Making people laugh is a serious business. But if you get it right, there are chances that you’ll laugh all the way to your bank. Although traditionally our film industry has always puts its trust in family, love, lost-found and revenge sagas but once in a while there comes of a wave of comedy movies that try to tickle our funny bone. This wave has brought with it slapstick humor or extremely crass jokes or relied on overly exaggerated characters, but then again who does not remember Crime Master GOGO? Bollywood history is still replete with comic capers that have risen above the formula movies and have etched a place in memory.
Below is a list of Bollywood comedies that got it right:
- Bheja Fry: Call it Vinay Pathak’s stupidity or the simplicity with which he played the role of a fool, director Sagar Bellary’s debut movie had its heart in the right place. Rajat Kapoor plays the role of a sadist to perfection, and the Vinay Pathak’s innocence warms you up. This movie established Vinay Pathak’s career in the industry.
- Munnabhai MBBS: Rajkumar Hirani’s debut movie, Munnabhai MBBS made the entire nation fall in love with a goon and his sidekick. The dialogues, the script and the acting, this film had everything going its way. The goon with the golden heart pretending to be a doctor contrasted by Boman Irani playing the role of a heartless doctor manages to create a laugh riot. The movie re-established Sanjay Dutt’s and Arshad Warsi’s career, gave us a brilliant actor Boman Irani and introduced non-Mumbaikars to the word “mamu”.
- Khosla ka Ghosla: There’s something about debutant directors that drives them to make memorable movies. Director Dibakar Bannerjee’s debut movie is one such memorable movie. Anupam Kher as the helpless father (extremely real) who has lost his land to the land grabber Boman Irani (menacing) make us feel for him and that’s when we know that the movie is a winner. Great story, brilliant acting by the entire cast and a movie that actually makes you think about the Khurrana’s of the world.
- Chasme Badoor: Not the recent remake but the original one. Director Sai-Paranjpe made this movie with a relatively unknown cast but thankfully this gem of a movie didn’t remain unknown. This film works because it didn’t have a known star cast then and it works even now because of its sheer simplicity and ingenuity. So when Deepti Naval is trying to sell ‘Chamko’ powder’, you actually want to buy it from her.
- Half Ticket: Yes, this is a very old movie and yes I love Kishore Kumar. But it’s not just him. Okay, it is actually just because of him that this movie is a must watch. His screen-presence was more than enough for anyone to crack-up. This movie is from an era when facial expressions and mannerisms actually meant a lot on screen. The songs were simply brilliant and you’ll know if you’ve ever heard ‘Aake Seedhi lagi’ and ‘Cheel cheel chilla ke’. I’m so tempted to add another Kishore Kumar movie, ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi’ in this list. But that wouldn’t be fair.
- Hera Pheri: An epic in a way, Hera Pheri gave us a lot of firsts. The first time we saw the trio of Akshay-Sunil-Paresh. The first time Priyadarshan made a Hindi Comedy film and of course the first time Paresh Rawal in an out-an-out comedy role. The film has over the years achieved cult status and rightly so. Utha le baba….mereko nahi, in dono ko!!
- Kya Kool Hai Hum: One would wonder why this movie is in this list. Yes, this movie is slapstick and downright below the belt. Some might even call it downright vulgar. A movie replete with double meaning jokes, Kya Kool Hai Hum is in the list because it made no excuse about it. This was probably India’s first adult sex comedy (No, Masti was a disaster) and a trend-setter in a way. And the ones who didn’t like the movie are the ones who trip over the American Pie series.
- Bombay To Goa: Released at a time when Amitabh Bachchan was relatively unknown and almost out of work, Bombay to Goa is another movie which has immense re-run value. A gawky looking Amitabh and Aroona Irani are the lead pair but the show stopper was none other than the king of comedy of that era- Mehmood. Set against a backdrop of a bus journey (you guessed the destination right) the film is filled with characters that provide us with laughter from time-to-time.
- Dulhe Raja: One cannot leave out a Govinda movie from this list. And in my view there’s no other Govinda movie that comes close to this one. Here he outshone actors like Johny Lever and Kadar Khan who were in their prime at that time. Yes, this movie didn’t have a great story but this movie had its moments and man, those moments were hilarious. Govinda’s expressions in the song ‘Kya Lagti Hai’ is proof enough that even he was in his prime at that time. This movie also gave us the epic song, ‘Ankhiyon se goli maare’
- Padosan: We’ve had Kishore Kumar’s Half Ticket and Mehmood’s Bombay To Goa in the list already. Now just imagine what happens when the two come together with other bunch of dim-witted characters. This movie also had Sunil Dutt doing a comic role for the first time and he impressed one and all. Padosan is infused with rib-tickling moments and an awesome music.
- Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro: A movie made on a shoe-string budget and drama school pass outs, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a cult of our times. Call it a satire or a black comedy but this movie will have you in splits in a lot of scenes, especially the climax. The movie boasts of a star cast, which had yet to establish itself, but today they have received their fair share of fame. This movie was probably the first to have all its characters come together towards the end of the film to create confusion and hence a lot of laughter. Something that Priyadarshan is known for in all his movies.
- Chupke Chupke: A movie that had two action heroes of that time come together in a comedy. Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chupke Chupke is a film that should not be missed at any cost. From Om Prakash’s helplessness and Dharmendra’s chaste Hindi to Amitabh’s laughter in the film, every single frame of the film is hilarious. The film is a simple tale told with a master’s dexterity.
- Golmaal: Another cult Hrishikesh Mukherjee movie. There’s something about all his movies that make us want to love them. This was a movie that was made at a time when the nation was going gaga over the ‘angry young man’ and very few movies dared to do anything different. And there comes a film that was so refreshingly different yet engaging. Be it Utpal Dutt’s ‘eeeeeeee’ or Amol Palekar’s ‘sir’, every part of the film is a treat to watch.
- Andaz Apna Apna: There are very few movies that flop at the box office when they release and then go on to become a cult. This movie is one of those. Every character in the film is written so well that even when they mouth the most ridiculous dialogues you end up laughing. Aamir immortalized the ‘Aaila’ and Salman ‘Oiimaa’. Crime Master Gogo’s Ghagra , Teja’s ‘mark’ and Bhalla’s ‘ pilan’ are all etched in our memories and still elicit enough laughter when we watch them again and again. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, leave everything and watch it now or you’ll end up saying, “Galti se mistake ho gaya”.
- Angoor: This is my personal favorite. Based on Shakespeare’s ‘A comedy of Errors’, Angoor is a timeless classic. This movie does not have even a single dull moment. Both Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma in a double role give us enough reasons to keep smiling throughout the movie. The confusion brought about due to the double double role seems effortlessly real and there are times when the audiences are as confused as the characters in the movie. The finesse of Gulzar’s script and direction make this movie a must watch.