Gulzar in his directorial career of almost 30 years made very few films – seventeen to be precise. Apart from Khushboo and Ijaazat, there are some other movies which appeal to your heart, mind and cinematic curiosity. These were the films which tried to explore some very unusual subjects and intricate human sensibilities. Aandhi was a story of an ambitious woman who wants to come back to the comfort of her husband’s love. Kitaab was a journey of a small child from his sister’s home to his hometown and the myriad experiences he gets along the way. Koshish was another gem starring Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri which traces the life of a differently abled couple and their struggles. Meera is the story of the saint Meerabaai with some of the most beautiful bhajans one can listen. And then there is also that haunting story called Lekin which explores the possibility of life’s existence in a paranormal dimension. With its melancholy music and passionate performance by Dimple, I was tempted to write about it as the third movie in my series.
However, I chose Angoor. It was a movie released in 1982 starring Sanjeev Kumar, Deven Verma in double roles along with Maushami Chatterjee and Deepti Naval. It is based on Shakespeare’s comedy of errors. Its unique in a way because it is the only movie where Gulzar had attempted something in the comedy genre. Where all other movies are serious and explore complex human emotions, Angoor is light, funny and is full of situational humor. While other films are already well known and critically acclaimed, Angoor is not that popular. And in spite of being a brilliant film, I am not sure why it was not a hit.
Utpal Dutt and Shammi have two twin sons who are named as Ashok. And they also adopt another set of twin boys and name them Bahadur. In a ship accident, the family gets separated where one Ashok and one Bahadur stay together each. Years later they come together coincidently in a city and from there starts a hilarious tale of confusion, misunderstandings and errors which finally ends in a happy reunion.
There are really very few Hindi movies which can be called as benchmarks in terms of humor. Jane bhi do yaro, Chalti ka naam gadi, Padosan, Bombay to Goa, Golmaal (old), Chupke Chupke (old) and to some extent even Andaz apna apna fits the bill. Angoor can be definitely regarded among these classics. All these movies never deliberately “create” humor. All the characters are real people doing all the real, routine stuff. However, the situations the characters find themselves in makes all the difference and the viewers are thrown into a heap of laughter and mirth. Compare them to some of the recent movies made in the name of comedy like the entire Golmaal series, houseful, welcome, etc etc etc and the contrast is so evident. These movies are gross and pure rubbish. In comparison Angoor is one rare work of genius with its innocence, honesty and simplicity.
It was my dad who had brought Angoor’s CD years ago and we watched it on a Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, it was one hell of an experience. For me personally, I was overwhelmed with the array of genres Gulzar brought up on screen. It was a huge pleasure to watch a great comedy after long. But also, it was an important learning about how to handle a seemingly mundane situation and bring out the best humor out of it. It is not only about the gestures, the body language and the dialogue delivery but the strength also equally lies in the writing. It is about how the writer can exaggerate normal happenings to make it funny but at the same time also keep it real and not fantastical. Only a person with a good sense of humor himself can create the minute nuances of on screen humor. Gulzar saab, no doubt an expert in writing the deep, mature conversations for his other films created magic in Angoor with his funny and witty dialogues. It was a total laugh riot.
I wish Gulzar saab had attempted some more comedies and we could have had more benchmarks for today’s so called comic writers.
I still hope one day Gulzar saab may decide to write dialogues for a comedy movie and fill our lives with genuine, natural and heartfelt laughter which is not forced.
Till then – I will keep going back to Angoor and enjoy my sweet grapes !!!
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