(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
In the opening scene of director Sajid Khan’s “Humshakals” (lookalikes), Ashok Singhania (Saif Ali Khan) rattles off a series of unfunny jokes at a club as unamused guests flee. In a way, the scene is a sign of things to come, portending a long-winded tale with dull, contrived and ineffective humour.
With “Humshakals”, Sajid Khan returns with his particular brand of slapstick comedy (remember “Housefull“?). The plot is predictably threadbare. Ashok is taking care of his comatose father’s business empire; he’s an amateur comedian, a devoted son and a caring lover. Kumar (Riteish Deshmukh) is his best friend. Then there is Kunwar Amar Singh (Ram Kapoor), Ashok’s scheming maternal uncle who wants to seize his property by proving he is mentally unstable.
Confusion arises when Ashok and Kumar are admitted to the ‘Cray G. Mental Asylum’ (you read that right) and are mistaken for a pair of doppelganger patients with the same names. If that isn’t bizarre enough, there is a third patient called Joe in the same institution who is a lookalike of the scheming uncle.
By the time the third set of humshakals makes its entry, I’d stopped trying to make sense of the plot. The loopholes are too many and too glaring to ignore.
After his evil designs are exposed, the scheming uncle holds billionaire Ashok’s father at gunpoint to pressure Ashok into transfer his property to him — all this happening in a hall full of people, including a guy who plays Charles, the Prince of Wales. And every Caucasian character, including Prince Charles, is fluent in Hindi.