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Fun Cinema

It took three crazy Jats to set the box-office ringing. Yamla Pagla Deewana,with a Rs 8 crore collections on day one,registered 2011’s biggest opening so far.

Written by PriyankaPereira |
January 20, 2011 12:16:25 am

With a bunch of comedies ready to hit theatres in the first half of 2011,directors are hoping to get their comic timing right

It took three crazy Jats to set the box-office ringing. Yamla Pagla Deewana,with a Rs 8 crore collections on day one,registered 2011’s biggest opening so far. The antics of Dharmendra and his sons Sunny and Bobby Deol are much ahead of this year’s other major release No One Killed Jessica. The one having the last laugh could be Sunny Deol. Tired of action films,he wanted to do a full-fledged comic role and chose this script for the on-screen reunion with his father and brother.

Not just Sunny,everyone loves a good laugh as 2010’s sleeper hit Band Baaja Baaraat has shown. Now,there are as many as 13 comedy films awaiting release in the first half of 2011. “Comedies are a great way to start the year. They often do well and help the industry start the year on a positive note,” says Madhur Bhandarkar. The director is dabbling in comedy for the first time with Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji,which releases on January 28. Following in Bhandarkar’s footsteps are Neeraj Vora (Run Bhola Run),Anees Bazmee (Thank You and Ready),Vishal Bharadwaj (7 Khoon Maaf),Indra Kumar (Double Dhamaal),Aanand L Rai (Tanu Weds Manu),

David Dhawan (Rascals) and Bhavna Talwar (Happi).

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Comedy movies,over the years,have proved to be safest bets in the fickle film industry. “Comedy is the safest way to make money at the box-office,in comparison to other genres. The statistics over the years have proved that most audiences prefer a comedy film over other genres,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

This could be the reason why several first-timers are hoping to nail their Bollywood entry with comedies. Deepa Sahi has a romantic comedy titled Tere Mere Phere,Srikanth V debuts with a situational comedy Utt Pataang,Mrigdeep Singh Lamba is currently busy with the post-production of his slice-of-life comedy Teen Thay Bhai,and choreographer-turned-director Remo D’Souza has made a slapstick titled Faltu. “Why not?” questions Sahi. “Barring issues like abuse,most of the problems in a relationship,according to me,happen because we take ourselves and the righteousness of our beliefs too seriously. Frankly,I think most of the issues are too funny and comedy is the only genre that can do justice to the subject.”

Last year witnessed a number of box-office formulae failing. Mega-budget films,such as Raavan,Kites and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey,received an unexpected box- office drubbing. It was mostly the comedies that saved the day for Bollywood. Tere Bin Laden,Golmaal 3,Peepli Live,Band Baaja Baaraat and Phas Gaye Re Obama lapped up good responses. However,unlike 2010 — which thrived on slapsticks,rom-coms and satires — this year seems to have a wider variety in terms of comedies.

Bharadwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf will bring back dark comedies while Bhandarkar’s Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji,Talwar’s Happi and Lamba’s Teen Thay Bhai will focus on the-slice-of-life comedies which of late have gained a lot of prominence. “Happi will take the audience away from the hectic urban life and urge them to enjoy the small joys of life. Films are largely about making people happy,” says Talwar. Agrees Bhandarkar. According to him,it is time we brought back the common man in films,just like Hrishikesh Mukherjee once did.

In ’70s,Mukherjee popularised comedy films with the success of Chupke Chupke,Golmaal and Bawarchi. The trend was carried forward by Sai Paranjape and Basu Chatterji. Early ’90s saw the emergence of slapstick with David Dhawan,and later Bazmee at the helm. Films such as Coolie No 1,Judwaa and,more recently,No Entry and Singh is Kinng paved the way for what is popularly known as the ‘ha ha’ humour. “When a trend catches up,we witness filmmakers scrambling to board the bandwagon. With satires doing well last year,there is scope for different kinds of comedy to do well. The experimental phase in Bollywood is doing a lot of good for us,” says Adarsh.

This trend,Lamba hopes ,will bring about one major change in the industry. “In comedy,content is king. Good comedies will introduce good writers to the industry.” Srikanth agrees and says,“Healthy competition is always good for the fraternity. With different types of comedies being dished out,one can gauge the taste of the masses as well.”

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