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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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Superstars As Star Comedians

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 heroes of Hindi cinema who apart from their remarkable performance in whatever role they played in a movie, also provided the funniest moments and scenes ever seen on screen.

Ashok Kumar
Reverently called Dadamoni, Ashok Kumar was one of the finest actors that India has produced. He has been awarded the Padmabhushan & the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. An iconic actor for over six decades, starting his film career in 1930s he starred in over 275 films and won several awards for his performance. A very natural actor, his comic timing was also impeccable in his most remembered comedies that include Choti Si Baat (1975), Khoobsurat (1980), Khatta Meetha (1981) and, of course, Chalti Ka Naam Gadi (1958), a true classic. Simple story, wonderful music, great acting, brilliant cast and phenominally hillarious. The story, like the 1928 Chevrolet in the film, ran amok. It gives you more laughs than you can handle. The movie stands tall amongst the greatest comedies ever.

Indeed, Motilal had a glorious record as filmdom’s smartest hero. For over two decades, he reigned supreme over the hearts of swooning fans. Noted for his mastery over histrionics, Motilal’s name became a byword for effortless acting. He even excelled in the light comedy roles. Motilal’s success in comedy was due to his air of gaiety and informality, which people had missed so far in the rigid, copy-book variety of film acting on the Indian screen. Even in sombre roles, a give-away twinkle in his eyes indicated that Motilal had the last laugh. He took the filmworld by storm with his comic role in Roop K Shorey’s comedy 'dhamaka', Ek Thi Ladki (1949), the biggest runaway hit.

Dilip Kumar
Comedy and action were, in fact, an escape route for Dilip Kumar. He provided audiences with his distinct brand of action- cum- comedy in Leader (1964). In Kohinoor with just a jerk of a shoulder while he is in disguise as Kohinoor baba, he sparked more comedy than any comedian can. It is difficult to say which performance was better— the slick, smooth-talking collegian of Leader or the bellicose villager of Gopi.The sedate, sober Dilip Kumar can be outrageously funny. He can be sharp and saucy. He can display his flair for comedy in many languages including Bengali, Marathi, Parsi, Gujarati, Punjabi, besi­des Urdu and English. Azad (1955), Ram Aur Shyam (1967), Sagina (1974) - these films catch him in other hues of comedy. He played these roles with compelling conviction, lacing humor with an inner meaning and social comment.

Raj Kapoor
Also known as The Show-Man, was an outstanding actor, producer and director of Hindi cinema, but above all an ace comedian. The winner of nine Filmfare Awards, his performance in Awaara, was ranked one of the "Top-Ten Performances of all time", by the Time Magazine. He went on to produce, direct and star in many box office hits such as Barsaat (1949), Awaara (1951), Shree 420 (1955), Chori Chori (1956), Jagte Raho (1956) and Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960). These films established his screen image as The Tramp modeled on Charlie Chaplin's most famous screen persona. Outside of his home productions, his most notable comedies were Anari (1959), Chhalia (1960) and Teesri Kasam (1963). He produced, directed and starred in his ambitious film, Mera Naam Joker (My name is Joker).

Dev Anand
The actor, writer, director and producer, is remembered for his work in Hindi cinema spanning more than 65 years with acting in 114 Hindi films.The Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2002 for his contribution to Indian cinema. A rapid-fire style of dialogue delivery and a penchant for nodding while speaking became Dev's style in films like House No. 44, Pocket Maar, Munimji, Funtoosh, C.I.D. and Paying Guest. His style was lapped up by the audience and was widely imitated. He was often compared to the famous actor Gregory Peck the world over. Dev Anand and Nutan's four-film association in comedy roles, Paying Guest, Baarish and Manzil culminated with Tere Ghar Ke Saamne. Teen Devian (1965) was amongst Dev Anand's hilarious hits. This delightful musical romance revolves around a winsome guy, his inability to say 'no' and how it lands him in a spot with three pretty but clearly dissimilar women. Dev Anand is at his flirtatious best around Nanda, Simi Garewal and Kalpana in this lively pageant of May-the-best-girl-win.

Film star Dharmendra was first noticed in a Filmfare spot- the- talent contest and was signed by Arjun Hingorani for the film "Dil Bhi Tera, Hum Bhi Tere". At the start of his career Dharmendra was usually cast as a romantic hero. Dharmendra was also superb in comedy films like "Chupke Chupke", a masterpiece from Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Dharmendra's most memorable role as action-cum-comedy hero was in the blockbuster film "Sholay" where he was teamed with Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. Apart from Amitabh Bachchan, no other film star can claim to be equally good in comedy and action as Dharmendra. In almost all his movies he shows his flair for comedy and succeeds in bringing big smile to the viewers. In his latest film Yamla Pagla Diwana, the family, Dharmendra, Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol, reunites for the second time and produced one of the most hilarious movies of 2011. This film was a huge success both critically and commercially and brought Dharmendra back in the limelight in a big way.

Amitabh Bachhan
He is, undoubtedly, the Shehansha of Indian commercial Hindi cinema. His first appearance was in the movie Saat Hindustani (1969). He showed his mark in the Hindi film world with Zanjeer (1975), which set the trend for the ‘Angry Young Man’ action roles in Hindi films. With his tall and lean looks, Amitabh became emblematic of the new kind of action hero. This continued in his other films like Deewar, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Hera Pheri, Shakti, Lawaris and others. So total was Amitabh's dominance of the movie scene in the 1970s and 1980s that the late French director Francois Truffaut called him a "one-man industry". The secret of the astounding success of this angry young-man has been his additional ability to make people laugh with his excellent comic timing. His subtle but very delightful style of comedy was behind his super hits like Amar Akbar Anthony, Sholay, Lawaris, Namak Halal, Silsila etc. 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. 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 his perfect timing.

Akshay Kumar
This Bollywood actor personifies the real life story of a guy next door who makes it big in the Bollywood. From the by lanes of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, where he was brought up, this actor has reached dizzying heights in his Bollywood career, more recently for his comic timing in hit comedies.
The comedies which did well were Hera Pheri, Awara Paagal Deewana, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi(co-starring with Salman Khan) and Garam Masala with actor John Abraham. The zenith of the actor's career was yet to arrive. 2006 saw the launching of Phir Hera Pheri which was again a big movie. Bhagam Bhag was a great comedy which was enjoyed by the audiences. 2007 was the most successful year in the career of Akshay Kumar. Namaste London was a lovely movie with Katrina Kaif. This movie was a big hit. Other super hits were Heyy Babyy, Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Welcome and, of course, Siingh Is King. Akshay Kumar has delivered many more hits and had his fans coming out laughing from his movies and his producers laughing to the banks.

Salman Khan
A great face, one of the best bodies in Bollywood and a smile which can charm anyone are his most visible assets. Maine Pyaar Kiya, a story of timeless love, was the movie that propelled Salman Khan to instant fame all over India. In Andaz Apna Apna, a light and frothy comedy, Salman Khan played his role with élan and poise. His comical timing was excellent and along with Aamir Khan he gave us one of the most enjoyable hits of 1993. The film was a lot of fun to watch and Salman proved his versatility as a comedian. In Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, one of the biggest Bollywood hits of all time, Salman was at his best in comedy sequences. His comic timing is truly fantastic. Mujhse Shaadi Karogi was another film where Salman proved that he was quite adept at doing comedy roles . The film had Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra as his co-stars, and went on to become a great box office hit. Salman has also become renowned for his depiction of the strong angry young man with a flair for comedy. Wanted was among his best performances in this category. After Wanted came Dabangg, Ready and Body Guard which were made along the same line – lots of action, lot of stunts and loads of fun!

Aamir Khan
Aamir was first introduced as a child artiste in the 1970's hit Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973) -- he was the youngest child in the trio. His debut movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak(1988) was a run away success and he achieved instant stardom. In the year 1990 he delivered the biggest grosser of the year in the form of Dil and since then he has not looked back giving several commercial and critical hits, like Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991), Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander( 1992), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke( 1993), Parampara (1993), Andaz Apna Apna (1994), Baazi( 1995), Rangeela (1995), Raja Hindustani (1996), Ghulam (1998), Sarfarosh (1999), Dil Chahta Hai( 2001), Lagaan (2001), Fanaa( 2006) and Rang De Basanti (2006). Using classic "method acting", Aamir acts in all genres of Indian films - action, drama and romance, but above all comedy. His 3 Idiots is considered among the biggest classic comedies.

Sanjay Dutt
After seeing his performance in Vaastav: The Reality (1999) that earned him the Best Actor in a Leading Role award at Filmfare Awards, no one could believe that it was the same star who played Munnabhai M.B.B.S. ( 2003), 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. 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. After the phenomenal success of this film, Sanjay Dutt has been sought after by producers for mainly comedy roles and he has proved his skills as a comedy avatar quite often.

It is said that in Bollywood fates are made and broken in just a matter of few Fridays. While we have seen several who were superstars of the year but just disappeared after a year, there were some old warhorses that trudged and moved along, giving guaranteed money spinners – if not critically acclaimed ones – year after year, month after month and in some cases, week after week, because they all had one common quality – their perfect comic timing.


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