Monday, 30th October 2017

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A laughter hangover

‘Andaz Apna Apna’ tickled India’s funny bone with intelligent situational comedy

By Sulagana Biswas
  • Published 14.11.19, 9:43 PM
  • Updated 14.11.19, 9:43 PM
  • a min read
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A scene from the movie Source: ‘Andaz Apna Apna’

Haircut aisa ho ki baal bhi kate aur pata bhi na chale!

That’s Amar for you, a youth in newly liberalised India. He’s explaining to his dad, the owner of a roadside barber shop, why he took Rs 100 from the cashbox for a haircut at the salon of a five-star hotel. The dad shouts that he happens to make a 100 bucks after no less than 20 haircuts. The son, who loves the good life and wants to be rich, doesn’t care. He wants to marry an heiress and live the good life.

Enter Amar’s frenemy Prem, with the exact lower middle class roots, the exact super-aspirational game plan. Amar and Prem (Aamir Khan and Salman Khan exuding boyish charm and playing off their best quips against each other) are the two lazy, glib-talking smart alecks of Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Andaz Apna Apna, which completes 25 years this November.

Amar and Prem are two of Hindi films’ unlikeliest heroes, they love money, they like to save their own skin, and they’d any day choose witticisms over work. What follows is a genuine laugh riot with the duo’s capers involving a fake heiress (Raveena Tandon), a real one (Karisma Kapoor), a millionaire and his identical evil twin (Paresh Rawal), a bunch of hilarious goons, cops, dads and sidekicks (Shakti Kapoor, Viju Khote, Javed Khan, Harish Patel, Tiku Talsania, Deven Verma, Jagdeep…). And in a film with two Khans (three, if you count a big nod to Shah Rukh in Amar’s dream sequence with Juhi Chawla, playing herself), a rare one where dialogues (Santoshi hits it out of the park) are the real superstar, so crackling that they make one crack up even a quarter of a century later.

In a decade of risqué slapstick and cringe-worthy double entendre that passed for humour, AAA tickled India’s funny bone with intelligent situational comedy, likeable rogues and epic lines like Galti se mistake ho gaya. The movie had nice enough songs — composer Tushar Bhatia’s homage to legend O.P. Nayyar — but it’s the laughs that matter. Famously, AAA tanked on release, thanks to badly managed publicity after a prolonged three years in the making. People woke up to its charms on television. A whole generation laughed along with Amar, Prem, Teja and Crime Master Gogo. Turns out, they’re still laughing.