Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Kareena, Sunil Shetty, Jackie Shroff, Paresh Rawal, Arbaaz
Nutshell: A rather dismal attempt at creating the magic of Hera Pheri
Reviewed by: Faiz Khan
Hera Pheri is a classic film, a hilarious farce, wonderfully acted and very cleverly put together. Priyadarshan followed this up with Yeh mera ghar, yeh tera ghar an utterly vacuous and bore of a movie, and finally, Hungama last year,a reasonably amusing film, carried by its three main stars, Akshaye Khanna, Aftab and Paresh Rawal. Going by his track record, its time for the director to fail again…and he certainly does not let you down there. Hulchul is a loud, noisy and overly crass film, sometimes so puerile that it’s painful to watch.
Considering its supposed to be a comedy, the film blasts off with a patriarchal father Angaarchand (Amrish Puri), calling his four sons to arms as it were, to save some poor man imprisoned by Anpara Devi’s goons…or so one believes. Its all so loud and convoluted that I was not able to understand much of what happened in the first 15 minutes. The foursome, (Paresh Rawal, Jackie Shroff, Arbaaz Khan and Akshaye Khanna) arrive to free the goon…or so it appears because as a result of a jerky narrative and some very strange editing, we cut to college time, with Anjali (Kareena Kapoor) leaving her college in mid –study to marry some politician’s son. However, the foursome manage to stop the wedding brining the wrath of Anpara devi (Laxmi) upon them, who simply goes ballistic, wig flying in all directions, everything accentuated in typical south style. Anpara devi happens to be Anjali’s grannie and as will reveal itself later, the thorn in everyone’s flesh. There are four sons here too, one of which is the more temperate Veeru (Sunil Shetty). You almost wish that Jeetu would make a re-entry with his matkas at this point to soothe the frayed nerves, already the subject of a 30 minute assault. It transpires that we are back in the QSQT land of warring families. Its been done to death (pun not intended) and forms the backbone of his painfully unfunny film.
Anjali returns to college only to be ridiculed by Jai (Akshaye Khanna), the youngest of the foursome, studying at the same college as Anjali. Returning to her grandmother, granny comes up with a superb new plan to scupper the Angaarchand clan…”anjali has to try and pretend to love Jai”. Stunned with this originality, Anjali arrives back at college, hotpants, skimpy skirts and even less, knitting a web in which to envelope Jai. Jai on the hand, advised by his pal (Arshad Warsi, again almost walking away with every little scene he has), also pretends to “love” Anjali. “Love” blossoms until the twosome are seen by Veeru who finally reveals to Anjali, the whole reason for the feud between the two families. Girl from one family loved boy from the other, ran away to marry him but was forced back by her mother, then someone shot someone’s wife and he in turn shot someone else’s husband…etc etc. Anjali then decides to reveal all to Jai and end the feud some how. Jai however continues with his puerile behaviour. Given that it’s a comedy, can we really expect another QSQT shoot out….or will the young lovers unite the two families. No prizes for guessing the obvious.
Priyadarshan simply cannot rise above the raucous and outdated screenplay and puts together a melee of scenes, which add up to simply hotchpotch, barely raising much more than the occasional titter, let alone bringing the house down. Having given us the magnificent Hera Pheri, will Priyadarshan always be searching for another? On the evidence so far, he’s far from attaining it. Can we please not have some simplicity back..where did Basu Chatterji go?
Akshaye Khanna gives an OTT account of himself, and seems to be enjoy hamming it up to the extreme. Kareena on the other hand is dull…looks a little out of it as well. No spark there at the moment. Out of the rest of the noisy goons, Sunil Shetty comes off best. And for those of us who have patronised movies from the 60s, it’s a shocker to see Laxmi, the original “ my heart is beating “ girl of Julie make a return as the mad matriarch. Vidyasagar’s music shows some promise…yes, it has some melody to it and yet aspires to be different.
But on the whole, Hulchul is a huge letdown, only for the puerile and the strong willed who can make it to the end of the film. I certainly couldn’t.