Loosely translated as happy-go-lucky, Hasmukh is indeed a lucky bloke. He is a small-town comedian who needs to kill to get ‘the feel’ before he can set the stage on fire. And he kills without a care and with innocent abandon, and gets away with murder every time.
A bipolar rustic laughter machine with a stutter and his ascent to fame with more than a little help from his manager, Jimmy the Maker, sounds like a promising plot for a different kind of cinematic experience, but the series, after the first two engaging episodes, fails to deliver.
Blame it on the script that falls short and becomes repetitive and pedestrian, and most actors look as if they are going through their motions in this dark comedy. Sadly, dark it pretends to be but its outlandishness does it in, and its comedy is replete with staid jokes that don’t stir most facial muscles.
Vir Das is good in parts, but then, as the story unfolds, he becomes a victim of his character that’s poorly sketched and not explored in depth. For a diabolical character to work, his compulsions must seem to rise from a disturbing past but we don’t get to know much beyond a violent uncle, a salacious aunt and an exploitative employer. Even talented Amrita Bagchi (excellent in Music Teacher) is wasted as an ambitious but vacuous showrunner in this series.
The problem with Hasmukh is not with its implausibility but in its rootless whimsicality. And the humour doesn’t work, though a sincere Das tries very hard. Better luck next time, Laughter Face!
Maybe I don’t have a funny bone! What’s your take?
Cast: Vir Das, Ranvir Shorey, Manoj Pahwa
Writers: Nikkhil Advani, Vir Das, Nikhil Gonsalves, Suparn Verma, Satyam Kumar, Neeraj Pandey