The coronavirus has kind of made staying at home a priority for all of us. We at Filmfare are constantly looking for new ways to help our readers cope up with the lockdown situation. One of the fun things we’re doing is to start a Filmfare Recommends column wherein we’re going to list the definite films from different eras and genres that would help you tide over the difficult times.
Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. So we’re starting with some comic fare. The ’90s were an era where all kinds of massy movies were being made. It was a time when David Dhawan was at the peak of his prowess, when Govinda was the byword of comedic acting. They were loud, over-the-top affairs where stars dressed garishly and lyrics made no sense, and the choreography was akin to an aerobic class. And yet the movies proved to be massive crowd-pullers. Here are the top 5 comedy films of the era that you must watch.
Director: David Dhawan
Cast: Govinda, Chunky Panday, Kader Khan, Shilpa Shirodkar, Raageshwari, Ritu Shivpuri
The film had the maximum number of double roles in it. There are two Govindas, two Kader Khans, and even two Raj Babbars, resulting in a virtual comedy of errors that’ll even stump Shakespeare himself. And yes, there’s a monkey that’s sometimes more intelligent than his human companions. He even has a song, Bade kaam ka bandar, dedicated to him. What can you say to that? Govinda and Chunky Panday play brothers who, along with their pet monkey, are always dressed alike. They are the most mischievous of lads, earning the ire of their dad Kader Khan. They learn there is a plot to replace the Chief Minister, Raj Babbar, with his lookalike. But before they can do something about it, they get into deep trouble, what with Chunky being accused of killing Govinda’s character. How the brothers get out of this mess forms the crux of the story. Apart from the mayhem involving lookalikes, comedy is also derived from the love triangle between Kader Khan, Bindu and Sadashiv Amrapurkar. The film had some rather raunchy songs like Angna mein baba, and O laal dupatte wali. Overall, it was a pure masala entertainer and set David Dhawan on his groove.
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Director: Raj Kumar Santoshi
Cast: Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor
A comedy starring four top stars and directed by one of the biggest directors of the era has to be a theatrical hit, right? Strange it may seem, despite the cult status it enjoys today, Andaz Apna Apna didn’t see commercial success upon its initial release. Today, of course, it’s considered as one of the finest comedies to have come out of Bollywood. Fans know its dialogue by heart and can recite it scene by scene. Teja main hoon, mark idhar hai, is iconic while Galti se mistake ho gaya has become part of everyday lore. It’s said both Raveena and Karisma weren’t talking to each other while the film was being made but such was their professionalism that you wouldn’t know it watching the film. Aamir and Salman play two slackers who want to get rich quickly by any means. Their dreams come true when they learn that a foreign returned rich heiress is looking for possible grooms. They make extravagant plans to get in her good books and learn in the process that a lookalike is planning to kidnap the girl’s father and impersonate him in order to loot all his money. They let go of their rivalry and go on a rescue mission, leading to further misadventures. While Aamir Khan was in his element as always, Salman Khan earned his stripes as a comic actor with this film. The supporting cast comprising Shakti Kapoor, Deven Verma, Viju Khote and Paresh Rawal were superb as well. It’s one of those films you can watch from anywhere and still end up laughing.
Coolie No 1 (1995)
Director: David Dhawan
Cast: Govinda, Karisma Kapoor, Kader Khan
This started the No 1 franchise for David Dhawan. It was a remake of the hit 1993 Tamil film Chinna Mapillai starring Prabhu and Sukanya. The film had shades of the famous Gol Maal (1979), starring Amol Palekar. A matchmaker, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, is humiliated by a wealthy man, Kader Khan, who wants his sons-in-law to be wealthier than him. The matchmaker vows to teach the arrogant father a lesson and hatches a plot to get his daughter, Karisma Kapoor, married to a smooth-talking coolie Govinda. In order to create even more confusion, the coolie maintains that it’s his younger brother who is a menial labourer while pretending to be a super-rich lad. The film is known for its confrontation scenes between Kader Khan and Govinda. Their comic timing together is superb and they feed off each other like the pros they are. Karisma Kapoor starred as Govinda’s love interest but had nothing major to do in the film really. Its Main to raste se ja raha tha song is still famous today.
Director: Indra Kumar
Cast: Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Juhi Chawla, Kajol
This was reportedly the last film where Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla starred together. Director Indra Kumar had a casting coup going, casting the much in love real-life pair Kajol and Ajay Devgn together in the film. Ajay wasn’t known for out-and-out comedy before this and proved his versatility with the film. Ajay and Juhi play rich kids who are friends with Aamir and Kajol, who happen to be poor. Their respective fathers, Sadashiv Amrapurkar and Dalip Tahil want them to let go of this friendship and marry each other. But Ajay loves Kajol and Aamir loves Juhi, leading to further ire from their fathers. In order to make them break up, they orchestrate events where it looks like Aamir and Kajol have become intimate. This leads to friction between friends till the situation gets sorted with the help of Johnny Lever’s character. It was a leave-your-brains-behind comedy, with heavy melodrama thrown in as well. The histrionics of a superb lead cast, who were clearly enjoying themselves, made it all feel like a breeze. Ajay and Aamir were brilliant as comrades and it’s a pity the duo didn’t work together in a film.
Director: David Dhawan
Cast: Salman Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Rambha
This film marked the first collaboration between Salman Khan and David Dhawan. It was an uncredited remake of the Jackie Chan comedy, Twin Dragons (1992) and firmly established Salman as a comedy star. The film revolved around separated-at-birth twins who suffer from reflection syndrome, wherein what one experiences would be felt by the other, depending on their proximity. While one grows up to be a rockstar, the other is a tapori. They somehow end up locking horns with Mukesh Rishi’s character, whose father was responsible for their separation. All kinds of subplots play out, as the brothers unite and learn to use their unique ability to defeat their enemies. The screenplay was exhaustive, to say the least, but the film was buoyed by Salman’s performance. He was a hoot as the tapori Raja and his chemistry with both Karisma and Rambha worked in the film’s favour. The girls didn’t have much of a role in the film, which can be easily called a Salman-fest. Rambha’s voice was said to be dubbed by Tabu in the film. Its musical score, comprising such hit numbers as Oonchi hai building and Tan tana tan, tan tan tara is still a hit.