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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

The Expresso Entertainment Update

Your Entertainment Expresso is served! The Indian Express brings to you the latest news updates from the world of Indian and international entertainment, movies, TV and OTT.

Episode 897 May 21, 2022

Expresso Entertainment Feature on Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Chupke Chupke’

Here is a Feature on Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Chupke Chupke’ from the Indian Express at 9:00 pm on 21st of May, 2022

You are listening to the Expresso Entertainment Update. Here is a special feature on Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Chupke Chupke’, brought to you by The Indian Express.

We live in an era where mainstream filmmakers assume that the audience is not smart enough to catch what is being implied, hence, we get the overdose of sound effects, multiple shots establishing who is the hero (as if we would forget otherwise), and every beat of the story being hammered into our heads over and over again. The cinema space is as competitive as it has ever been but nuance has left the building. With films like KGF 2 and RRR being the new benchmark of success, and suggestions that they have brought back the Hindi film hero of the 1970s, it is probably the right time to actually examine what the 1970s were all about.

Of course, the 1970s were the era of the ‘angry young man’ but it was also the era where every ‘larger than life’ hero masala offering was balanced with a subtle, almost relatable film. For every Deewar, there was a Chupke Chupke (both from 1975). The Hrishikesh Mukherjee film is one of the most popular films of the director and thanks to its many satellite runs, it has gained a loyal following. Looking back at the Hrishikesh Mukherjee classic, it is evident that the director had a clear vision for the kind of situational comedy he was trying to create.

For the unversed, Chupke Chupke stars Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bachchan, Asrani, David and Om Prakash in significant roles, and the film balances its ensemble cast in a way where every character has something to offer to the main plotline.

The film, a remake of the Bengali movie Chhadmabeshi, is highly remembered for Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan’s comic act which came in the same year when the all-time blockbuster Sholay was released.

The story, in short, is about a newly married man Parimal who has to visit his wife’s sister and brother-in-law. The relatives could not make it to the wedding so this meeting is of utmost importance. The brother-in-law is a pompous but adorable man, so Parimal decides to pull a prank. He lands up at their house and disguises himself as the new driver Pyare Mohan, and the comedy of errors ensues.
Like many other comedies, the plot on paper is just about who knows what. The comedic bits trigger from the plot point – ‘Who knows he is Parimal and who thinks he is Pyare Mohan?’, but the way Hrishikesh Mukherjee explains it to his audience, there is no room for confusion, despite the large set of characters.

Amitabh Bachchan has shared in many interviews that Hrishi Da, as he was fondly called, was a simple man. He would just put up two walls, not build any elaborate sets, and would shoot even the most significant scenes in the simplest way. Even the costumes or the look of his actors wasn’t of any paramount importance. Bachchan once shared that actors would sometimes end up in front of the camera wearing what they showed up in because, for him, none of it mattered. And it is this kind of simplicity that is distinctly visible in Chupke Chupke.

The film gets most of its laughs when the characters on screen are pretending to be something they are not, and the audience is already in on the joke. The scene where Amitabh’s Sukumar is pretending to Parimal and teaching botany to Jaya’s Vasudha is a classic as he mumbles around trying to differentiate between ‘gende ka phool’and ‘gobhi ka phool’. The many scenes where Dharmendra’s Parimal, pretending to be Pyare, is asking questions about the etymology, and pronunciation of English words are another hilarious bunch.

With loud, slapstick comedy becoming the only kind of comedy that we often see in mainstream films, and even on television, the audience is spoon-fed on how they should react. Hrishikesh Mukherjee stayed far away from this trope, even though this was the era where ‘dhishooms’ dropped in films like they were leaves in autumn.
Like most Hindi films of the era, Chupke Chupke too had a melodious music album composed by SD Burman, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi. The songs might not have aided the story in any way but their picturisation underlined the relationships the characters shared with each other.

It is noteworthy that both the lead characters, Prof. Parimal Tripathi (Dharmendra) and Prof. Sukumar Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), have love marriages. And this was at the time when arranged marriages and matrimonial advertisements were in vogue. Even today, many parents still insist on their children marrying the person of the parents’ choice.

Another example of the makers’ forward-thinking can be seen when Sulekha (Sharmila Tagore) hands over a chit to Prof. Tripathi with her contact details. It is significant because Hindi films have taught us that if we ever fall in love, the first move is to be made by the man. If he does not, then it undermines his manhood. However, Sulekha breaks this stereotype. This was a welcome change because a woman too can initiate a relationship without being called ‘loose’.

The obsession with the English language has been a matter of concern for decades. Many still suffer from the colonial hangover and rate a person according to the language they choose to converse in. In this movie, the situation is reversed. Raghav (Om Prakash) is looking for a driver who can speak ‘shudh‘ or pure Hindi. Moreover, he must be from Allahabad because drivers with good spoken Hindi cannot be found in Mumbai. Yet the movie does not promote any language over the other. In fact, a thought-provoking dialogue is said during a telephone chat between Tripathi and Haripad (David Abraham). Tripathi tells him that he is feeling guilty about making fun of Hindi. To this, Haripad replies, “You are making fun of a person, not a language. Language is so monumental that it cannot be mocked!”

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was one of the finest filmmakers of his generation and with comedies like Chupke Chupke, the director proved that simplicity is the most important ingredient in making a good comedy.

You were listening to the Expresso Entertainment Update by The Indian Express. Ask your digital assistant device to play the latest entertainment news from the Indian Express to stay up to date with the most accurate and reliable updates in the Entertainment world.

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Expresso Entertainment Feature on Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Chupke Chupke’Here is a Feature on Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Chupke Chupke' from the Indian Express at 9:00 pm on 21st of May, 2022 You are listening to the Expresso Entertainment Update. Here is a special feature on Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Chupke Chupke’, brought to you by The Indian Express. We live in an era where mainstream filmmakers assume that the audience is not smart enough to catch what is being implied, hence, we get the overdose of sound effects, multiple shots establishing who is the hero (as if we would forget otherwise), and every beat of the story being hammered into our heads over and over again. The cinema space is as competitive as it has ever been but nuance has left the building. With films like KGF 2 and RRR being the new benchmark of success, and suggestions that they have brought back the Hindi film hero of the 1970s, it is probably the right time to actually examine what the 1970s were all about. Of course, the 1970s were the era of the ‘angry young man’ but it was also the era where every ‘larger than life’ hero masala offering was balanced with a subtle, almost relatable film. For every Deewar, there was a Chupke Chupke (both from 1975). The Hrishikesh Mukherjee film is one of the most popular films of the director and thanks to its many satellite runs, it has gained a loyal following. Looking back at the Hrishikesh Mukherjee classic, it is evident that the director had a clear vision for the kind of situational comedy he was trying to create. For the unversed, Chupke Chupke stars Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bachchan, Asrani, David and Om Prakash in significant roles, and the film balances its ensemble cast in a way where every character has something to offer to the main plotline. The film, a remake of the Bengali movie Chhadmabeshi, is highly remembered for Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan's comic act which came in the same year when the all-time blockbuster Sholay was released. The story, in short, is about a newly married man Parimal who has to visit his wife’s sister and brother-in-law. The relatives could not make it to the wedding so this meeting is of utmost importance. The brother-in-law is a pompous but adorable man, so Parimal decides to pull a prank. He lands up at their house and disguises himself as the new driver Pyare Mohan, and the comedy of errors ensues. Like many other comedies, the plot on paper is just about who knows what. The comedic bits trigger from the plot point – ‘Who knows he is Parimal and who thinks he is Pyare Mohan?’, but the way Hrishikesh Mukherjee explains it to his audience, there is no room for confusion, despite the large set of characters. Amitabh Bachchan has shared in many interviews that Hrishi Da, as he was fondly called, was a simple man. He would just put up two walls, not build any elaborate sets, and would shoot even the most significant scenes in the simplest way. Even the costumes or the look of his actors wasn’t of any paramount importance. Bachchan once shared that actors would sometimes end up in front of the camera wearing what they showed up in because, for him, none of it mattered. And it is this kind of simplicity that is distinctly visible in Chupke Chupke. The film gets most of its laughs when the characters on screen are pretending to be something they are not, and the audience is already in on the joke. The scene where Amitabh’s Sukumar is pretending to Parimal and teaching botany to Jaya’s Vasudha is a classic as he mumbles around trying to differentiate between ‘gende ka phool’and ‘gobhi ka phool’. The many scenes where Dharmendra’s Parimal, pretending to be Pyare, is asking questions about the etymology, and pronunciation of English words are another hilarious bunch. With loud, slapstick comedy becoming the only kind of comedy that we often see in mainstream films, and even on television, the audience is spoon-fed on how they should react. Hrishikesh Mukherjee stayed far away from this trope, even though this was the era where ‘dhishooms’ dropped in films like they were leaves in autumn. Like most Hindi films of the era, Chupke Chupke too had a melodious music album composed by SD Burman, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi. The songs might not have aided the story in any way but their picturisation underlined the relationships the characters shared with each other. It is noteworthy that both the lead characters, Prof. Parimal Tripathi (Dharmendra) and Prof. Sukumar Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), have love marriages. And this was at the time when arranged marriages and matrimonial advertisements were in vogue. Even today, many parents still insist on their children marrying the person of the parents' choice. Another example of the makers’ forward-thinking can be seen when Sulekha (Sharmila Tagore) hands over a chit to Prof. Tripathi with her contact details. It is significant because Hindi films have taught us that if we ever fall in love, the first move is to be made by the man. If he does not, then it undermines his manhood. However, Sulekha breaks this stereotype. This was a welcome change because a woman too can initiate a relationship without being called ‘loose’. The obsession with the English language has been a matter of concern for decades. Many still suffer from the colonial hangover and rate a person according to the language they choose to converse in. In this movie, the situation is reversed. Raghav (Om Prakash) is looking for a driver who can speak ‘shudh‘ or pure Hindi. Moreover, he must be from Allahabad because drivers with good spoken Hindi cannot be found in Mumbai. Yet the movie does not promote any language over the other. In fact, a thought-provoking dialogue is said during a telephone chat between Tripathi and Haripad (David Abraham). Tripathi tells him that he is feeling guilty about making fun of Hindi. To this, Haripad replies, “You are making fun of a person, not a language. Language is so monumental that it cannot be mocked!” Hrishikesh Mukherjee was one of the finest filmmakers of his generation and with comedies like Chupke Chupke, the director proved that simplicity is the most important ingredient in making a good comedy. You were listening to the Expresso Entertainment Update by The Indian Express. Ask your digital assistant device to play the latest entertainment news from the Indian Express to stay up to date with the most accurate and reliable updates in the Entertainment world.
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