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27 December 2011

My Favourites: Laughter For All Seasons

I seem to have been on a 'listing' spree - my last few posts have all been lists of one kind or the other. I was going to turn away from lists and go back to reviewing movies but the truth is that I haven't seen a movie for ages. I did watch Dev Benegal's Road, Movie yesterday, and quite liked it, but I didn't feel up to reviewing it for the blog. Anyway, I decided to end the year with one final list - something that will make you laugh at the memories the contents evoke. A list of Hindi cinema's finest comedies.

There are some films I turn to when life gets too depressing for words. Or because I need to unwind. Or simply because I need to laugh. I'm talking here about classic comedies, not Priyadarshan's (or David Dhawan's) brand of slapstick. (Priyan makes me want to get up and smack him for his wanton destruction of some of Malayalam films' sweet, simple, slice-of-life films, but that's a rant for another day.)

These films are my favourites (in reverse chronological order). Tell me yours. 

1. Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
I must confess that this is one of my all time favourite movies. It does not matter that I (literally) know its dialogues by rote; or that the totally over-the-top antics coupled with the ghastly fashions of the eighties is usually a recipe for disaster. This film is one where the male leads bounced their dialogues off each other, where the script took potshots at all the masala  film tropes by completely adopting the very same tropes, and everyone from the two heroes, to the heroine, villains and all the supporting characters (Mehmood, Tiku Talsania, Viju Khote, Shehzaad Khan, Javed Khan, Deven Verma, Jagdeep, Harish Patel) had some wonderful one-liners. This is slapstick comedy at its finest (Priyan, take some lessons!). The film is unapologetically goofy, undoubtedly silly and totally comic. The film is replete with references to other classic films - Sholay, Seeta aur Geeta, QSQT, Amar Prem, Ram aur Shyam...

What is it about? Well, simply put, two small-town guys (one, a bumbling idiot, the other, a street-smart conman at heart) Amar and Prem (Aamir Khan and Salman Khan) want to get rich quick. The news about an heiress (Raveena / Karishma) played by Raveena Tandon coming to India to look for a groom gets them out of their hometowns and the clutches of their 'controlling' fathers (Jagdeep and Deven Verma) and off to Ooty to try their luck. So they set off, accompanied by Anand Akela (Javed Khan), who was originally a suitor, but who decides to give up and help one of the two win the heiress' hand.

I love that the scenes are so self-referencing - when Amar and Prem are caught by the inspector, and Prem says a dialogue that the inspector recognises as a dialogue from Sholay, Amar says caustically, "Uske baap ne likha tha." When Amar cuts the ribbon to inaugurate the new cell, the song in the background is Papa kehte hain bada naam karega... the director (Rajkumar Santoshi) even pulls in the vidhwa maa, andhi behan scenario with finesse (and for laughs). When the villain fantasises about what he will do with his brother's fortune when he gets it, he finishes with Hamara Bajaj...

The parody is even better. When Aamir teases Raveena by going after her and singing, she sniffs, she is annoyed, she finally hits him with a very convenient log. Karishma Kapoor, the other heroine (Karishma / Raveena) plays the dumb blonde shtick with complete insouciance, and I have never liked the two of them as much as I did in this film. 

Add Paresh Rawal in a double role, Shehzaad Khan and Viju Khote as one Paresh Rawal's sidekick, with the former chanelling his father's style of dialogue delivery (Shehzaad is yesteryear villain, Ajit's son), and Shakti Kapoor as Crime Master Gogo (aankhein nikalke goti kheloonga), and you have a laugh riot on your hands. 

What makes Andaz Apna Apna very unique in the genre of comedy is that it remains slapstick until its very end. There is no emotional thread, no side story, even the fights are played for laughs, it all ends just when it should - when the audience, when it can stop laughing, is gasping, "Oh, no, did it end already?"
The music by Tushar Bhatia channels OP Nayyar very well, down to a beautiful tonga song, and Santoshi uses the melodies to pull the narrative along. One of the few movies of the time that actually used songs they way they were meant to be used.

2. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) 
This is deservedly a cult classic. A satirical look at the state of the country in the late seventies and early eighties, it had Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani as two struggling photographers, Vinod Chopra and Sudhir Mishra (two of India's well-known producer / directors who were then production controller and assistant director respectively). This was a masterful farce, and it's sad that this remained Kundan Shah's greatest success. It is one of the best black comedies that I have ever seen, the underlying tragedy masked by the slapstick.

Taking off from the prevailing discontent and rampant unemployment, the film takes a look at the politician-criminal nexus, and how two simple young men who happen to be in the 'right' place at the right time eventually find out how they were manipulated. The film cornered some of the best talent in the industry at the time - apart from the leads, there was Satish Shah (in probably the best role of his life - a corpse. And how he acts!), Pankaj Kapoor, Bhakti Barve, Om Puri, and Neena Gupta, and oh, I almost forgot the monkey.

When Vinod and Sudhir accidentally come across a murder, and take a photograph, they do not realise what they have let themselves in for; soon, they are on the run, not knowing who is friend, who is foe; the film moves from scene to tense (albeit hilarious) scene until its climax on stage - a scene from the Mahabharata.
If you want an intelligent, and hilarious, take on modern life, grab a copy, and watch it now!

3. Angoor (1982)
Long before Vishal Bharadwaj Indianised Shakespeare (and did it well), his mentor tried his hand at doing so. Needless to say, Gulzar's take on the Bard's Comedy of Errors was brilliant. The tale of two pairs of twins and the identity crises that occurs from having the four cross paths was made memorable by the casting - a pitch perfect Sanjeev Kumar as the two masters (both named Ashok) and the lovable Deven Verma as the two servants (both named Bahadur). 

Add Utpal Dutt as the father who sets the train of misunderstandings in motion by naming both sets of twin babies  the same name, an accident that separates each of a pair of twins, and you have the framework for a wonderful laugh-fest that depends as much on dialogue as it does on the actions-reactions between the two pairs of separated twins, and between them and the bewildered people in their lives. 
This was a situational comedy at its finest. Sanjeev Kumar, as the obsessed-with-detective-fiction-Ashok was brilliant, as was Deven Verma in the Bhang scene. Gulzar exploited Moushumi Chatterjee's talent for comedy; Aruna Irani and Deepti Naval added to the tone of general hilarity. With no villains, no gratuitous fight scenes, and no needless emotional track, the film was a perfect inspiration, in the true sense of the word.

Watch. Now.

4. Chashme Buddoor (1981)
It's a shame Sai Paranjpaye made such few movies, and does not make movies anymore. Simple, hilarious, heartwarming, seriously funny, Chashme Buddoor is a must-see for anyone who loves real comedy. When Jai (Ravi Baswani) and Omi (Rakesh Bedi), the two womanising room-mates of the seedha saadha Siddharth (Farooque Sheikh), come across their new neighbour, the delectable Neha (Deepti Naval), they try various ways to patao  her; both fail. One runs away, the other is beaten up by her brother. However, since they cannot admit failure, they spin tall tales of what happened when they went over to her house. Sid, more academically inclined, is aghast. He is going to keep far away from such a femme fatale. 

However, it is Sid who meets her under very different circumstances. Neha and he soon fall in love, but Omi and Jai are afraid - what if Neha tells Sid the truth? While Neha and Sid are wondering if they should sing a song Hindi-fillum-ishtyle in the park, Omi and Jai are conspiring to break them up. They succeed too, by impugning Neha's character, until they realise that Sid really loved her. Now, they have to scramble to get the two lovebirds back together.
This was a very refreshing movie, with a very simple story. Apart from the four main characters, there was another man who helped make the film what it was - Saeed Jaffery as Lallan Mian, the neighbourhood paan and cigarette-seller, who sells cigarettes to the three young men on credit.
5. Golmaal (1979) 
One of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's finest comedies, he used the 'identical twins' and 'mistaken identities' theme that was so popular and turned it on its head - there weren't any identical twins, except there were! Want to know how? 

Ram (Amol Palekar) is a recent fun-loving college graduate who is on the look-out for a job. He loves music and is fanatically devoted to all kinds of sport. He has a sister, Ratna, and the two of them live quite modestly; but Ram needs to find a job soon. A kindly family friend, Dr Kedar (David Abraham) brings news of a job opening - only, there is a catch. The employer, Bhavani Shankar (Utpal Dutt) is an opinionated man, and has some quirks which need to be indulged - a) Ram should give his full name at the interview - Ram Prasad Dasharath Prasad Sharma. b) He should never cut off his moustache. c) He should pretend to know nothing of any sport whatsoever. 

Ram is wary, but a job is the need of the hour, and so, off he goes. He succeeds in impressing the old man so much that he is employed on the spot - at a higher salary than advertised. Ram is happy there, but soon there is a cloud on the horizon - a football match. Ram decides to bunk office in order to watch the match at the stadium. Unfortunately, Bhavani Shankar is also there, and what is more, spots him.

Soon, Ram is forced to invent an identical twin, the clean-shaven Lakshman Prasad, and pretend that it is a case of mistaken identity in order to keep his job. When Bhavani begins to get suspicious, he is forced to invent a mother, and then to hire one. A socialite, Kamala Srivastav (Dina Pathak), with dramatic tendencies comes to his rescue. When she is spotted in her real element by Bhavani, she is forced to pretend to be her own twin sister, Vimala. 

The plot gets more and more complicated, as Bhavani decides to offer Lakshman a job tutoring his daughter Urmila (Bindiya Goswami) in music. Urmila and 'Lakshman' soon fall in love with each other, but Bhavani wants Urmi to marry Ram. 
There are some lovely supporting characters like Bade Babu (Yunuz Parvez), Doctormama (David), Urmi's widowed aunt (Shubha Khote) to add to the humour and the confusion. But the scene stealers are definitely Utpal Dutt and Amol Palekar, who set the audience laughing every time they meet and speak to each other. Truly a classic.

6. Baton Baton Mein (1979)
A film that took an affectionate look at the Christian community in Bombay, without stereotyping them. It is a simple, touching tale that is set in a Bombay that is so markedly different today, you may have difficulty recognising it.

Tony (Amol Palekar) and Nancy (Tina Munim) are introduced to each other in the local train by Tina's uncle, Tom (David). Tina has recently broken off a friendship with Peter (Dev Mukherjee), and is morose and silent. Tom hopes that Tony's friendship will help her come out of her depression. 

Nancy's mother, Rosie (Pearl Padamsee) is the typical over-anxious mother who wants to see her daughter married off to a 'good' boy. Every time a girl in the neighbourhood gets married, Rosie is sad that Nancy is still on the shelf. Tony's mother Mrs Braganza (Piloo Wadia), on the other hand, is over-possessive and treats Tony like a small child. 

Tony and Nancy soon fall in love, but Tony is unable to commit to marriage. Besides, Rosie's unbridled pushiness puts him off. Nancy is livid at his criticism of her mother. Soon, the lovers are at odds. 
Who is going to sort out the tangled mess? Will Tony come through finally? Or will Nancy suffer another heartbreak? Watch the film to find out the answers.

7. Chupke Chupke (1975)
Another comic masterpiece from the master, this film intersperses intelligently humorous dialogues with totally hilarious situations to come up with a film that is an all-time favourite. 

This insane laugh riot depends much on its lead actor's comic timing, and handsome hunk Dharmendra obliges with ease. He is famous botanist Parimal Tripathi, who meets botany student Sulekha (Sharmila Tagore at her dimpled best) on a field trip, and after a whirlwind romance and courtship, marries her in her elder brother's (David) house. Soon, however, he is bored out of his head, and a tad bit annoyed at his newly-wed bride who never stops singing the praises of her brother-in-law, Raghav (Om Prakash). Since neither Sulekha's sister (Usha Kiron) nor her jijaji could attend the wedding, Parimal has not met them as yet.

Very naturally, he sets out to prove to Sulekha that her jijaji is not as perspicacious or omniscient as she thinks he is. He decides to take up the job of Raghav's driver, and soon comes to Bombay ahead of Sulekha. He introduces himself as Pyare Mohan, and when Sulekha appears, happily romances her much to the chagrin of her sister. 

Soon, there comes 'Parimal' to visit, quite angry at his wife's prolonged silence. The real Parimal has inveigled his friend Sukumar (Amitabh Bachchan) to impersonate him. Sukumar, nervous at the whole idea, aghast at having to romance his 'bhabhi', and frightened of being found out, pretends to be furious at Sulekha's illicit relationship with Pyare, and leaves to stay with a friend, Prashant (Asrani). Complications arise when Prashant's sister-in-law Vasudha (Jaya Bhaduri), a botany student asks the botany professor for help! Matters become even more muddled when Sukumar, as Parimal, falls in love with Vasudha.
A movie that has often left me wondering why no one exploited Dharmendra's obvious talent for comedy much more than they did, Chupke Chupke is a charade that keeps you in splits with its use of spoken language to ensure laughter.  Brilliant! If you haven't seen it yet, you should!

8. Choti Si Baat (1975) 
How do you win a girl when you are painfully shy? Arun (Amol Palekar) is about to find out. He has seen, and liked, Prabha (Vidya Sinha), a girl from his neighbourhood who works in an office near his. They travel on the same bus, and some times, Arun is able to snag a seat next to Prabha. His diffidence keeps him from talking to her, but Prabha is keenly aware of his interest. She, in turn, is attracted to him, though she is not very sure how much, but she wants him to make the first move. 

Arun's bĂȘte noire is Nagesh (Asrani) who has several advantages that Arun lacks: he is an extrovert, and can talk nineteen to the dozen. He is a very good chess and tennis player, Arun is no good at any sport. Last, but not the least, Nagesh is the proud owner of a green Lambretta, on which he occasionally offers Prabha a ride, much to Arun's chagrin.

In a final bid to win over Prabha, Arun takes the help of Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh (Ashok Kumar), who is a 'Life Coach'. Under his expert tutelage, Arun learns the art of courtship. Slowly, but surely, with the continued support of his mentor who has accompanied him to Bombay, Arun begins to turn the tables on Nagesh, much to Prabha's amusement.
Loosely based on the 1960 film School For Scoundrels, Choti Si Baat was a character-driven comedy that depended heavily on Amol Palekar to deliver. He did so with such simplicity in a role that seemed tailor-made for him.

9. Victoria No. 203 (1972)
The film depended on two old men who had moved easily into character roles to be the lynch pins that held a loose plot together, and surprisingly, became an unforgettable classic. 

A diamond heist goes wrong, the man behind the scenes is double-crossed, and the diamonds are hidden in the horse-drawn Victoria before the double-crosser dies. An innocent man is jailed, and his daughter Rekha (Saira Banu) is left bereft. She disguises herself as a young man in order to protect herself. 

In the meantime, two small-time crooks, Raja (Ashok Kumar) and Rana (Pran) have just been let out of jail. They are in possession of a key; they have no clue to what. Rana is perpetually drunk, and Raja has a penchant for chasing after anything in a skirt. Soon they realise that they hold the key to a great fortune; to get close to where the diamonds may be hidden, they pretend to be Rekha's long-lost uncles.
Much hilarity ensues, and the plot gets complicated with missing infants, rich men who are not what they seem, a wayward rich young man who has a yen for a mysterious woman who vanishes during the day... all in all, a film that has to be watched for two reasons. Ashok Kumar. And Pran. 

10. Seeta aur Geeta (1972)
A thoroughly enjoyable film, worth watching simply for a double dose of the beautiful Hema Malini. A film that swept identical-twins-separated-at-birth, mistaken identities, dangerous masquerades, comic villains, girl power, two handsome heroes who play supporting roles to the heroine(s), into one merry pot-boiler that keeps you engaged for the full-length of the movie - how many movies could boast of that?

Hema plays the titular roles of identical twins - heiress Seeta who is treated like a servant by her cruel aunt Kaushalya (Manorama) and the aunt's evil brother Ranjeet (Roopesh Kumar); and the free spirit gypsy Geeta, who lives with her mother and earns her living by working as a street entertainer along with Raka (Dharmendra). 

One day, Seeta, fed up, runs away; she is rescued by Raka who mistakes her for Geeta, and brought to her twin's home. Geeta, on the other hand, has had an altercation with Raka and is roaming around Bombay to teach him a lesson. Chased by Seeta's aunt and uncle, and thereafter by the police, she escapes only to meet Ravi (Sanjeev Kumar) who had seen Seeta when his parents went to their house with a marriage proposal. He is surprised to see Seeta (as he thinks her) in such a costume, and takes her back to Seeta's mansion. Geeta soon begins to understand the undercurrents, though she still has no clue who her lookalike really is. 

Meanwhile, the change in 'Geeta' is a shock to Raka; but he is soon falling in love with her. Whereas Ravi, who initially couldn't find anything attractive in Seeta, is beginning to fall in love with her outgoing doppelganger. What will happen when Ranjeet spots Seeta in the market?
Hema was not only gorgeous in the movie, but she imbued the characters with very different traits. As Seeta, she was docile, shy, and totally traditional. As Geeta, she was rambunctious, not given to taking things lying down, and gets to mouth some really zany dialogues. Her comic timing is impeccable, and she is ably supported by Dharmendra as the no-nonsense Raka, and by Sanjeev Kumar as the gentle Ravi. A charming comedy that ends in a superb climax. I love films where the heroine does not quite need a hero to rescue her.

11. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
An all-time classic and another one of my favourite movies of all time, Chalti ka Naam Gaadi  was a madcap ride through a plot that twisted and turned until you weren't sure where it began or where it will end. 

Brijmohan (Ashok Kumar) is anti-woman to a fault; he runs a garage, ably assisted by his brothers Jagmohan and Manmohan (real-life brothers Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar). His no-woman policy is so rigid that he will not serve a female customer. One day, however, a beautiful damsel-in-distress lands up at the garage. Renu's (Madhubala) car has broken down, it is a rainy night, she is drenched, and if this is a garage, then her car had better be looked at, damnit! Manmohan acquisces, and repairs the car. He also loses his heart to the beautiful customer who vanishes without paying him. 

Manu is frightened of what his brother will say, and sets off to track the decamping customer, but alas, he falls asleep, leading to one of the funniest dream sequences in Hindi films! Faster than you can ask how they feel, they are in love. Only, there is a murder, and an imprisoned woman, and a criminal masquerading as a prince, danger all around, and Jagmohan to face! What are the lovers going to do??
Madhubala's trademark laughter marks this film from beginning to end. She's a perfect foil for Kishore Kumar's inspired looniness. Add a spaced-out Anoop Kumar, a stern Ashok Kumar, and a car that has a mind of its own - you have a laugh-riot that will keep you in splits even after multiple viewings. If you haven't seen it yet, hurry! 

12. Miss Mary (1957)
Did you know Meena Kumari acted in comedies? And acted well? If Kohinoor and Azaad were always prime favourites of mine, then Miss Mary runs them a close third. 

A remake of the Tamil movie Missiamma with Gemini Ganesan and Jamuna, Miss Mary was a remarkably sweet and funny movie with a clutch of lovely songs. 

Mary (Meena Kumari) is an out-of-work school teacher, who is tired of looking for employment. She needs the money to pay off her parents' debt. She has several run-ins with Arun (Gemini Ganesan reprising the original role) and neither are overly impressed with the other. However, an advertisement for married schoolteachers brings them together. Mary reluctantly agrees to Arun's idea that they pretend to be married in order to gain employment. 

Unwillingly, they live together in the housing provided by their employers, who begin to look upon Mary as their missing daughter, Lakshmi. They had employed Raju (Kishore Kumar) to trace her, and he is sure that Mary is indeed Lakshmi. Mary is incensed at her employers' continued attempts to embrace her as their daughter. While Arun, who needs the job, insists that she keep silent until they can find another job. 

In the meantime, the employers' younger daughter is flirting with Arun (and Mary finds to her discomfiture that she doesn't quite like it); and Raju is busy pursuing Mary herself. 
You really need to see this, purely for Meena Kumari!

Other films that really make me laugh out loud despite repeated viewings, but didn't make the final list:

1. Naram Garam
2. Rang Birangi
3. Bombay to Goa
These are some of my favourites; what are yours?


  1. This is a twelve in one post!
    Love all the films on your list except for Chotti si Baat. Don't ask me why, I can't remember. maybe I should watch it again.

    Going through your post reminded me that I  was present during the shooting of dil karta hai tere paas aaoon. I was with my college on an excursion in Ooty and they were shooting the part main tera deewana mujhe jaane hai zamana par tune hi mujhe na pehchana (1:55 to 1:58). There were takes after takes and we were all standing and watching, till our Prof. came and asked us to return back to plants. And no, he was not so handsome like Prof. Tripathi from Chupke Chupke.

    From the modern Hindi films, I liked Hera Pheri (yeah, I know it is from Priyadarshan, but still) and the Munnabhai series. Munna brings always a smile on my lips.

    Despite its Southophobia, I like parts of Padosan.
    Pyar Kiye Jaa was also a hoot!

  2. How could I forget Biwi-O-Biwi? (http://harveypam.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/biwi-o-biwi-1981/)

    Sai Paranjpe's Katha was also wonderful. Chawl comedies were a genre in themselves in Marathi theatre.

    Half-Ticket was also nice. The song aa ke sidhi lagi dil pe jaise katariya has me in splits every time.

    Weren't there any funny movies before Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi? I wonder!

  3. I'm delighted to find Seeta aur Geeta on this list, its one of my all time favourites, everything from the fashion, songs, acting, comedy, drama just flowed. Now as for Chupke Chupke i have to admit despite all the critical acclaim many seem to heap on it, that film just went right over my head, i found it painful to say the least the only thing i loved about it was 'ab ke sajan sawan mein'

  4. Oh, try watching Choti Si Baat once more, harvey. Ashok Kumar is such a hoot! Lovely songs, too.

    Film shootings can be very boring! I have sat patiently (and impatiently) through several of them while waiting to interview people! Ugh!

    Hera Pheri was a scene by scene copy of a Malayalam film (NOT Priyadarshan's) called Ramji Rao Speaking. I liked the Hindi version too, though; Paresh Rawal was brilliant!
    Yes, the Munnabhai series was great fun. I heard, though, that the third part is not going to be directed by Raju Hirani. :(

  5. Umm, I watched Biwi-o-Biwi recently, thanks to you! It was so much fun. I preferred Chashme Buddoor to Katha, actually, though the latter was a fine movie too. I didn't like Half-Ticket quite as much; KK's antics turned me off. :( But it had lovely songs.

  6. Seeta aur Geeta is quite a favourite with me too; and that's one movie which did quite well with its remake (Chaalbaaz).

    You didn't like Chupke Chupke? :( Aaawww! What to do?  Well, there are movies that everyone else likes that I seem to positively hate, so I guess 'vive la difference'!

  7. I like your lists, so keep on making them! This one was like reading reviews of 12 films in one post. I haven't seen Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. I know, remiss of me, right? But I cannot find the DVD for love or money. I noticed that you had posted a link where I can watch it online; I should check that out.

    My favourites? Apart from the Munnabhai series which were really, really hilarious, I like
    1. Chachi 420 (and its Tamil original)
    2. Bombay to Goa
    3. Amar Akbar Anthony (that really was a comedy!)
    4. Namak Halal
    5. Bawarchi
    6. Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke
    7. Hum Tum
    8. Kisise Na Kehna

  8. From your excellent list, I have not seen "Andaaz Apna Apna" & "Miss Mary; and I liked all the rest. I also liked from Harvey's list --- 2 Munnabhai, Hera Pheri, Katha & Padosan (yes I saw that you hate it).
    Re: Angoor, I wonder if you saw the earlier version "Do Dooni Char" with Kishore Kumar & Asit Sen; I thought that one was just as good.
    I am sure I am missing some others, but they do not come to mind. Unless of course you include some unintentional comedies, such as most 70's masala movies like Loin-Kallicharan & Kilopatra-either Dream Girl or Charas.

  9. Do watch JBDY - tell me if you like it. People seem to be split quite evenly between liking and disliking it.

    I like your list too. :))

  10. Samir, Samir, you cannot NOT have watched AAA! Please remedy this at once. And then, if you don't like it, I think I'll go away quietly and kill myself. :)) I hated Padosan with a vim and a verve. :( I know everyone seems to like it, but I never did - not even at the first viewing.

  11. Ha! So many of my favourites in that list. Now I feel like having a movie marathon set up for the New Year's Eve weekend; but I know my wife has other plans. :( I haven't seen Miss Mary. Among the newer comedies, have you seen a movie called Jhankar Beats? It was hilarious, but you should ideally have seen Sholay and know who RD Burman is before watching it. Rahul Bose was hilarious, and I loved the way they slip between Hindi and English - so naturally.

  12. Oh, from the newer ones, I LOVED Andaz Apna Apna. The rest of them have been perennial favourites, especially Angoor, Golmaal and Chupke Chupke. Reminds me I should go and see one or more of them soon.

  13. Andaz Apna Apna is the only film in which I've actually liked Salman Khan - it was such a scream! Love, love, LOVE that film. :-)

    For once, I've seen nearly all the films you've listed - except for Miss Mary. And, among the 'almost made it' films, Bombay to Goa. Now I must put those on my watch-list too! Chupke-Chupke, Golmaal, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Angoor are among my other favourites from the films you've listed. I like Seeta aur Geeta too, though I don't usually think of it as a comedy - more a film that was more comic than the usual masala movie.

    Among my favourite comedies, which you haven't listed, are Dekh Kabira Roya, Dholak and Pyaar Kiye Jaa: all are superb.

  14. "I think I'll go away quietly and kill myself."

    From what I know of you, it is going to be anything than quiet. ;-)

  15.  "Film shootings can be very boring"

    Tumhare liye honge! At that time we were all agog and very much excited.

  16. "Weren't there any funny movies before Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi? I wonder!"

    Roop Shorey specialised in comedies - most of them (I think), if not all, featuring his wife, Meena Shorey. Ek Thi Ladki and Dholak are examples.

  17. AAA the second was a scream, wasn't it? I loved those cheeky self-references.

    I have seen Pyaar Kiye Jaa - I think. Is that the one where Mehmood is trying to get his father to fund his film-making ambitions? That was a hoot!

    Oh, and do watch Miss Mary - it's worth it for all the faces that Meena makes! 

  18. You should!  They are all films that can withstand multiple viewings. :)

  19. A movie marathon for the weekend sounds wonderful! I know I would prefer to do that rather than go to the usual party. However, I'm booked, hooked and cooked at the moment.

    I did miss Jhankar Beats, no? That was hilarious! I loved it.

  20. pffft, harvey! Mommeee, harvey is being mean to me!

  21. I remember Ek Thi Ladki. I haven't seen Dholak so that is another film I need to put on my list to watch.

  22. I've seen all the films listed. Agree with DO about Seeta aur Geeta not being a comedy entirely. AAA started off well, but became boring once the two girls came along and the two men and their stints with them.
    But don't 'kill yourself' ....... it's just me ;-)
    It takes a lot for me to warm up to modern films...and Amir Khan (liked him in Dhobi ghat  though).

    Jaane bhi do yaaro and Golmaal are my favourites.

  23. To me, Seeta aur Geeta was a comedy with some masala thrown in. :)

    It's not you, it's me? :)

    As I said to bollywooddeewana who didn't like Chupke Chupe, what to do? :( Say 'Vive la difference' and move on...

  24. It definitely was boring for me after the first few takes, and the first few shootings. Sitting on a hot, crowded studio floor in one dusty corner, waiting for some film star or the other to deign to give you the time of the day was yawningly boring! At least, when we went to their homes to meet them, we could sit in comfort and read or something. Punctuality was definitely not their forte!

  25. Andaz Apna Apna was a definite slapstick laugh riot which entertains with a capital E. Lost count of the number of times that I have watched Golmaal, Chupke Chupke and Chashme Badoor.

    All the best ones are all listed so nothing much to add but will try suggesting a couple of movies.1. Lakhon Ki Baat2. Phas Gaya Re Obama3. Tere Bin Laden  **Haven't seen Seetha Aur Geetha, Bombay to Goa and Miss Mary, so no comments.**A parochial touch - Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron gained wide acclaim but 'Panchavadipaalam' in a similar vein but more rooted in the local politics and milieu sadly never got the appreciation it deserved.

  26. I did see it on YouTube, and I liked it, but not enough to put it in a top 10 list. Hence you may not have to kill yourself, perhaps just immerse yourself in liquid oxygen because "Liquid tumhe jeene nahin dega aur Oxygen tumhe maarne nahin dega" [really evil Ajit ishtyle HaHaHa :)) ]

  27.  Yeah, how could I forget Ek Thi ladki! Thank you, Dustedoff!

    Were Ek Thi Ladki, Dholak and co. outright comedies like Chalti Ka Naam Gadi?

    There was this other film, which Greta reviewed with Meena Kumari, Nigar Sultana and Durga Khote in it. That was also funny. I forget it's name. But it also had some rona dhona and ladki-neeche-khadi-hai near the end.

  28. So how about making a list of songs featuring the stars you met and anecdotes about the meetings? That would be great!

  29. I do have anecdotes about the stars I met, but that period was not very conducive to songs, was it? I can scan those old interviews I think I have some of the old paper cuttings still) and put them up if you wish. :))

  30. Ha! Ha! Ha! (as opposed to 'Ha ha ha' - which means something completely different!) And now you channel Ajit also! I think I will do a Top Ten Ajit post, just for that!

  31. Yes, Pyaar kiye jaa was the one with Mehmood trying to get his father (played by Om Prakash) to fund the debut film of Wah! Wah! Production. :-) One of the few films in which I've actually really enjoyed Mehmood's comedy. And this scene from the film is delightful:


    When I reviewed this film, I was told that it's a remake (by the same film-maker who made the original) of a film called Kadalikka Neramillai.

  32. Ek Thi Ladki becomes a little melodramatic towards the end, but Dholak is funny all through - and Meena Shorey and Ajit make a great couple! :-)

  33. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    that would be a ver ynice X'mas-New Year-Sankranti present for your readers & fans!

  34. I knew the Kadhalikka Neramillai remake; just wasn't sure if it was called Pyar Kiye Jaa. And yes, I loved that film and remember chuckling through the scene you posted. I loved how Om Prakash falls for that script narration! Thanks for refreshing my memory!

  35. You flatter me! :) Let me see which ones I have here, and I'll put them up as soon as I have time.

  36. Yes, Lakhon Ki Baat was the same one. Pretty hilarious! And what about Dillagi? Can't recollect if I have seen it..

    You must the only one of a generation not to have seen that movie. Not been inclined to watch it so far; remember the 'masala film' aversion!

    C'mon, put in a few regional lists once a while to satisfy us also! Did not realize till I re-read my comment that I had written Seetha/Geetha with that extra 'h'...

  37. The opening line of the 2nd para was quoting you; did not get the italics in the comment.

  38. I did so, for you. :) I wish blogger would give us the option to have threaded comments, and text formatting so we do not have to depend on outside sources for this. :((

  39. Dillagi was a sweet movie - both Hema and Dharmendra play college professors in a small town. If you haven't seen it already, watch it

  40. I can name some really funny bengali ones. Like Mahapurush from Kaapurush O Mahapurush, Parash Pathar, Golpo Holeo Shotti, Srimaan Prithviraj etc

  41. Hurrah!
    *dances round in circles*

  42. I need to source these, pronto. :) Apart from Ray (Rai?)'s films, I have seen some Bengali films. Firstly, it is hard for me to get the DVDs. Secondly, unless someone recommends the film, I wouldn't know how good it was. I saw Agantuk and loved it - Utpal Dutt was so good in it (when is he not good?)

    Someone recently told me of a movie called Memories in March - which I must see.

  43. Hi Anu,
    Lovely list of comedies. I really loved some of Basu chaterjee's movies. One of them was "Safed Jhoot" with Vinod Mehra and Mithu Mukherjee. Hamari Bahu Alka, Khatta Meetha were other movies that I loved.

  44. Thanks for dropping by, Chitrapatsangeet. :) (Nice handle, by the way :) I haven't seen Safed Jhoot (*goes off to put *that* on the to-watch list*), but yes, both Khatta Meetha and Hamari Bahu Alka were great to watch.

  45. Thanks Anu. :)
    Here is my blog-http://chitrapatsangeet.wordpress.comKarthik

  46. Karthik, nice to know your name, by the way. :) Am going off right now to take a look at your blog.

  47. If you haven't seen it,I'd recommend"Peecha Karo", an enormously funny movie, but sadly, a film that barely created ripples. To a devoted band, it is the funniest Hindi movie ever made... and even though I felt it could have done with about an hour lesser, it is still up there. Farooque Shaikh, Amjad, Rajendranath, Ravi Baswani, Satish Shah, Anupam Kher. Lots of takeoffs and inside jokes on Bollywood.

  48. I have heard about this! But sadly, haven't been able to get my hands on it. :( Is this the film which had 'passwords' like Kutte ne billi se bow and billi ne kutte se miaow (If not, which was that film??)

  49. Like all in your list except Andaz Apna Apna - couldn't watch more than 10 mins of this movie.

    Happy new year 2012

  50. Another person who didn't like AAA? Awww. : ( What to do? Ve are laike dat wonly.

  51. Where have the other comments gone? They have disappeared!
    kya hua?

  52. Something funny is happening with the comments since yesterday, harvey. If you go to the 'Recent Comments' tab and click on one of the older ones, they all show up again.
    (But then, Filmbuff's and yours and my responses to them don't.) I think Blogger is up to its tricks. :(

  53. I think the Sorcerers Guild of Hollywood has discovered my comment at Dustedoff's blog (http://dustedoff.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/the-7th-voyage-of-sinbad-1958/#comment-12694) and they are striking back. They are (Thank God!) mistaking you for me.

  54. I should have known you were behind this mess! *hands back on hips, exasperated glance and wagging finger!*

  55. Posted a comment yesterday about liking all the films in your list except the first one ie AAA - couldn't sit through more than 10 mins. comment did not appear for some reason.

  56. No, it did, Filmbuff. :( It shows up in another place with just your comment and my response, and harvey exclamation about there being no other comments on this post! I have no idea what is happening!

    In fact, you will see your comment from yesterday under the Recent Comments tab.

  57. Well, Tina Munim was never known for her histrionics, but this was her attempt at 'serious' cinema. :) And yes, I liked that the Christians were normal people instead of being stereotyped as they usually are.

  58. Khatta Meeta was also a good movie in portraying the parsi community. All the main actors did well except Bindiya Goswami who like Tina was there for her glamour quotient. Incidentally I was lucky to find a 2 in 1 DVD with Khatta Meeta and Baton Baton Mein. BBM was indded a good movie

  59. Yes, that was another good adaptation (Yours, Mine and Ours. No one really expects heroines like Bindiya and Tina to act - they are always signed so they can look pretty - and they do a good job of that. :)

  60. Sub kuch thik thak to hai?
    How is life, health and all?

    Take care!

  61. harvey, still under the weather. Which is why you see the blog abandoned. :(

  62. Wish you a better weather!
    Take care!

    Any news about Lalitha? I hope everythign is alright with her and her family.

  63. Sorry to see that you are still under the weather, Anu!  I am sending virtual hugs to you, hoping they make you get better soon.  And do try drinking some warm milk with saffron at bedtime - with sugar, even if you don't get sleepy, at least you can feel good about drinking kesar milk like the queens of yore!

  64. Things are improving somewhat, Harvey!  Dad's in the nursing home, I go there three times daily with food, but on the positive side, he did get up by himself from the chair yesterday, walked about 15 feet (with the walker), and today he got out of the bed by himself - huge achievements as far as I am concerned!  It only happened because of the outpouring of good wishes from everywhere, including here!  Thanks, Harvey, Anu and all my other friends!

  65. That is good news! Thanks for that!
    Don't forget your and the doctor's seva and more your Dad's strong will power and strength. May the progress increase by leaps and bounds! all the best to you and your family to tide over this strenous time!
    Take care, dear Lalitha!

  66. I just love that you list up so many older comedies! Actually,  I haven't seen a single one of them, some I haven't even heard of. So tonight, it's time for Andaz Apna Apna (had heard of it though, of course).
    Lovely blog!

  67. Mette, thanks for dropping in; and commenting. And the compliment. :-)  There are other comedies out there, but these? I can watch as many times as I want to, without getting bored. Do tell me if you watch any from this list - I've posted the links wherever possible - and like / dislike any of them. Keep visiting. :))

  68. Substitute 'tu' with 'teri post'

  69. Yes Golmaal and Chupke Chuoke figure on my list too, but there is one film which I had seen as a little kid ,I remember laughing uncontrollably, I do not know whether I found it funny because I was a kid, the film was Hum Do Daku starring Kishore Kumar.

  70. Haven't eveb heard of it, Shilpi, and that's strange (for me, I mean). *Going off to look for it.*

  71. You're a sweetheart, harvey. I have just managed to get some sleep yesterday night after a marathon 41-hour no-sleep torture. What with having to cope with work, house, kid, etc. when you are not 100 per cent, I couldn't work up any energy to blog. I haven't seen a movie for more than a month now! I work with computers, and it hurts my eyes (lack of sleep / migraine) when I'm editing, so watching movies was out of the question.

  72. A very good list this one,i tell you.The only major omission is Padosan,which is expected since you hate it just like i hate DDLJ(Out of context,I know).Now,i have always maintained that Hrishida and Basu Chatterjee were best comedy film makers of Bollywood (evident from your list too).Both of them made lot of comedies,ranging from good to brilliant.Some of them are- 1] By Hrishida-Golmaal,Chupke Chupke,Khubsoorat,Rang Birangi,Naram Garaam,Buddha mil gaya,Memdidi,Biwi aur Makaan,Sabse bada Sukh.Have you seen the last three that i mentioned.They are really good,although not as excellent like Golmaal or Chupke Chupke.
    2] By Basu Chatterjee-Choti Si baat{I have seen School for scoundrels too and it is not a patch on CSB,even though both of them are based on the same book},Khatta Meetha{I would not call it an adaptation of Yours,Mine And Ours.I would just say that they follow a similar theme just like Amar,Akbar ,Anthony and Waqt do.You don't call AAA an adaptation of Waqt,do you?},Baaton Baaton Mein,Dillagi,Lakhon Ki baat,Hamari Bahu Alka,Shaukeen,Do Ladke Dono Kadke,Safed Jhoot.Have you seen the last three.They are very good comedies too.

    Dustedoff mentioned some truly good comedies like Dekh Kabira Roya,Pyaar Kiye Jaa,Dholak,Ek Thi Ladki and i agree with her-you must watch them.Another really fine comedy is Mai Baap-starring Johnny Walker and Balraj Sahni.Must watch this one too.

    And I would also Recommend Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi.It's Hilarious and makes super fun of all Bollywood and Hollywood cliches.Kishore Kumar also makes fun of his own songs.

    Another interesting thing about the movies that you have listed is that they show a tremendous bengali influence,something which you might not know.Leave aside the fact that out of the 12 films listed here,5 are directed by Bongs,but more importantly many of them directly borrow from bengali films and literature.

    For example,Chupke Chupke is a remake of Bengali film Chhadmabeshi while Golmaal is Based on a Bengali story by famed writer Sailesh dey. Bengali film Maanmoyi Girls School [1935],was another cult bengali comedy which was first remade in south as Missiamma and then remade in hindi as Miss Mary [1957]-the one that you listed.Maanmoyi girls school was also remade in all four south languages,Marathi,Gujarati and bengali also.Shakespeare 'Comedy Of Errors' interestingly was later made into a  hollywood movie,but that was after Angoor.Interestingly even Angoor was not the first adaptation of the Shakespeare work. Even before that,in 1963,came the bengali blockbuster Bharanti Bilas-a film which was closely followed by it's two hindi remakes-Do Dooni Char [1968] and Angoor [1982].Padosan too is a remake of Bengali movie Pascher Bari [1952],which just like in the case of Miss Mary,was first remade in the south from the bengali original and then remade in hindi.

    P.s: People usually talk about Kishore Kumar's comic timing but I think his elder brother Ashok kumar's comic timing was as good,if not better.I mean,films Like Chhoti si Baat, Victoria No.203,Chalti Ka Naam Gadhi provide solid evidence of his comic timing.What do you think?

  73. Raunak, thank you for the detailed comment. I think there was a time in Hindi films when the Bengali influence was very strong. I also think that these movies could be made then because there was a market for such simplicity, where the script was king.

    Thank you for the information about the origins of most of these films. While I knew Miss Mary was adapted from Monmayee Girls' School, and about Chupke Chupke (though I didn't know the name of the movie) I didn't know about that Golmal also originated there.

    Of Hrishida's movies, I haven't seen Biwi aur Makan, though bollyviewer had mentioned it to me once. Mem Didi was such an underrated movie. David, Jayant and Lalita Pawar made that movie such a blast. Out of Basu Chatterjee's movies, I havent seen Do Ladke Dono Kadke and Safed Jhoot.

    I also agree with you about Ashok Kumar. I personally like him more in his comic roles and his negative ones, or even the ones like in Kanoon and Kangan than in his 'Dadamoni' roles.

  74. No, I don’t think the bangla influence on bollywood had
    anything to do with the fact that at that time, script was the king and
    simplicity was the queen. Films like Rang de Basanti, ZNMD, Khosla ka Ghosla,
    Jab We Met, Wake Up Sid, 3 Idiots, Tere Bin Laden, Kahaani etc prove that even
    now films with good stories, scripts and direction work. A well written and
    directed film will always succeed. I think it’s more to do with the fact that
    today, Bollywood does not have that many good writers and directors as in the
    past. Bollywood just does not possess the talent of writing and directing a
    genuinely good film anymore. There are exceptions though, but they are few.   

  75. No, I don’t think the bangla influence on bollywood had anything to do with the fact that at that time, script was the king and simplicity was the queen.

    I didn't say that. :)) They were two mutually exclusive statements. 'The Bengali influence was very strong' and 'The script was king'. 

    I agree though, that there are some very strong script-based films coming out now. I can now go to a theatre based on the director's names. People like Vishal Bhardwaj, Dibankar Bannerjee, even Rajkumar Hirani make me want to see their films.

  76. Sorry,i misunderstood your statement.

    Yes,i too usually go to the theatre by the name of the director or the scriptwriter.Rarely,do i go by the name of the actors in the film.For example, i am waiting for Dibakar's Shanghai,Hirani's Ferrari ki Sawaari,Anurag Basu's Barfee,Bharadwaj's Matru ki bijlee ka mandola,Ayan's YJHD and Reema kagti's Talaash to release this year,so that i can go and watch them in the theatre with a popcorn in my hand.All because of the directors and the screenwriters involved,whose work have really impressed me in the past.

  77. Raunak, they are the directors / scriptwriters I like too, and these are the films that I'm waiting for. :)  Another director I liked was the chap who made No One Killed Jessica.

    Did you watch Kahaani?

  78. Did you watch Kahaani?
    Yes,twice.And loved it.Also watched Agent Vinod because of Sriram Raghavan but was disappointed quite a bit.
    By the way,Rajkumar Gupta is the one who directed No One Killed Jessica.

  79. Ah, yes. Rajkumar Gupta. For some reason, while I remembered 'Rajkumar' I couldn't recall his last name at all.

    I was going to see Agent Vinod for Sriram Raghavan, having liked all his previous films, but then the reviews weren't very kind. It's playing a theatre close to our home; maybe I'll still go and watch it.

  80. This one is a treasure. Perfect pitch story ,songs and timing by every one particularly Kishore and Madhooballa. Their chemistry is palatable, you can see she just adores him. I am sure after her affair with mr. Tragedy he must have been a gift from heaven. My favorite is the youngest brother ,the Zero Marx of the bunch. I also highly recommend Half Ticket.

  81. Chalti ka Naam Gaadi is a classic. Deservedly so. And funnily enough, I would put Andaz Apna Apna in that category too. As I would Chupke Chupke, Angoor and Golmaal. For me, these are any time watches.

  82. I also remember liking doo aur doo paanch with Shashi and Amithabh. Far from a classic but good dark humor.

  83. Oh, not a classic, but definitely a mood-lifter. :) I loved it.

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