Reviewers and a lot of viewers can’t stop ranting what an increasingly unfunny film Humshakals is, and how the gags almost made them strangle the person sitting next to them. In the wake of the public outrage surrounding these comedy caper we have come up with a list of what doesn’t exactly make us giggle, laugh or roll in the carpeted aisles.

Sajid Khan’s Humshakals definitely takes the crown for being the worst comedy of recent times (Luckily, I got saved in time from forking out Rs 300 for torturous two hours), and it makes us ponder and wonder why Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor followed the director’s direction. It isn’t the first time, sadly, every once in a while we have questioned filmmakers/actors for judging our intelligence and testing our patience. Yes, some of their films have made the cash registers at cinema halls go ka-ching ka-ching. But it’s not too tough to achieve with 1000 shows a day in the world’s second largest populated country. So, let’s get the numbers out of the way, puhleeze! For us, it’s quality versus quantity.

A story-less plot 

Comedies are watched to escape the harsh realities of life and have a good laugh. Though putting together two beefed-up men squabbling for a dimwit pretty-young-thing’s attention (Rascals) or three set of three identical men causing mayhem isn’t enough to keep the audience glued to their cushioned seats. A story, written or audio-visual, needs to have a start, middle and end. So filling the script with punch-liners and puns doesn’t make a movie. If that was all that mattered, there’s enough easily available – the laughter shows on Indian television or America’s sitcom Friends.

Silly and sex jokes are not enough

Humour works when the funny thing is said at the right time. And we’d like to give a gentle reminder to all those who insert countless lame (‘Why is six afraid of seven? Because seven ate nine’ in Humshakals) or dirty jokes (A father holding a milk bottle to his kid in Grand Masti: “Jab se paapu paida hua hai, main hilane me expert ho gaya hu”) to make it hilarious. Hasn’t anyone ever heard the law of diminishing returns? It applies to every aspect of life, even comedy. Filmmakers need to control the urge to slip in puerile jokes or double-meaning lines at every two-minute in the script.

Men dressed as women

There’s nothing amusing in watching antics of the oddly-proportioned, hideously-dressed and obnoxiously-behaved Guthis, Palaks, Dadis (Comedy Nights with Kapil) or the female avatars of Ram Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Riteish Deshmukh. Cross-dressing originated for the different reasons, but now has become a great source to generate laughter. But truth is that it seems the audience is enjoying it ‘coz during the most depressive moments in life a person’s mind is too shocked to evoke the right emotions. Thus they tend to laugh out loud instead of crying. So it’s time to stop the rise of this hideous race, right now!

Making fun of homosexuals, obese and dark-skinned people

Who said comedy has to be insensitive and tasteless? Films are replete with instances showing an effeminate gay guy make peculiar hand gestures (Dostana) or a fat friend gobbling food and making a mess or a dark girl desiring marriage, and it’s all done to make the characters in the script and the audience laugh. For that matter even poking fun at differently abled people is hurtful. Such gags don’t tickle the bone, just shows an indifferent and nonchalant attitude of the people involved in committing these acts.

Stereotyping communities’ 

One more favourite ploy of writers/directors to amuse its audience is pigeonholing ethnicities – like a south Indians confusing mixing up genders in Hindi (Deepika Padukone in Chennai Express – “Hum log jahan se khadi hoti, station wahi shuru hoti”), a Punjabi and a Bengali will always hate each other (Two States) and a Gujarati’s life revolves around thepla, fafda and gathiya (3 idiots). When we look around we have come across Tamilians, Punjus, Gujjus and Bongs, who are nothing like what we watch in the movies. Seriously, is that how much we know about our people and culture? Stereotyping is the laziest and cheapest trick to generate giggles and guffaws.

Women as bimbos

For obviously a personal reason, great offense is taken when a cleavage-baring dumb secretary (Race and Race 2) is shown asking inane questions to her boss. If you notice most of the actresses, barring the top star names, who are done with their shares of inconsequential roles, have to act and emote to please the masses and classes in the movies. That’s enough of a reason for their ilk to raise a hue and cry, but then portraying them as bimbos purely for laughter is extremely hurtful and unacceptable.

 – By Rachana Parekh

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