Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Cult of Gogo

While on the topic of comedies, the polite gathering inevitably discusses Golmaal, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi – and sometimes even, Gold Rush.
And you feel a little defensive about your choice. But then, the vodka has loosened your tongue a bit and you suddenly speak up, “Actually, Andaz Apna Apna is a much better comedy than these. In terms of sheer wackiness and inventiveness, there is nothing to beat the movie. Some of the characters are so crazy that…” And trail off when you realize that a silence has descended on the gathering.
The hostess announces dinner and there is a lull. At which point, that guy in the balcony (whose name you didn’t quite catch) comes up to you and says, “Its true, you know. Every time I see Shakti Kapoor’s ‘dhak-ki-tiki dhak-ki-tiki’ dance on my VCD, I still laugh the same way I laughed the first time.”
You immediately know that you have found a friend for life. And the Cult of Gogo lives on!

Andaz Apna Apna (1994) remains an absolute cult favourite – which never got box-office success but continues to be the toast of each successive cohort which catches the movie on a lazy Sunday afternoon on Zee Cinema.
Considering the two heroines were at loggerheads during the making of the movie (due to a romantic dispute over Akshay Kumar, I think) and one hero took an immediate dislike to other’s undisciplined ways, the comic timing is quite brilliant.
But what is it exactly that the movie retains its charms more than a decade after its making?

To start with, the names…
The two heroes are Amar Prem. One goes 'Ai La'. The other goes 'Ooi Ma'! (And the full name of the latter is Dr Prem Khurana, Iss dhande mein bahut purana...)
The leading ladies are Raveena and Karishma. Easy? Actually, the actress called Raveena is playing the character called Raveena (and vice versa) whose actual name in the film is Karishma (and vice versa). But when the twist is discovered, she continues to be called as Raveena, which she is not. Aaarrggghh!
Of course, the villains are an Ajit-clone and his sidekick (named Robert, pronounced Raabert, mispronounced Rabbit!).
The second round of confusion between Ramgopal Bajaj and evil twin brother – Teja.
And finally, the piece de resistance – CRIME MASTER GOGO! Who is an international crime boss, wearing what the heroes respectfully call a ‘ghagra’!

It is a mayhem of a comedy film – slapstick (with secretly administered purgatives and shadow fighting during the climax), mistaken identities (“Teja main hoon kyunki mera naam bhi Teja hain”), non-stop nonsense (a jilted lover goes to commit suicide but “upar bahut ooncha tha isliye neeche se koodungi”) and even a spot of nostalgia (yesteryears stars Jagdeep, Deven Varma & Mehmood appearing with allusions to their most famous roles… Jagdeep being from Bhopal and Mehmood running a studio called Wah Wah Productions).

And it is all simple, low-brow comedy… no satire, no word plays, no underlying layer. It targeted the masses with such a vengeance that it left them bemused. The roller-coaster ride of humour was unrelenting and all those who expected a soft romantic scene, the mandatory ill-mother sub-plot or at least an aggressive call to arms against the villain were left high and dry!
Never before and never after has there been a comedy which is 100% so… not a single moment, not a single sub-plot, not a single set-piece is anything else. Even supposedly sentimental scenes are handled with such rip-roaring humour that there is not a moment’s respite in the laughs!

The wackiness that makes Cyrus Broacha and all the stand-up comedians such a rage today was first seen in AAA. And it predated the genre by about half a decade. Which is why all box-office reports continue to classify the film as a curt ‘Flop’.
Sample these…
Main Mogambo ka bhatija...
Main khandaani chor hain, ayaa hoon toh kuch toh lekar jayoonga…
Aankhein lekar gotiyan kheloonga…

Woh teele pe mila tha humne uska naam Teelu rakh diya tha…
Woh zamaana bhi kya tha jab maine Mohun Bagan ke liye 6 goal daage the…
Absurdity at its hilarious best.

And the spoofs…
In one memorable scene, Aamir Khan (Amar) is asked to cut the inaugural ribbon of a lock-up as the sad version of his anthem – Papa Kehte The – played in the background!
And in another, Salman Khan (Prem) gets all excited and says, “Sholay! Woh picture toh maine 50 baar dekhi hain!” To which comes the pat retort, “Haan, tere baap ne jo likha hain!” Such an ordinary line made unforgettable by the fact Salman’s baap is one Mr Salim Khan… Marvellous!

As for the director Raj Kumar Santoshi, I think it is a tribute to his underrated talent, that his release just prior to AAA was a woman-oriented thriller (Damini) and just after was a mushy love-story (Barsaat).
As they say, woh mahaan hain, buddhimaan hain, shaktimaan hain, balki woh to purush hi nahin hain :-O Mahapurush hain, mahapurush!


udayan said...

The movie actually has quite a following ... just check the net ... or rather meet the "gang" who still greet each other with those dialogues .....


Amar : Aila, Juhi Chawla.

Yeh Vasco De Gama ke zamane ka Gun hai..."Kiske mama ki Gun hai?" Vasco Di Gama ki...Naam lo aur goli chala do..seedhe nishaane pe laagegi

Amar aur Prem, yaane ke Amar Prem. Naam sunte hi main samajh gaya tha ke tum dono awwal darje ke filmi aur awaare ladke ho.

Galti se misstake ho gaya boss

Raveena to Amar: "Tum to baade woh ho". Amar: "Woh..." pauses and says "Woh to mein hoon"

Robert: sir lakh lakh ke pachas cheques hoinge sir

Amar to Chai Wala: Do chai kyon. Ek chai bapas. Do dost ek pyale mein chai piyenge, isse dosti badti hai'

Teja (Thinking/Dreaming loudly): Main heere bech ke murgiyan paalunga .. hazaaron murgiyan .. aur phir un hazaaron murgiyon ke laakhon, karodon ande .. un andon ka main omlette banoonga .. saath mein paav bhi main hi bechoonga .. andon ka raja .. aur omlette ka badshah .. bajaj .. humaara bajaj (sung to tune)

Prem: Bade maamu so gaye...? Me bhi thoda let jata hoo
Ab tak yeh confusion tha ki raveena kaun, karisma kaun. ab naya confusion uncle kaun

Amar to Deven Verma(Murli Manohar): Daddy yeh French Decosta Cut hai...Isme Baal cut bhi ho jaate hain aur pata bhi nahin chalta

the mad momma said...

you know this takes me back to an afternoon in Hyd when Lolly made this same argument. And I repeat... how can you find such a crappy movie unforgettable??? he should cease to be your wife's friend and become yours. same mental level. i think the OA enjoyed the movie too. Bah!

Jain said...

Yeh Teja Teja kya hai, yeh teja teja?

I saw the movie the time it was released, and yeah, the movie had flopped big time. But go to any college hostel, meet any no-qualms-about-appearing-intellectual junta and you would find a devout Andaz Apna Apna group. Terms like Ai-La, Kya piece hai, dhakki-chikki fight sequences and 'baal katen hain, aur pata bhi nahin chal raha' constitute a part of the daily lingo.

We also deliberate about possible sequels to the movie, which will never be made.

Dhruv said...

met shakti kapoor recently and spoke with him about the movie - he said he was cast as the vilian at the last moment and completed his roll in a week !

Crime master gogo for ever - i bet he'd want to have "gogo is gone" on his tombstone!


Chinky said...

I've loved this movie since it first came out. Now I'm 22 and own it on DVD. I was so obsessed with the movie that for an entire year I'd use "Ai la" an expression of surprise.