The trilogy comprising of Golmaal, Naram Garam and Rang Birangi can only be categorized as some of the absolute best light-hearted comedies ever seen in Hindi cinema. What would be the common factor between these three movies? Let me steal the words right out of your mouth, the unmatched team of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Utpal Dutt and Amol Palekar. During the late seventies and early eighties, the phase of Hindi cinema where mainstream arena was being dominated by big stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor amongst others and the so-called parallel cinema being dominated by Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri in association with Shyam Benegal and Govind Nihalani, the trio of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Utpal Dutt and Amol Palekar managed to carve a niche of their own and delivered some absolutely sparkling comedies, yet intelligent and spoofs at the middle class mentality.
Ram Prasad Sharma (Amol Palekar), a chartered accountant and a big fan of the TWO big sports of India (cricket and hockey), is looking for a job to make both ends meet to support himself and his sister Ratna. On one such occasion, a close family friend Doctor Mama (David) informs Ram Prasad about an availability at Urmila Trading Corporation owned by Bhavani Shankar (Utpal Dutt) and also informs Ram Prasad about certain restrictions needed for the job. Bhavani Shankar is a man still riding high on some self-governed doctrines that the youth should have nothing but a deterministic goal solely related to their job and have no combined interest in extra curricular activities like sports or music. Sporting the look of a typical mustached nerd, Ram Prasad dupes Bhavani Shankar and gets a job by giving him a false account of his idealistic values and his indifference towards sports. The tickling chemistry of the master and the apprentice continues well until one day Bhavani Shankar who himself attends a football match spots Ram Prasad enjoying the match.
On demanding explanation, Ram Prasad dupes Bhavani Shankar once again by creating his twin personality Laxman Prasad Sharma, who is a clean-shaven spoilt brat and orthogonally opposite to the character of Ram Prasad. To help Ram Prasad relieve the burden of single-handedly running his family, Bhavani employs Laxman Prasad as a music teacher for his daughter Urmila (Bindya Goswami). Next are a series of hilarious sequences where the same person has to live the dual life of a mustached Ram Prasad and a cleanly-shaven music teacher Laxman Prasad. On one such event, Ram Prasad gives an explanation about his non-existent ailing mother to Bhavani Shankar and how he has to now create a personality matching his mother (Dina Pathak). What happens next can only be described in one word as Hrishi Da himself terms it, "Golmaal".
What makes this simple story great is the amazing screenplay by Sachin Bhowmick and the witty and the "shudh" Hindi dialogues by Rahi Masoom Reza. The interaction between various characters is given a different color, be it the one between Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt or Utpal Dutt and Dina Pathak. Almost every sequence in the movie stands out, but the ones which really get your feet thumping are the ones where Utpal Dutt visits Amol PalekarÂ´s house for the first time to meet his mother or the entire climax when Utpal Dutt comes to know the reality about Amol Palekar. When one talks about a superb comedy, you really need some rib-ticking dialogues and the dialogues of Rahi Masoom Reza serve the ideal purpose. His dialogues "jiske paas mooch nahi hai, uske paas mann hi nahi hai" or "kurta to sharir ke uparardh ki lajja nivaran ke liye hota hai" describing the 2 symbols used in the movie, mustache and kurta (shirt) are terrific. Hrishikesh Mukherjee uses the "mustache" as an emblem to show the difference between an individual with old traditional values and an individual affected with the new "waves" of change.
The music of the movie by the late R D Burman is glorious and "Aane Wala Pal..Jaanewla Hai" remains one of the absolute gems of Kishore Kumar. The movie starts of with the title song "Golmaal Hai Bhai Sab Golmaal Hai" and is very enjoyable, but more than that it is the lyrics of Gulzaar saab, which induce the spoof from every day events.
How can one finish the review of Golmaal without mentioning the performances of Utpal Dutt and Amol Palekar. To put it one line, Utpal Dutt is out of the world. I havenÂ´t seen such a natural comedian (and that includes most of his comedy performances) with so much spontaneity and elegance, be it Hindi cinema or elsewhere. He is one of those actors who you can watch everyday and yet keep on enjoying his dialogue delivery and his comic behavior even more. The characters of Bhavani Shankar of Golmaal or Dhurandar Bhatavdekar of Rang Birangi or once again the Bhavani Shankar of Naram Garam are not just memorable, but have been made immortal by Utpal Dutt! Amol Palekar plays the two personalities, Ram Prasad and Laxman Prasad with aplomb. As he does it every time, his charisma lies in the way he portrays his characters with simplicity and spontaneity. Shades of Ram Prasad Sharma (and Laxman Prasad) can be found in everybody, he is there in me just as he is there in you. His chemistry with Utpal Dutt is electric and the two compliment each other like rarely seen on the silver screen. When it comes to a truly natural performance, it doesnÂ´t get much better than this!
Dina Pathak is a laugh riot in her portrayal of the non-existent mother of Amol Palekar. She plays a character diametrically opposite to the one of a disciplinarian mother she played in Khoobsurat and here it is all about "masti" and mischief. The scene of the "kitchen" where she enters the house through the rear window gets all the applause of the audience. Bindiya Goswami looks good and lends good support. Om Prakash is once again hilarious in the short role of the police officer. Deven Verma, Shobha Khote, Keshto Mukherjee and David lend good support as they do it in most Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies. Amitabh Bachchan makes a special appearance playing himself.