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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bollywood's Classic Comedies

Cinematic comedy can be considered the oldest film genre and one of the most prolific and popular. Comedy films are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. These are light-hearted screenplays crafted to amuse, entertain and provide enjoyment. Comedies observe the deficiencies, foibles and frustrations of life, providing merriment and a momentary escape from day-to-day drudgery of life. Here is a tribute to the makers of Hindi cinema's top ten comedies which have the funniest moments and scenes ever seen on screen.

1. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (Satyen Bose, 1958): This is a true classic. Simple story, wonderful music, great acting, brilliant cast and phenominally hillarious. Three brothers (brothers in real life too) manage a garage. The eldest (Ashok Kumar) is a mysogynist because he was jolted in love once. Hence, he does not want his younger, and in his eyes naive, brothers (Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar) to get after women. So he stops them from any female contact whatsoever. But the inevitable happens, and they fall in love one after the other. What causes is all sorts of hilarious situations. The story, like the 1928 Chevrolet in the film, ran amok. It gives you more laughs than you can handle. The lead duo, Kishore and Madhubala were a treat on the screen. The film's highlights are the songs, 'Ek ladki bhigi bhagi si', 'Panch rupaya barah ana' and 'Babu samjho ishare', besides, ofcourse, Kishore Kumar's antics. The movie stands tall amongst the greatest comedies ever.

2. Johar Mehmood in Goa (I. S. Johar. 1965): Comedians Mehmood and I. S. Johar hit a surprise jackpot with the rollicking entertainer Johar Mehmood in Goa. Mehmood's no-holds barred comedy provides the perfect match to Johar's subtle, cynical humour and the sparks flow. The comedy team clicked in a big way and the comic duo went on to make several more capers which immortalized them in Bollywood's muster by incorporating their names in the films' title - Johar Mehmood in .... The story of two brave patriots, who dedicate their lives to liberating Goa from the Portuguese, is punctuated with pauses for romance and some of the most hilarious situations seen on screen. The film's highlight is introducing two very talented actresses, Simi Grewal and Sonia Sahni. The film is also remembered for Mohd. Rafi and Manna Dey's hit duo, 'Ye do diwane dil ke, chale hain dekho milke'.

3. Pyar Kiye Ja (C. V. Sridhar, 1966): A mad mad comedy highlighting the eccentic Kishore Kumar and the comic genious of Mehmood, Pyar Kiye Ja spawned many remakes. Shashi Kapoor plays Kishore Kumar's friend who falls in love with Om Prakash's daughter, Rajshree. After a string of lies and impersonations, Kishore manages to convince Om Prakash to marry his daughter off to Shashi. The problem arises when Om Prakash expresses a desire to meet Shashi's parents. He produces Kishore disguised as an old man as his father in one of the most hilarious situations in the movie. Mehmood, Om Prakash's son, plays an aspiring film director in the movie. The classic scene when he narrates his to-be-made horror film story to his dad replete with sound effects of raindrops, door creeking and wind blowing, is one of the funniest scenes of Hindi cinema. Not surprising, Mehmood won the Filmfare (1967) Award for Best Comedian for his role in the film.

4. Padosan (Jyoti Swaroop, 1968): This is an unforgettable gem. Every scene, song and dialogue remains etched in mind. The two uncrowned kings of comedy, Kishore Kumar and Mehmood are at their best. Add to this an excellent performance by Sunil Dutt as Bhola, a simpleton to the core youngman, and you have a super entertainer. Bhola falls in love with a lovely girl, Bindu (Saira Banu), his 'padosan' whom he admires from his window every day. Being very naive, he approaches his friend Vidyapathi (Kishore Kumar), a music teacher and singer, to win her over. Bindu, because of an earlier tiff with Bhola, pretends to be in love with her music teacher, Master Pillay (Mehmood). What follows is sheer joy and laughter. The trio enact their characters magnificently. Mehmood acting as Masterji was superb. A highlight of the movie is some hilarious numbers, particularly, 'Ik chatur naar karke singar' and 'Mere samnewali khidki mein'.

5. Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar (Rajendra Bhatia, 1973): To cover up his disappearance from home whole night atop a giant wheel at a carnival with an attractive young woman due to power failure, Sunil Mehta (Kiran Kumar) tells his very suspicious wife, Geeta (Radha Saluja) a lie. This lie takes them through one impossible situation after another. The highlight of the film is Champak Bhoomia, both the fictitious (Asrani) and the real (Paintal), who between them create the funniest situations in the film. In fact, Asrani won the Filmfare (1974) Award for Best Comedian for his role in the movie. The great comedians, I. S. Johar and Mehmood add to the mirth, Johar being nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Comedian. The film was also nominated for Best Director, Best Film and Best Story. The movie is also remembered for Kishore Kumar's hilarious number, 'Mujhe meri biwi se bachana'.

6. Chupke Chupke (Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 1975): With every scene rib-tickling, every dialogue hilarious, and a story that has the audience in splits, Chupke Chupke ranks as one of the top comedies in Hindi cinema. Mukherjee once again shows that he is capable of presenting comedy in a sublime manner as he does emotions. Right through the movie not a single scene seems to be out of place. Performances in the movie are the backbone of the film. Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore keep you spellbound for the initial part of the movie while Amitabh Bachchan steals the show in the later. The high point of this comic caper is the perfect timing that Dharmendra and Om Prakash share, making their scenes a treat to watch. Another highlight of the movie is its melodious music by S. D. Burman.

7. Golmal (Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 1979): Immensely witty and hilarious, Golmal comes out to be one of the most favorite comedies of all times. Utpal Dutt, with his impeccable comic timing is the backbone of the movie. With his landmark moustache, he is a true master of mirth. This is probably his best role in Hindi movies. Amol Palekar perfectly fits into the role of Ram Prasad, who has to keep covering up throughout the film for his one lie at the beginning when he goes for a job interview. He outrightly proves why he is renowned as an actor of extraordinary calibre. The supporting cast, Deven Verma, Dina Pathak, David and Shobha Khote add flavor to the outcome. The story penned by Sailesh Dey offers tremendous scope for the funnies. Screenplay writer, Sachin Bhowmick revels in throwing his characters into corny situations from which they extricate themselves only after extravagant bursts of imagination. The movie is also remembered for its hummable number 'Aanewala pal'. Golmal won Filmfare (1980) Awards for Best Actor (Amol Palekar), Best Comedian (Utpal Dutt) and Best Lyricist (Gulzar).

8. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (Kundan Shah, 1983): No cheap humor, no poor jokes, just a simple inexpensive movie, yet a great script and wonderful actors make it one of the best comedies ever produced by Hindi cinema. Rib-tickling, side- splitting, it is a comedy as it should be, and so very rarely is. Corrupt politicians, thieving contractors, their scheming rivals and their inapt secretaries, add two idealistic but naive young photographers in the right place at the right time, throw them all together along with a dead body and all hell breaks loose, and it is hilarious. Everyone in the cast - Naseerudin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Punkaj Kapoor, Satish Shah, Satish Kaushik and Om Puri have given brilliant performances. Probably amongst the best. The wittiest satire ever, JBDY will ever remain a cult classic. The film won Filmfare (1985) Awards for Best Comedian (Ravi Baswani).

9. Hera Pheri (Priya Darshan, 2000): A fun ride from start to finish, Hera Pheri took everyone by surprise. Except for Paresh Rawal, the other actors, Suniel Shetty and Akshay Kumar were not looked upon as comedians. But the trio just rocked the nation with this screwball comedy. The film is a comedy of errors. Set in a Mumbai slum where our three protagonists dwell, the movie depicts the hilarious moments created by the simplicity and stupidity of the characters. It is one roller-coaster ride of laughter. Paresh Rawal as the blundering myopic is one of the best comic characters of Hindi cinema. His nervousness and ideocy exasperates the other two. Om Puri as the Sikh villager visiting the city with an army of fellow Sardars is terrific. Suniel Shetty as the somewhat naive do gooder is wonderful. Akshay Kumar excells in his comic timing. The script is superb and the laughter infectious. The film won Filmfare (2001) Award for Best Comedian (Paresh Rawal).

10. Munnabhai M.B.B.S. (Rajkumar Hirani, 2003): A warm charming film, Munnabhai M.B.B.S. is one of the most uproarious and successful films in recent times. The comedy causes rip-roaring laughter. The emotions and comedy have been integrated perfectly. If the comedy bits have you laughing nonstop, then the emotional scenes will definitely have you reaching for a pack of tissues. The film is one of the funniest to come from Bollywood and that is due to spot on comic timing by Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani. Sanjay Dutt puts on the performance of a lifetime as the title character, enacting a wide range of emotions with ease. When his parents visit him from the village, his transition from a Bhai to a doctor makes you roll with laughter. Circuit (Arshad Varsi), his sidekick, adds oodles of zing to the crazy situations. Boman Irani as Dr. Asthana is brilliant as the hyper doctor who believes in 'laughter' therapy. His scenes with Munnabhai in the college classrooms are sidesplitting. The dialogues written in Mumbai tapori are a highlight, 'Bole to' is the classic example. Munnabhai M.B.B.S. won Filmfare (2004) Awards for Best Actor in Comic Role (Sanjay Dutt), Best Film-Critics, Best Dialogues (Abbas Tyrewala) and Best Screenplay (Rajkumar Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Joseph).


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