Film History, Movies, Tribute

Five All-Time Best Comedies in Hindi


 5. Hera Pheri (2000)

Hera Pheri

Priyadarshan’s breakout comedy caper was 2000’s surprise sleeper hit. A namesake of the 70s Big B starrer heist classic, it was the inspired rehash of a Malayalam film called Ramji Rao Speaking (1989), which was also remade in Tamil as Arangetra Velai (1990). It’s about a trio of buffoons, a woman (but of course), mistaken identity, and loads of cash… Paresh Rawal is still remembered for his stellar performance as Baburao Ganpatrao Apte, a myopic, foul-mouthed simpleton with a heart of gold.

4. Andaaz Apna Apna (1994)

Andaz Apna Apna

 In 1994, ace director Rajkumar Santoshi landed a casting coup that has not been bettered ever since, not even by Santoshi himself! Two of three reigning Khans of the time, Aamir and Salman Khan, co-starred in a crazy, madcap comedy called Andaaz Apna Apna. It was a box office bomb, but over the years, it has gained a strong cult following. The film was full of in-jokes and film references: the two leads were named “Amar” and “Prem” respectively, Paresh Rawal in a dual role of Ram Gopal Bajaj and Shyam Gopal Bajaj, Amar and Prem’s dads were named “Murli” and “Bankelal” respectivley (played by Jagdeep and Deven Varma), Shakti Kapoor starred as Crime Master Gogo (“Mugambo ka Bhatija”), Karishma Kapoor’s character was called “Raveena” disguised as Karishma, Raveena Tandon’s character was “Karishma” in the guise of Raveena…confused? Watch the film!

3. Half Ticket (1962)

Half Ticket

Back in the early 1960s, Kishore da was a major star. He was an acting, singing, dancing sensation. A true maverick. Half Ticket has him playing a young man, his mother, a 10 year old boy, a dancing girl… Add to it the dazzling presence of Madhubala in her prime, and you have a memorable classic in your hands.

2. Gol Maal (1979)

Gol Maal

Gol Maal is the story of the encounter between Bhawani Shankar, an old disciplinarian and idealist whose code of honor has a lot to do with sporting a moustache, and a young man named Ramprasad Sharma who gets a job at the former’s office. The inimitable chemistry between Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt forms the core of the movie. The fuming Dutt and the stuttering Palekar keep you in splits all throughout.

1. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

And then, the Baap of all black comedies. Who can forget the extended Mahabharat/Mughal/Ramayan stage play sequence? A satire on the corruption plaguing the media and nexus between real estate cartels and the government departments, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was unsuccessful at the BO on release. But as time went by, quite a cult developed surrounding the film. And its on the rise. Amen!

Film History, Movies, Tribute

Jaane Bhi Do…


Above is a shot from Chashme Buddoor (1981). I draw your attention to the guy in the middle – yes, the one with all the bandages on him. Inevitably evokes laughter, doesn’t he? What if I were to tell you this person passed away yesterday?

Ravi Baswani died yesterday, July 27, 2010. He was returning from scouting locations in Nanital for his directorial debut film. When I read of his demise in the papers, my first reaction was more of shock than sorrow. For those of us who grew in the 80s and 90s, his was one of the faces that essentially represented fun, laughter and everything else that comprised ‘comedy’ for us. To associate that face with the morbid idea of death is inconceivable. Only the other day, I’d spotted him in a soft drink ad, co-starring South heartthrob Asin Thottumkal!

So many memories came rushing back. In the early 80s, Baswani was a regular in an immensely entertaining DD Serial named Idhar Udhar, sharing screen space with the likes of Ratna Pathak-Shah and Supriya Pathak. He also starred in a popular adolescent romance-themed series on Sony entitled Just Mohabbat. But of course, the two pillars of Indian entertainment history everyone remembers him for are Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) and Chashme Buddoor. One could go delirious with laughter at his wafer-thin features and queer gait in Chashme..In Jaane Bhi Do, his unforgettable turn as Bhimsen with the inverted Gada is funny even the zillionth time you watch it! Ravi Baswani also represented the innocence of those times… an era ends with his passing on. Sad.

But then, had he been here now, he’d probably shoo all that serious talk with a wave of his hand and say, “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro…”!