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Favorite Hindi Comedies.

with 15 comments

If you think about it, Hindi films (the ‘commercial’ kind) are the ultimate get your money’s worth deal. You have the major cinematic genres – drama, comedy, action,  musical – all rolled into one three hour plus product ! (Just for the record, this was not meant to be a compliment.)

However, from time to time, Hindi cinema does foray into genre-specific films – in particular, the comedy. Since that happens to be my favorite genre, and since my old post on Hindi film dialogues is still the daily best-seller, so why not a shameless attempt at another such  traffic-hogging post: the Best of Hindi Comedies !  (The idea for this post came from an exchange on another post, many months ago – but I have recently been told to finish it).

Unfortunately, Hindi (or Indian) cinema as a whole has never really ventured into irreverent humor on the lines of Monty Python, relying more on either subtle romantic comedies or slapstick,  but still there are quite a few great ones out there – enough to select ten of them. I have realized that lists like these are highly subjective – hence its simply my own favorite top 10. But if there are films that you think should be in the list, please do mention in the comments.

Each film in the really deserve a detailed analysis, but being a lazy-ass I am, I have written briefly only briefly (you can google for the reviews, but I suspect most of my readers will have seen everything on this list). So without further ado, here goes:

10. Andaaz Apna Apna:  A rather goofy story of two no-gooders trying to outsmart  each other in their attempt to marry the ‘London returned’ heir of a rich diamond merchant. Perhaps the only film in which Salman Khan’s buffoonery is tolerable (as it fits right in).Amir Khan and Paresh Rawal excels as expected but neither of the heroines are tolerable.

9. Chhoti si Baat: The story of an introverted and meek middle-class man (Amol Palekar) trying to win the attention and love of a girl (Vidya Sinha)  he meets everyday during their commute. His attempts are thrawted by the smooth-talking slicker (Asrani). Enter Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh (Ashok Kumar) as a problem-solver with his ‘love and self-confidence for dummies’ education, and the no longer naive Palekar swoops off the girl.

I love the beginning of this film, where the narrator (Gulzar I think) describes the romance in the life of each member of the Jackson-Tolaram Company where Palekar works. The songs, Na Jaane Kyun and Yeh Din, Kya Aaye are beautiful.

8. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi: A classic comedy from the ‘Ganguly Brothers’. Some of the most memorable comic songs – Jaate the Japan, Babu Samjho Ishaare, Paanch Rupaiya Bara Aana etc. Kishore Kumar at his finest.

7. Chupke Chupke: I actually prefer the original Bengali movie (Chaddabeshi) on which this is based. But Amitabh’s ‘Aap log to kuchh samajh-tei nahin hai !!‘ as he is desperate trying to keep up appearances as a married man while desiring to woo Jaya Bhaduri is priceless.

6. Chasme Buddoor: The often overlooked gem from Sai Paranjape. Once again shy, simpleton eventually wins the heart of the girl. The ending was a bit lame though. Love the use of old Hindi songs montage.

5. Naram Garam: The Amol Plaekar-Utpal Dutt-Hrishikesh Mukherjee trio teams up for another laugh riot (Golmaal was made earlier). My best memory of this film is a bright-red pajama clad Shatrugan Sinha’s lover-lorn expressions as he clutches on to a transistor radio and wistfully says  ‘Ab yehi achha lagta hai – ke kuch achha nahin lage…‘  and of course, ‘Chana-gur – chana gur to mujhe bahut achha lagta hai’. Look out for a subtle dig at the Indira Gandhi government’s decision to impose emergency.

4. Padosan: A comedy about love for the ‘girl-next-door’, Sairan Banu, who is being courted by an improbable duo – a rustic simpleton, Sunil Dutt and vying with him, a rather caricatured Tamilian Brahmin music and dance teacher, played by Mehmood. Stealing the show, however, is Kishore Kumar with his paan-chewing appearance as ‘Guru’ and his posse of various funny side characters, including Keshto Mukherjee (whose rendition of ‘Kaash, Kaash’ as ‘Gaas, gaas’ is one of the comedic highlights). Further hilarity comes from Kishore Kumar’s wildly improvised songs, Ek Chatur Naar and ‘Meri Pyari Bindu‘.

3. Rang Birangi: Yet another one featuring Palekar and Dutt, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Plenty of Hindi film in-jokes. Deven Varma plans to inject some life into the happy and settled, but unexciting life of Amol Palekar and Parveen Babi. He weaves a plot based on another Hindi film, Pati Patni Aur Woh, whereupon Palekar woos his pretty secretary (Deepti Naval) and thereby reviving the love in his own marriage.

Also, some of the wittiest names in Hindi film: Dhudandar Bhatawdekar and Amritanshu Shekhar Satyawadi. The last few scenes in the police stations are brilliant examples of comic timing.

2. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron: Without doubt, the most brilliant political satire to be ever made in Indian films. Favorite line from the film: ‘Thoda Khaao – Thoda Phenko‘. I remember literally rolling on the floor while the climactic ‘Mahabharat’ sequence was going on.

1. Gol Maal: The zany comedy about multiple identities of made-up twins and of course, moustaches. As I have written about this film earlier: ‘This uproaringly hilarious, rolling-on-floor-laugh-out-loud comedy about one man juggling duplicate identities, a job under a stern, eccentric boss and a love-affair with the demanding daughter of the said boss, never gets stale. Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt achieved perfect comedic timing with this. One of the favortie scenes:  Utpal Dutt admonishing his daughter – ‘Tum use shaadi nahin karoge – jise tum pyar karti ho ! Tum use shaadi karoge jise main pyar karta hoon" D

It was a toss-up between Golmaal and Jane Bhi Do Yaaron – really hard to pick either as number one. Golmaal wins out because of my fond remembrances of watching the film for the first time on a lazy weekday afternoon – I believe DD was showing it during their election coverage. Nostalgia’s such a wonderful feeling.  Others that barely missed the cut: Katha – Sai Paranjape’s modern parable of the tortoise-hare story (an excellent analysis here by Jai Arjun); Angoor – Gulzar’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, a comedy about two sets of identical twins and of course each being mistaken for the other twin; Shaukeen – a simple comedy about three old-aged friends vacationing in Goa and trying to recapture their youth by romancing a a buxom crooner, Rati Agnihotri; and Half-Ticket – love it mostly for the song, Cheel Cheel – Kishore belting the nonsensical number while dressed as a school-boy.

I admit that there is an conspicuous lack of recent (post-80s) made Hindi movies – and that is because I do not consider any comedies made in this time to be really up there in quality with the ones I have listed. MunnaBhai, Hera-Phiri etc are perhaps funny – but simply cannot match up with the films in made during the earlier golden years.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

May 2, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Posted in Fun, India, LOL

15 Responses

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  1. AWESOME!! If I had to come up with a similar list, it would just have Angoor instead of AAA. I like AAA but not so much as most people seemed to have.


    May 2, 2007 at 5:11 pm

  2. […] has come up with a list of top ten Hindi comedies of all time. Needless to add, like all such lists, it is highly subjective. Unfortunately, Hindi (or Indian) […]

  3. exactly my list… though i would place rang birangi a lil below somewhere n pull up chupke chupke

    zabardast list lekin


    May 2, 2007 at 5:22 pm

  4. I would have rated Jhoothi higher than Andaz Apna Apna. But minor quibbles aside, a really good list. Brought back fond memories. Thanks

    Just Mohit

    May 2, 2007 at 5:26 pm

  5. @Sakshi: Yeah – Angoor could have been in the 10 – but I had to include something from the 90s 😉

    Btw, time for your tag 😉

    @Lalit: Thanks. I think I like Rang Birangi more just because of that last sequence. And like I said my enjoyment of Chupke Chupke is tempered by having watched the Bong version which is a bit funnier.

    @Just Mohit: You are welcome. For some reason, I have never really enjoyed the Rekha comedies – Jhoothi/Khubsoorat etc.
    Dunno why.


    May 2, 2007 at 5:33 pm

  6. Amazing coincidence – I was writing the post when I saw this 🙂
    Will be up in no time.


    May 2, 2007 at 5:35 pm

  7. I would add Bombay to Goa and Hera Pheri as well. I loved parts of Dil Chahta Hai too but of course, it cannot be classified as comedy.

    Also, notice how Hrishikesh Mukherjee and those 70s comedies dominate any such list. Good Indian comedies unfortunately are hard to come by.


    May 2, 2007 at 6:46 pm

  8. Excellent list. Am succumbing to nostalgia and now I have you to blame for not working tonight because I have to watch Jaane bhi do…urgently.


    May 3, 2007 at 10:39 am

  9. I just added all the movies to my netflix list.


    May 3, 2007 at 1:43 pm

  10. Great list … You surely know your movies .. I have seen most of them but then the ones i missed sounds interesting .. Guess its time to pay a visit to the video shop .. Thtz a lot of collective laughing .. Thx for the list ! Btw .. I was surprised that an awesome comedy like Hera Pheri was missing !


    May 3, 2007 at 8:08 pm

  11. Among post 90s comedies, ‘Munnabhai’ and ‘Hera Pheri’ are definitely up there.

    Another good one in the 90s was the Aamir Khan- Pooja Bhatt starrer, ‘Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin’, remake of an English movie but a very good one at that with a memorable cameo from Anupam Kher. The scene where he tries to persuade his daughter, Pooja Bhatt, to run away from the wedding was outright hilarious!!

    Dazed and Confused

    May 5, 2007 at 9:10 am

  12. Saar

    “Namak Halaal”?
    “English is a very fen-nee lengwej bikaaj ..” and “Aap ka toh lagta hai bas yehi sapna / Ram naam japna, paraya maal apna”

    Even two almost-invisible films – “Daud” from the Ram Gopal Varma stable and a David Dhawan film called “Jodi No. 1”. Sanjeev Chhel’s script for the former is almost Monty-Python-esque, such a rarity in Hindi films.

    I would definitely have included “Half Ticket” – Kishore’s exchanges with Madhubala are the stuff of dreams (remember the suicide attempt and this exchange –
    “Maine tumhe sirf pyaar ka naatak karne ko bola thaa, samjhe?”
    “Naatak tum karo, pyaar main kar leta hoon”
    “My Juliet!”)

    One further point – I prefer “Chupke Chupke” to “Chhoddobeshi”. Dharmendra is brilliant and the entire screenplay is tighter.


    J. Alfred Prufrock

    May 11, 2007 at 7:17 am

  13. Great post and contains the best movies – thanks for doing this. I would agree in later part of the decade herapheri would have gotten added to the list. What happened to the “dark comedy” – jaane bhi do yaaron 🙂 . We really do not have the noir tradition. But heck it is still one of the best.
    Aamirkhan/SalmanKhan starrer and govinda stuff is all very loud and obnoxious. They are similar to Gohar mehmood and side kick of “Rajendra kumar” – was he also rajendra something ( he is the sidekick in most of those shammi kapoor/rajendra kumar romantic movies ). They make people laugh by making faces or some physical stuff.


    May 21, 2007 at 1:48 am

  14. I think so many more super gold comedies like ” Hamari bahu alka”, Khatta meetha, Khobsurat, Shaukin, Damaad, Baton baton mein, Katha, Chitchor, Lakhon ki bat and some more still to be add here.
    In the time of 1970 to 1985 only two great comedy making directer “Basu chatterji” and “Khrishikesh mukherji” make some legend movies like above which are now i think not possible to creat again in any kind of future, Its all one time making and nothing to be compare and nothing to be going again also never expected in this time.


    September 7, 2010 at 12:03 pm

  15. how come nobody ever mentions films like pyar kiye jaa (kishore kumar, shashi kapoor,mehmood, & the unforgettable om prakashji ) then there is shagird ( joy mukerjee, i s johar ) victoria no. 203.ek aur ek gyaraah, laakhon ki baat.


    April 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm

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