Is Bollywood synonymous to entertainment for you? If yes, then this is just the stuff you are looking out for. Read on as we bring in an incomparable catalogue comprising the best comedies of the yester years and that of today, with respect to the Indian Hindi Film industry.
For any movie connoisseur, and he or she may not be a Hindi movie fan, the following 10 movies are a must watch as they are amongst the most successful Bollywood movies to have tickled the funny bone for the audiences. They say, entertainment, if done right, is timeless. This little collection here will prove exactly why the following movies are significant comedies, comedy being an important and widely accepted genre of entertainment, to have made it to our memories and to have safely remained there and often, passed on to generations from generations.
The timeless giggles of the past :
Miss Mary – Released in 1957
Ask anyone, and no, not just the grey haired folks. All of us are acquainted with the Meena Kumari, the charismatic actress who slowly fell prey to stardom evils like alcohol and melancholia, because the time that we are talking about here does not see words like depression or drugs mentioned in the golden book of history. So what makes Miss Mary worth watching? The fact that it has Meena Kumari at her natural best before she started to lose it all in glamour is reason enough for fans. What is even more special is the comprehensive storyline. Gemini Ganeshan as Arun, decides to pose as husband while Meena Kumari is Mary, the make believe wife, and they take up this job for married couples where a beautiful student falls in love with Arun and phony couple is under the constant whacked out watch of none other than Kishore Kumar. A little drama, lots of light hearted laugh and some amazing music makes Miss Mary a complete collector’s choice and a great family watch.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi – Released in 1958
This movie cannot really be called a past picture. It is a classic alright, and is almost just as good as any newly released movie because of its contemporarily evolved story line. Needless to say, a movie lover would understand from the mere poster, the casting , the music director, and every other detail about this movie made it a splendid watch. You have not got the DVD yet? Well go out and get one soon, and keep it, because the super tale of the three brothers, Brijmohan, Jagmohan and Manmohan is a collectible! This features real life brothers Ashok Kumar, Anup Kumar, and Kishore Kumar, respectively. The brothers run a garage that does not cater to customers of the opposite sex, as in , females. Enter Madhubala, as Renu. Manmohan falls for Renu and here begins an interesting tale of brotherhood In Indian families, car chases, murderers masquerading as princes, etc. In short, you need to have a laugh? Just watch this.
Padosan – Released in 1968
This comedy boasts of one of the best romantic tracks of all time and also is viewers delight for its subtle yet powerful story line. Yes, I am referring to Mere Saamne Wali Khirki and the movie is Padosan – another Kishore Kumar success story? Yes. But what is more is that the success can be equally distributed among the other stars in the cast, which include the likes of Sunil Dutt and Saira Banu. What the film really boasts of is a great gang of sharp and impulsive characters. Of course as the name suggests, the story is set on a neighborly affair. Songs like Ek Chatur Naar , by Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar, are an added bonus for any watch.
Chupke Chupke – Released in 1975
Hrishikesh Mukherjee films are an all time favorite for any devoted Hindi cinema lover. What is so exquisite about Chupke Chupke is that you get to see the superstars in super roles, directed by someone like Mukherjee and delivering a script dotted with witty dialogues and counter dialogues that caters to an audience who would like to watch a comedy with a little bit of brain work , rather than just gags that might turn mundane after a while. Dharmendra as Doctor Parimal Tripathi is a delight to watch! But then again, so are Amitav Bachchan, Jaya Bhadhuri and Sharmila Tagore. The cast is arguably the best one for their contemporary times. You can keep repeating watches over this movie as it never gets old! It’s a major confusion set against a romantic and conservative back ground. And it is always good to watch movies that tell us our seniors might have known better English than we do.
GolMaal – Released in 1979
This name is almost like an Indian anthem, the word that is. Regardless of language barriers, the whole country’s aware that it stands for “confusion”. So is this a confusing movie? It is! And hilariously so! It is that kind of confusion that can make the audience fall for a movie instantly and make it a timeless classic. Utpal Dutt, the kind of actors that the yester years could not be more proud of than they and we already are, as Bhavani Shankar, is marvelous! He is the suspicious boss and worried father and in his company works under him, none other than a comic king himself, Amol Palekar. Palekar, as Ramprasad Sharma, goes out on all four limbs to try and impress his boss with ethical values and tangles up further more in hilarious situations that make this comedy a hot favorite for one and all.
The genre of comedy revisited since the 1990s:
Andaaz Apna apna – released in 1994
It is a Rajkumar Santoshi film and that might be a good reason to watch it to see how Santoshi worked the comic genre back in the 1990s. However, what we really must notice is that this movie set off two careers , as far as their comedy works are concerned, that are today’s big Bollywood names – Amir Khan and Salman Khan. The storyline is centered on a series of comedy of errors and has stars like Karishma Kapoor and Raveena tendon in the female leads. The crazy plot and inimitable performances by the whole cast makes this a must watch.
Hera Pheri – Released in 2000
If movies could really determine what a star shall be remembered for, Paresh Rawal, Sunil Shetty and Akshay Kumar owe a lot to this rib tickling comedy that actually redefined Bollywood comedy to earnest fans. Priyadarshan, now an accomplished comedy director, entered his career with this movie that revolved around a wrong telephone directory entry. The sub plots are equally hilarious and involve almost everything like kidnapping, social evil like poverty, unemployment, etc. Rawal is marvelous as the garage owner and land lord Baburao Ganpatrao Apte. So much so, that this name is a pop quiz matter for any Hindi movie buff. Tabu, the only female lead, though already famous by then for her acting skills, added a new dimension to her career by doing this movie.
Munna Bhai MBBS – Released in 2003
This is an excellent Raj Kumar Hirani movie revolving around the education system vis-à-vis doctors. What made this movie a national phenomenon is the excellent “good goon and his side kick” chemistry made alive on screen by Sanjay Dutt as Munna Bhai and Arshad Warsi as Circuit. One cannot miss out the way certain sub plots make the storyline even more intriguing. This movie has been successful in re instating the Indianness in Bollywood, the originality that was mostly unavailable from this industry during the 880s and 90s. Gracy Singh as the sweet love interest and responsible doctor won hearts all over. Of course, this movie would be incomplete without Bomani Irani, the “mamu”.
Lage Raho Munna Bhai – Released in 2006
A sequel to munna bhai mbbs, this movie reinvented the significance of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophies in modern India. Subtle sub plots and amazing music only made this comedy more watchable. The humor too was light and comprehensible and in a tricky way dealt with social evils of today’s life. Yet again, great performances by the Sanjay-Arshad duo won audience appreciation as well as critical ones. Vidya Balan with her signature “good morning Mumbai!” line as a radio jockey played a significantly commendable role. Boman Iranai, just like the MBBS version of the movie, is a viewer’s delight as far as negative roles are concerned.
Bheja Fry I and II – Released in 2007 and 2011, respectively
You talk comedy in modern Hindi cinema, and you inevitably talk of Vinay Patthak. Both Bheja Fry I and II say him team up with talented actors like Rajat Kapoor and Kay Kay Menon to deliver subtle yet intellectual urban comedies that will be remembered by avid cine goers for a long time to come. If you really wish to find out how Hindi cinema has evolved in this genre in the 21st century, these are the movies to watch. Vinay makes the less worldly-wise, very good-hearted and simple tax inspector Bharat Bhushan come alive as a delightful character. Bheja Fry II also sees Amol Gupte as the mad R.D. Burman fan, needless to see, as always, Gupte’s performance is widely applauded. Minissha Lamba is also a part of the cast.
Once you have watched these 10 films, which is of course not a very inadequate number to talk of comedy in Bollywood, I am sure you will notice how radically the term comedy has been redefined all the time with the passing years. The main aspect of change however is widely noticed in the story line. The comedy of a common man’s turn of fate, or destiny as a few would like to call it, was the centric aspect of yester year movies. The modern films however, concentrate more on dynamic, and at times, hyperactive characters, instead of on the whole narrative plot.
Some lesser commendable movies of the 21st century that might tickle your funny bone would be Dhamaal, Dhol, Golmaal (new), Golmaal II, Golmaal III, Phir Hera Pheri, Welcome, Apna Sapna Money Money, Khichdi – the movie, Office Office – the movie, etc.
So go LOL!