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Comedy Circus

Friday, November 05, 2010

The third installment of Golmaal is due to release today, the first two being very successful. The promos promise lots of song-n-dance, special effects and Tusshar Kapoor doing his 'dumb' act again.Makes you want to go back to where it all began - Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Golmaal - a film that worked without big stars, bikini babes and double entendre. The humour was to be found in the situations, at the centre of which stood a moustache, and the Gulzar-esque dialogue (not the maa ki aankh variety).

Remember that film? If not see it again. Ramprasad (Amol Palekar) works with Bhavani Shankar (Utpal Dutt), who believes that all real men should have moustaches and that his employees should refrain from any frivolous activities like watching sports. Ramprasad takes leave from work, saying his mother is ill. On being spotted at a match, Ramprasad is forced to invent a twin – a clean-shaven, good-for-nothing Laxman. Things get really frantic for Ram as he has to play the oily haired simpleton and his flamboyant twin, convincingly. Bhavani Shankar gives Laxman the job of teaching music to his daughter (Bindiya Goswami). To complicate matters further, she falls in love with Laxman, while her father wants her to marry Ram. He has to invent a mother (Dina Pathak) too, and she has to invent a twin and it all gets completely out of hand.

It sounds silly, but the film, without trying too hard, turned out to be sweet and funny. So successful was this no-frills film, that for a while Amol Palekar was a superstar, and all Hrishikesh Mukherjee's early serious cinema was nearly forgotten as he was crowned king of comedy. And most certainly leader of the middle-of-the-road cinema pack that had on its list directors like Basu Chatterjee, Gulzar and Sai Paranjpye. Those comedies were really clean and wholesome, women were respected, nobody was cruelly mocked, and yet audiences laughed. Incidentally, Golmaal 3 is inspired by Basu Chatterjee's Khatta Meetha, which says something about the timelessness of these masters’ films.

Times have changed, the risks are higher, filmmakers have to ensure their films have all the ingredients required to succeed. Making people laugh in these depressing times is good enough, and Rohit Shetty has been doing that...consistently.
Happy Diwali!

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