Housefull 3 is faithful to the first two installments, with a new cast, bigger mansion, and more cringe-worthy puns. The boys return to woo the rich girls, and laugh at their eccentric father’s terrible jokes. The film stars Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Abhishek Bachchan, Jacqueline Fernandes, Nargis Fakhri, Lisa Haydon, and Boman Irani.
Bartook Patel (Boman Irani) is a wealthy Gujarati man living in a grand mansion. His three daughters are named after holy rivers – Ganga, Jamuna, and Saraswati. Patel doesn’t want his daughters to marry. With the help of Akhri Pasta (Chunkey Pandey reprising his role as the questionable Indian-Italian pasta chef), he invents a lie: His daughters’ marriage will lead to his death.
The daughters find a loophole, and introduce Patel to their good-for-nothing boyfriends, who pretend to have disabilities, thereby warding off the dangers the “astrologer” had predicted.
Riteish Deshmukh’s character pretends to be blind and habitually says the wrong words. He wants to be a racing driver like Michael Schumacher, but forgets to fill petrol during a race. Abhishek Bachchan’s character is a rapper trying to channelise his inner-Honey Singh through “teri maa-ki behen ki” (mother-sister insults) songs. Akshay Kumar’s character is much like Adam Sandler’s character in The Waterboy (1998), a football player who suddenly gets into rages triggered by the word “Indian”. The only difference: Kumar’s character is terrifying when he stares and snarls. Elements of Vikram and Jyotika’s characters seem inspired from Anniyan (2005) and Chandramukhi (2005) respectively.
The film thrives on three kinds of humour – sexism, racism, and ableism. The three female leads are reduced to how much each would fetch if the boys married them. Perhaps the most cringe-worthy part is Akshay Kumar calling them “maal” (money) throughout.
The pretend “abnormalities” are a constant source of humour. Jokes about how a blind man’s favourite colour is black and a paralysed man’s favourite slipper brand is Paragon (the par in Paragon in direct reference to paer in Hindi meaning feet) run through the film.
Black actors are there, just for laughs. The jokes: Black domestic help used to sleep with the enemies in the dark; a black man who goes berserk when he hears the word “black”. It goes on.
Boman Irani’s acting is spot on, but his incessant puns sound like jokes vying for Facebook likes, and distract one from the scene. Here’s a sample: “Shakkal ke alaava akkal bhi honi chahiye. Surat toh Gujarat mein bhi hai” (The person should have brains in addition to looks. That way Surat (face) is in Gujarat too).
Jackie Shroff is wasted in his cameo as the aged don Urja Nagre. The swagger is perfect, but there’s little of the brilliance he showed in the subtly insidious don he played in Aaranya Kaandam (2011).
Housefull 3 is directed by the Sajid-Farhad duo, who had previously written the Golmaal and Singham series. Traces of their other films are visible in most of the action scenes: Broken necks, over-the-top bike chases, and Riteish Deshmukh suddenly speaking in Marathi.
The film ends after 145 minutes. We can stop cringing, wincing, and feeling torn between disbelief and confusion; the last emotion is relief that it’s over. Regardless, Akshay Kumar might carry the film through the box-office, given his track record with hits like Baby (2015) and Airlift (2016).
Housefull 3 has a meagre storyline, bad acting, and terrible jokes. If it has to be watched, watch it for the beautiful locations in England.