PRIYADARSHAN SEEMS to have completed a trilogy of sorts with "Hera Pheri," "Hungama" and now "Hulchul."
But the similarities end with the fact that they are all remakes of Malayalam comedies and start with the letter H.
"Hera Pheri," "Hungama" and "Hulchul" are as different as chalk, chopsticks and chess. Chess, because this Akshaye Khanna-Kareena Kapoor starrer is filled with feudal battles as a war of words and swords ensues, before the pair gets together in this ``crazy love story.''
The Masala Puris: The patriarch Angaarchand (Amrish Puri), eldest son Balram (Jackie Shroff), Kishen (Paresh Rawal), Shakti (Arbaaz Khan) and Jai (Akshaye Khanna who plays the youngest of the four sons in the family that keeps its gates closed to women).
The Dare-Devis of neighbouring Anpara: The matriarch Lakshmi Devi
(Lakshmi), Suniel Shetty, Shakti Kapoor and brothers and
granddaughter Anjali (Kareena Kapoor, whose wedding to a Minister's son comes to a halt after the Masala Puris take a few MLA's on their side).
Now, Devi wants revenge, sends Anjali to woo her college-mate Jai.
After a couple of duets and a little Circuit-ry from Arshad Warsi (who nearly reprises his role of the hero's friend, this time as 'Lucky'), the couple pretends to connect. Like Anjali, Jai too wants to fake falling in love to get even with the folks from Anpara.
But as it was bound to happen, the two fall in love and realise the enormity of the task ahead of them to get Jai's bachelor brothers married, and restore peace between the warring villages.
The movie picks up pace gradually and leads to some hilarious situations, thanks to excellently-timed performances from Arshad Warsi and Paresh Rawal and lines by screenplay writer Neeraj Vora. However, in the second half of the film, the director infuses drama and sentiment and resorts to fist-fights and item numbers for relief. This is where the audience, which mistook "Hulchul" for a comedy in the league of "Hungama," finds itself let down.
The rustic settings of the feudal villages have been aesthetically captured by cinematographer Jeeva and Vidyasagar's rehashes of his Tamil songs prop up the rest of the film.
Jai is a cakewalk of a role for the super talented and under-rated Akshaye Khanna and Kareena Kapoor is natural and a stunner. Arshad Warsi and Paresh Rawal take the responsibility to deliver the best lines, especially in the scene where Lucky and Jai try to convince Kishen to get married and create a heir for the family but Kishen, the self-proclaimed Hanuman-devotee refuses saying: ``Hum Dinosaur ke aakri peedi hai kya?'' (Is our family like that of the Dinosaurs?). Or when Lucky tells Jai to fake a `mother-promise' to Anjali saying that it's okay to fake promises when the mother is already dead. ``She's dead, you think she'll be watching you from a satellite?''
The movie sure does has its share of laughs but the rest is strictly `time-pass.' Verdict: Wholesome fare for a family starved for an outing.
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