Cult Comedies of Hindi Cinema
“Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke,” said Steve Martin, the successful American comedian, actor, and playwright. Bollywood comedians from Mehmood to Shakti Kapoor to Johnny Lever, have spent all their lives to solve the mystery of what makes people “die, laughing”. Hindi cinema, over the decades, has produced some timeless comedies, which have transcended time and trends with indefinable quality. There have been iconic political satires like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, buddy movies like Andaaz Apna Apna, and slapsticks Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi.
So, for those of you, who almost gave up on Bollywood comedies after watching Kya Kool Hai Hum, Tees Maar Khan, and Mastizaade, here’s why you should humor your way to these classics, for a healthy dose of laughter.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
Even 60 years of its release, this tale of three brothers stands brilliantly as one of the best entertainers the Hindi film industry has ever seen. Brothers Brijmohan, Jagmohan, and Manmohan- the Kumar brothers Ashok, Anup, and Kishore, respectively, run a garage. Owning to Brijmohan’s troubled past, the garage follows a strict ‘No Woman’ policy. Problems arise when the youngest brother falls in love. Starring Kishore Kumar and Madhubala as the lead pair, this Satyen Bose movie is a delightful proof that a black and white comedy is still remembered for its ridiculous yet amazing comic scenes, and the songs, which are still hummed by thousands.
Chupke Chupke (1975)
The multi-star cast, consisting of Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bachchan and Om Prakash, Chupke Chupke is a classic example of a movie watching which you will smile ear to ear. This Hrishikesh Mukherjee directorial revolves around a Botany professor Parimal Tripathi, who fool’s his wife Sulekha’s intellectual brother-in-law Raghav, by becoming his driver. Everything – even the most outrageous scenes – are played with such understatement and deadpan humor that it is impossible to not burst out laughing.
This situational comedy helmed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee follows the story of Ramprasad, whose desperate need for a job, lands him at a firm owned by Bhavani Shankar, who is a man of eccentric nature and only hires people with moustaches. With Utpal Dutt and Amol Palekar in the lead, what the audience gets is a thoroughly delightful movie, which is supremely relatable and downright funny.
One of the finest adaptations of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, Angoor is a laughter riot about two sets of identical twins separated at birth. The confusion that their identities create will have you rolling on the floor with tears of laughter. Directed by the legendary Gulzar, the movie features Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Patel in the lead.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
A timeless film, starring some of Hindi cinema’s most talented actors, went on to achieve the status of a cult comedy. In the era of the overflowing melodramas and angst-ridden art-house cinema, this movie came as a breather, which craftily balanced both. Kundan Shah’s satirical black comedy will tickle your funny bone and will make you laugh till your stomach hurts. The cherry on the top is the iconic Mahabharata scene, with funny one-liners like “Draupadi sirf tumhari nahi hai. Hum sab shareholder hai”, “Cheer haran ka idea drop kar diya hai”, and “This is too much. Yeh Akbar kahan se aa gaya?”
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Three things that make Andaz Apna Apna an absolute stand out comedy are – brilliant dialogues, goofy nature of the characters and the humor, which is a part of the narrative rather than being forced. Featuring the two Khans- Salman and Aamir, this Rajkumar Santoshi film is all about laughs, laughs, and more laughs. The scene where Prem tries to propose Raveena only to find himself making unusual visits to the loo or the entire climax – everything in the movie will make you go crazy laughing. It is like that perfect comfort food, which lifts you out of the doldrums.
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