Making Comedy Films is not Easy

Truly said, that it is easier to make people cry than to make them laugh. A hard luck story skilfully told seldom fails to give your listeners moist tears, but you require a special kind of skill to narrate a story that can send your listeners rippling with laughter. So, comedy undoubtedly is a serious business and scripting a comedy film that steers clear of crudity and obscenity to provide clean and healthy entertainment to viewers is not so easy. A comedy film lacking a gripping storyline, witty dialogues, well- tuned catchy songs, competent direction, and flawless performances by actors has nowadays precious little chance of clicking at the box-office.

So, it was not very surprising that in recent years many comedy films failed to attract viewers to the ticket-windows of theatres because these met none of the requirements mentioned above. Besides, another reason why comedy films frequently flop at the boxis that the present-day movie-goers have far more exacting standards of appraising a film than their counterparts had some three-four decades ago. They are hard taskmasters. We had in the past learned and accomplished filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Sai Paranjpye who made light comedies without even a suggestion of crudity or obscenity anywhere in them.

The viewers love these films and love watching them repeatedly. The comedy in their films was never loud and rumbustious. Hrishida was basically known as a maker of serious films, but a few comedy films that he directed – “Chupke Chupke”, “Golmaal”, “Naram Garam”, and “Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate” – are memorable laugh-riots. His “Golmaal” and “Chupke Chupke” are perennial favourites of people who love comedy films. Similarly, among Sai Paranjpye’s comedy films, “Chashm-e-Buddoor” and “Katha” are incomparable and are still remembered by moviegoers. Sa’s humour never degenerated into buffoonery, as it often does in the present-day comedy films. She had an innate gift for creating light humorous situations in her films that made the viewers ripple with laughter. 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 his comedy films in Hindi were first made in Tamil or Malayalam.

His comedy is an effective mixture of both the situational and the slapstick. His “Maalamaal Weekly” was sheer fun. His “Hera Pheri”, “Hulchul”, “Hungama” and a few other films never fail to evoke guffaws. These 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” (2005), “Welcome” (2007), and “Singh Is King” (2008). His best so far remains “Welcome”, which on release proved a box-office super-hit. But the sequel of this film, “Welcome Back” (2015), was a distinct failure. Anees Bazmee’s latest comedy film is “Mubarakaan”. It has evoked mixed reactions.

The film depends for tickling your funny bone 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 you chuckle heartily, if not burst into guffaws. Many critics, however, are of the view that peppering this comedy film with old, dog-earned Sikh jokes is 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-5- minutes twin brother Karan Singh is raised as a clean-shaven young man. Karan loves Sweety (Liana 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 confusions that lead 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 Chacha Kartar Singh, Anil 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 worse confounded. 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.

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