Serious business of comedy

GDP

(Photo: Facebook)

A comedy film that lacks a gripping storyline, witty, scintillating dialogues, well tuned catchy songs, competent direction, and flawless performances by actors, has nowadays little chance of clicking at the boxoffice.

It’s not very surprising then that in recent years, many comedy films have failed to attract viewers to the ticket-windows of theatres because those didn’t meet any of the requirements mentioned above. Another reason why comedy films flop is that the present-day moviegoers have far more exacting standards of appraising a film than their counterparts had some three or four decades ago.

Comedy is a serious business, no doubt, and therefore scripting a comedy film that steers clear of crudity and obscenity to provide clean and healthy entertainment is not so easy. In the past, we had accomplished filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Sai Paranjpye making light comedies that viewers loved. The comedy in their films was never loud, crude or rambunctious.

Mukherjee was basically known as a maker of serious cinema but the few comedy films that he directed —Chupke Chupke, Golmaal, Naram Garamand Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate — are memorable laugh-riots. Similarly, among Sai Paranjpye’s comedy films, Chashm-e-Buddoor and Katha, are incomparable and are still remembered by moviegoers. Paranjpye had a gift for creating light humorous situations in her films that made viewers ripple with laughter.

On the other hand, filmmaker Priyadarshan’s comedy films are of a different genre. His was a well-known name in both Tamil and Malayalam films before he took to making comedy films in Hindi. Most of those, however, were first made in Tamil or Malayalam. His comedy is an effective mixture of both the situational and slapstick. His Maalamaal Weekly, Hera Pheri, Hulchuland Hungama among a few others never fail to evoke guffaws. They remain his evergreen films.

Anees Bazmee too has a flair for making comedy films. He has directed quite a few, and the well-known among them are No Entry, Welcome and Singh Is King. His best so far remains Welcome, which on release proved a box-office super-hit. But the sequel of that film, Welcome Back, was a dismal failure.

Bazmee’s latest comedy film is Mubarakaan. It has evoked mixed reactions. For eliciting laughs, the film depends on situations where the main players are often far too loud as they aim their humorous broadsides at one another. Of
course, at places Mubarakaan is genuinely funny and does make one chuckle heartily if not burst into guffaws. Many critics, however, were of the view that peppering the comedy film with hackneyed Sikh jokes was in bad taste, for such jokes no longer raise laughter.

The warp and-woof of the storyline of Mubarakaan revolves around identical-looking twin brothers, Karan Singh and Charan Singh brought up in a Punjabi family. After the accident of their parents, the brothers are raised separately by their aunt Jeeto (Ratna Pathak Shah) in London and Uncle Baldev Singh (Pawan Malhotra) in India.

Charan Singh grows up as a mild-mannered Sikh boy while his older-by-five minutes twin brother Karan Singh
is raised as a clean shaven young man. Karan loves Sweety (Illeana D’Cruz) but she somehow gets engaged to Charan
who wants to marry Nafisa (Neena Sharma). But Aunt Jeeto decides to get Karan married to their family friend Sandhu’s (Rahul Dev) daughter Binkle (Athiya Shetty). So it is a big merry-go-round of confusion that leads to some risible situations in the film.

But what actually saves Mubarakaan from doing poorly at the box-office is Anil Kapoor. In the role of the extended family’s bachelor uncle Kartar Singh, Kapoor is impeccable. He keeps the film rollicking along with his rib-tickling oneliners. London-based Kartar Singh is considered to be a mine of homespun wisdom by his extended family.

So, whenever the family faces a critical situation and is absolutely clueless about how to tackle it, it always turns to Kartar Singh for guidance. But this wiseacre’s shots do not always hit the target. And when Kartar Singh misses the target, he can make the already prevailing confusion in his family even worse. So, Mubarakaan is the story of twin brothers Karan and Charan (both roles played quite convincingly by Arjun Kapoor), the wires of whose love life get
crossed.

The story progresses towards its denouement when these love wires are untangled and the boys finally get the girls they love. The climax of Mubarakaan is a big fat wedding of the twin brothers Karan and Charan in the usual ostentatious Punjabi style.

Related Articles