It’s been nearly 31 years (first released in August 1983) since the release of Jaane Bhi do Yaaron – an iconic, timeless classic of a film; a film that any film buff would include in his list of top Hindi comedies of all time. It would have been enough to say that that this low budget film (made with a budget of Rs 7,00,000/-) starring some of India’s most underrated actors went on to became something of a cult classic, but there are so many other reasons that make Jaane Bhi do Yaaron the top comedy of all time:
1. Social Satire
This was a movie ahead of its time – a time where we mostly saw simplistic melodramas or angst ridden parallel cinema that would keep you depressed for days. The comedy was a gentle lampooning our social ills, – far before it became fashionable to speak of the deeply entrenched corruption in the public system. It was a film that made you think even as it made you laugh.
2. Black Comedy
We Indians rarely make light of weighty matters. In the event, black comedies are few and far between. Jaane Bhi do Yaaron deftly touches on problems that the Indian middle class faces, about corruption in public life, about human vices such as dishonesty and greed, but in a comedic, non-preachy manner.
3. Naseeruddin Shah & Ravi Baswani ki Jodi
Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani play a couple of photographers struggling to make a living – right from the first scene where the two are desperately waiting for guests to arrive for the opening of their “Beauty” photo studio to dressing up a dead body and dragging it all over the place, their comic timing and chemistry is terrific.
4. Bhakti Barve
Undoubtedly essaying the role of a lifetime, Bhakti Barve as Shobha Sen, the tough as nails, manipulative and ultimately corrupt newspaper editor was perfectly cast.
5. “Peene Ka Paani Alag, Gutter Ka Paani Alag”
This line is by Satish Shah’s character D’Mello who is shown to be newly foreign returned and fascinated with all things American. It reflects the unfortunate Indian preoccupation with everything “phoren”. We tend to believe anything good about foreign countries and are quick to disparage everything Indian.
6. “Thoda Khaao Thoda Phenko”
This line is hilarious on several levels: superficially it is hugely funny that Shah’s character is fooled into feeding a couple of guys in the bushes. It is also funny that if the Americans do it, it must be the thing to do, even if it means wasting something expensive. And finally there is the fact that the corrupt in our country think nothing of either waste or of conspicuous consumption.
7. Kundan Shah’s Masterful Direction
Whether it’s the brilliant casting of Pankaj Kapoor’s as the unashamedly evil Tarneja, Neena Gupta as the immoral bimbette and Satish Kaushik as the bumptious secretary, or the hilarious screen play or the amazingly deft direction, this movie was certainly Kundan Shah’s most dazzling achievement.
8. Best Drunk Ever
Om Puri who plays Ahuja in the film; another corrupt builder and Tarneja’s competitor, has a most delightful conversation with a dead body in a coffin and proceeds to take him home presuming that the coffin is some sort of sports convertible. A side-splitting scene.
9. Best ‘Laash’ EVER!
Satish Shah plays a dead body for most of the film – now in a suit, now in pyjamas, now in a burqa and now in a sari with a ghooghat; now seen in a coffin and now seen on a pair of skates. No one ever played a dead body so brilliantly and to such hilarious results as did Satish Shah in this movie.
10.Funniest scene in a Hindi film
The Mahabharat scene near the end of the movie is full of dozens of the most incredibly funny lines. This is arguably the funniest scene in a Hindi film, one that is littered with classics such as
- “Draupadi sirf tumhari nahi hai. Hum Sab Shareholder Hai”
- “Aisi Sati Ki Jai Ho, Jai Ho!”
- “Cheer haran ka idea drop kar diya hai”
- “Shant gadaadhari Bheem”
- “Nalayak, adharmi, durachari, vamachari, bhrashtachari, bol sorry!”
- “This is too much. Yeh Akbar kahan se aa gaya?”
By – Reena Daruwalla
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