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GOLMAAL (1979)

The Delightful Chaos


Golmaal 1979

Every once in a while a delightful comedy is served by the Hindi film Industry, this 1979 movie was one such movie Golmaal … a once in a decade comedy of that time.

Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Golmaal is the story of an average well educated Indian common man who would like to pursue good things in life, but is looking out for that elusive job which will not only give him a decent life but will also solve most of his monetary issues.

Our young man of the story is Ramprasad Sharma (Amol Palekar-Superb) or Ram for short, he follows the Indian virtues but has taste for finer things of life like music, sports and as every Indian loves a taste for acting and films. He wants to live a full life, he has the responsibility of his unmarried sister Ratna (Manju Singh-very subtle character unlike many over-distraught sisters of Bollywood) who is herself pursuing post-graduation. They are a typical middle class Indian family, quietly lovable souls.

We Indians have a tendency to make relations out of strangers and make them our own, this comes from the Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ (the whole world is our home). Thus following that principle, is one such neighbor Dr. Kedar (David-playing the uncle to the hilt) or Dr. Mama as the duo call him, he is the do-gooder who advises Ram to meet his friend Bhawani Shankar (Utpal Dutt- terrific) as he is looking out for a young qualified accountant, but gives him a few tips to approach the eccentric person that Bhawani is.

Bhawani though rich, likes to live the virtuous life and has many quirky ideas about the youth, for example he does not like recommendation or advocacy for job application, that the young should have work as their priority, rest of the finer things of life can wait for later in life, that young should follow Indian traditions including the choice of their clothes and the biggest quirk of them all, that moustache maketh a man, that is an absolute requirement.

Armed with these instruction our hero goes for the interview with well-oiled hair and all (very funny scene unlike the normal stereotype interview) and secures the much needed job. Time for celebrations. Being a sports aficionado much like Bhavani himself, Ram has to feign his non-existent mother’s illness to take leave to attend a hockey match which as luck would have it is also attended by the cantankerous old grouch who espies Ram there. The task master that he is, Bhawani pulls up Ram for the same next day.

Caught in a dilemma, the pathological liar that he has now become, he again blames it to… that’s right… his non-existent twin Laxman or Lucky who he assures is moustache-less and is the exact opposite of himself, a lover of finer things in life like music, sports, fashion etc.. Convinced the old fool would like to play the benefactor thus asks Ram to send his brother home the next day so that Lucky can teach music to his daughter Urmila (Bindiya Goswami) Urmi for short. Ram lands at Bhawani’s bungalow in Lucky’s avatar, as his own alter-ego, with loads of attitude, and is on the instant love list of the fun-loving Urmi. From here begins the rip-rollicking cat and mouse game between Bhawani and Ram/ Laxman, with excellent situational comic acts interspersed, ending in Bhawani accusing Laxman of Ram’s murder… whodunnit.. Hahaha.

This original Golmaal of 1979 is an excellent sitcom to be enjoyed with the entire family, despite knowing the story it still evokes laughter. The movie was shot on a forty day schedule mostly at Hrishida’s bungalow. It was this film Golmaal, that made a star out of the most unlikely Amol Palekar and also launched Bindiya’s career.

Some of the numbers like the ‘aane wala pal’ sung by Kishore Kumar is extremely hummable, and the title song which plays throughout the movie in the background whenever there is some mishap happening. Released on 20th April 1979, Golmaal was the biggest hit of the year. The actors though not very prominent were all known for their art lending credence to this tale of fun and bungle.

There were many guest appearances from the top brass of Hindi film industry of the time viz. Amitabh, Zeenat, Hema Malini and Lata didi, playing themselves. There were many remakes of the same in many Indian languages and also the later day tribute ‘Bol Bachchan’ by Rohit Shetty loosely based on this theme. Though Shetty’s ‘Golmaal’ as a franchise has also spawned a few in its series but are totally unrelated to this one.

– Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA

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