Last Sunday afternoon, I decided to watch a Bollywood movie with family. All of us wanted a stress buster as the past week had been very hectic. We decided to watch one of the best-ever Bollywood movies– Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. All of us,barring my wife had watched the movie earlier but still we wanted to watch it all over again. By the time the movie ends, you want to watch it one more time. That’s what makes it a special movie.
A 1983 comedy directed by Kundan Shah (the man behind TV series Nukkad, Wagle Ki Duniya ,director of SRK starrer Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa and Kya Kehna ( Preity Zinta)), the film is an out and out laugh riot.
The film takes us through the journey of two struggling photographers, Sudhir Mishra ( Ravi Baswani) and Vinod Chopra ( Naseeruddin Shah). Sudheer and Vinod open a photo studio in Bombay but struggle to find a single person walking into their store. Shobha Sen ( Bhakti Barve) , editor of a publication “ Khabardaar”, decides to use these two photographers on a sting-op to get some inside scoop on a corrupt builder Taneja ( the ever brilliant Pankaj Kapoor). Faced with no other choice to make ends meet, Sudhir and Vinod follow Taneja and get exposed to the dark and murky world of builders and corrupt bureaucrats. A corrupt Municipal Commissioner D’mello (Satish Shah) is seen taking favors from Taneja for getting the contract for building a bridge. Taneja’s beautiful assistant , played by Neena Gupta, is used as a bait to lure D’mello. The plot thickens when they realize that Commissioner D’mello is double crossing Taneja for another builder Ahuja (Om Puri).
Frustrated by the rampant corruption, Sudhir and Vinod decide to end their tie-up with Khabardaar publications and handover the photographs to Miss Shobha Sen. A photography contest is announced , with a reward of 5000 rs ( 35 years ago, 5 grand was a big amount !!). They shoot pictures all over the city. While developing the image of one of the pictures which they had shot in a park, they see an image of a man shooting someone. Upon enlarging the image, they are shocked to see that it is none other than Taneja. They go back to the park, and to their shock, they see a dead body. They also find a cuff -link. Director Kundan Shah and the actors of the movie take it to an altogether different level, post this turn of events. Every minute is hilarious, due to a comedy of errors. There is no error in acting though. Each of the characters fit the bill perfectly. In the climax, the last 15 to 20 minutes, all the finest theatre artistes of Indian cinema, converge and deliver one of the all-time great satirical comedies in Bollywood history. Full marks to the writers of this movie, Sudhir Mishra and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. These two names are still relevant in Bollywood and this movie is proof that they are no fluke.
It is sad that the underlying theme of the movie, a corrupt Indian bureaucracy hand-in-glove with the builder mafia, still holds true despite 36 years of the movie.
This movie is a show case of some of the most amazing talents of Hindi cinema – a true ensemble Ocean’s 11 (Naseer, Ravi, Satish ( Shah & Kaushik) , Pankaj, Neena and Om Puri). None of the actors over-act in this movie. In such a star-studded acting masterclass, it is difficult to pick one stand-out performance. Bhakti Bharwe as the scoopy editor plays an effortless role, but we haven’t seen much of her post this movie. Same goes with Ravi Baswani. Nasseruddin Shah shows why he continues to be one of India’s finest actors. So do Pankaj Kapoor, Om Puri, Satish Kaushik and Neena Gupta.
However, amidst this galaxy of acting powerhouses, one performer who stands out is Satish Shah. He’s the life of this movie. He turns out to be the hidden gem. While he’s neither the hero nor the villain in this movie, his character is the best – it has all shades, black, white and grey. There’s also a colorless shade to him, which is revealed in the second half.
Friends – if purely on laughter quotient, if I must rate this movie, I would rate it a 11 on 10. However, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is much more than just a comedy. It is a class apart on various fronts – method acting, engaging screenplay, satire, dark comedy, cinematography, flawless direction. The movie can be watched by anyone anytime. If you are stressed out due to your job, or a breakup, or a failure, this is THE movie to watch. If you are happy and want to celebrate happiness, this is THE movie to watch. Go watch it if you haven’t.
I hope Indian cinema continues to evolve like the way it has and we continue to produce some inspirational, light-hearted comedies which can be watched by everyone in the family. In today’s age of VFX, sleaze, item numbers, romancing in Swiss-land, jingoism , this movie continues to hold its own relevance.
Go watch this movie and if you disagree with my views , then I only have the following words to say
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron 😊