', he comes up with a brilliant idea which eventually works only in parts and at rest places struggles to find its right path. The actors are made to ham to their best with lots and lots of loud humour attached to it. He once again tributes in his way to Hindi cinema by making his actors imitate legends like Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Rajesh Khanna, Pran, Rajendra Nath, Dilip Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Randhir Kapoor, Ranjeet and few more. It's good to see that Sajid has got his funny bone back after the debacle of 'Himmatwala' but is not as strong as his few earlier good comical films were.
Saif Ali Khan hams to the fullest and seems a total misfit for these roles. He performs very badly in almost every scene and adds as a big negative point to the film. He looked out of place and lacked the conviction factor. Whenever he and Ritesh were in the scene, the later performed that same scene with total conviction, where as Saif overacted to his worst. Ritesh Deshmukh is outstanding in all the scenes. He is a master of this genre and it's due to him the movie seems worth a watch. You can see his hard work and sincere efforts in all of his four different avatars. Ram Kapoor is average in his main character, but shines out in the mentally unstable character along with his female version. It's a hilarious treat to see all three guys dressed up as females. The girls (Tamannaah Bhatia, Bipasha Basu and Esha Gupta) have hardly anything to offer in this movie except for a few scenes and songs. Satish Shah is hilarious and does his part with total grace. Chunky Pandey, Darshan Jhariwala, Suresh Menon and Aakash Khurana fail to impress.So bol meri 'Filmi Khopdi' iss film mein kitna hain Dum?
Dum? Well, if you love Sajid Khan style of comedies, then there is a good amount of dum for you along with comical performances by Ritesh Deshmukh and few witty one-liners attached to the film. The movie has lots of flaws and stupid scenes that might not appeal at all to the intellectual crowd and the ones expecting it to be even at par with Sajid's earlier comedies. 'Humshakal's might be like a 'Ham-Specials' for many, but for the ones who enjoy this genre, it's a time-pass masala entertainer that sadly ends up as a three ring circus.Ratings: 2/5