Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Golmaal: Fun Unlimited

I find myself returning to Golmaal: Fun Unlimited every once and a while when I need something light and easy to watch. While I like to say that Bollywood doesn’t do genres the way that Hollywood does - and that is true, or at least it used to be - Bollywood does do films with prevailing moods. Golmaal: Fun Unlimited is mostly comedy with an unexpected dash of pathos.

Did Rohit Shetty know that he was concocting a hit film? Released back in the Golden Year of 2006, which had hits coming right and left,
Golmaal: Fun Unlimited was made in the Hera Pheri model - take a fading non-Khan Hero, pair him with a handsome but bombastic secondary hero, add an on the fringes ringer with excellent comic timing and you have yourself a comedy film.

Golmaal: Fun Unlimited took cocky Ajay Devg(a)n and paired him with the bombastic Arshad Warsi and then threw in the aggressively dumb Tusshar Kapoor and naive sop Sharman Joshi for a humor explosion. Paresh Rawal, Sushmita Mukherjee, and Rimi Sen were the icing on the cake. It could have almost been a disaster - Rohit Shetty floated a romantic angle, debated having Abhishek Bachchan make a special appearance, and worst of all, originally wanted Aftab Shivdasani for Arshad’s role.

The plot is sublimely ridiculous. Four men who are supposed to be school-mates, despite the fact that two are pushing 40 while two are clearly in their late-20s, get kicked out of student housing and end up living in an elderly couple’s house pretending to be their grandson. Yes, grand
son - singular. The elderly couple is blind and the four work it so they all contribute to the illusion that they are one man. Meanwhile, all four fall in “love” with the couple’s sexy neighbor Rimi Sen. The film romps between them competing for Rimi, pulling hilarious physical comedy while pretending to be one person, and doing more physical comedy while they outwit the world’s dumbest gangster who is chasing after them for... well, does it really matter?

The film worked. From the moment the Golmaal Gang rolled up on their four-seater motorcycle (yes, really) to the tag ending revealing who
really gets the girl, giggles fly fast and furious. But what separates Golmaal: Fun Unlimited from lesser (if still entertaining) gang-of-boys comedy films is the dash of humanity that is Paresh Rawal and Sushmita Mukherjee.

Playing 30 or so years older than their actual ages, the two talented actors give a little dash of genuine emotion that gives a pang to the gags going on. Just check out the brilliant “Kyun Aage Peeche” for a taste of what I mean:

Paresh is narrating his love story to the boys, leading to a perfect film picturization that hits the nostalgic notes while also giving lots of giggles. It’s also a good example of the attention to detail that goes into a Rohit Shetty film. Watch the way the songs fades in and out of color and how Tusshar Kapoor
never breaks character and mouths lyrics. A lesser director might forget to make him mute in the songs but not Rohit Shetty.

The jokes mostly revolve around Ajay Devgn foiling the gang and the gang laughing at him when they get him back. And then there are the filmi in-jokes with references to the gang's past roles. But my favorite jokes are the little off-hand remarks, like when mute Tusshar Kapoor is attempting to narrate a long story to Arshad without his interpreter Sharman Joshi around and Arshad patiently listens and then turns to Ajay off in the corner and says, "He's talking to you." It's not Nobel Prize-winning material but it is hilarious.
Hera Pheri made the mold but Golmaal: Fun Unlimited refined it for use in mass production. What followed have been a series of ridiculous gang-of-guys films that aim for sublimely ridiculous and usually end up settling for intermittently amusing, because either the scripts are not up to par and/or the mix of actors is not quite right. Your Dhamaal, Krazzy 4, Paying Guest, etc. would not have been made without it. Not to mention such lesser Rohit Shetty fare as Sunday and All the Best: Fun Begins.

I love this film for many reasons but most of all for how unpresumptuous it is. Clearly shot on a small budget, most of the action comes directly from the Golmaal Gang. There are a couple of fancy songs packed full of bikini babes but then is also one shot entirely on a raft-thingy off the beach in Goa that looks like it was done in an afternoon. There is a huge car chase scene but an equal amount of time is spent on how oddly attractive Sharman Joshi is dressed in drag. Golmaal: Fun Unlimited doesn't apologize for what it is and nor does it strive to be a big blockbusting hit - all part of the Golmaal charm.Golmaal Returns took Golmaal: Fun Unlimited to the next level, switching up the cast in some interesting ways. A sequel in name only to the first, Golmaal Returns drops earnest Sharman Joshi (probably because he was giving interviews like this one) for the kinetic Shreyas Talepade and nixes mid-00s it girl Rimi Sen for late-00’s it girl Kareena Kapoor.

But I'll discuss that one another day - and I have my theories about the recasting - but for now sing it with me!
Golmaal, golmaal, everything's gonna be golmaal!


Rum said...

This film was just soo great, because like you said all those madcap comedies that come out now all owe it Golmaal, because of the all the different actors have such an easy chemistry that works soooo well! And I'm of course, a sucker for filmi self-referencimg which is why I loved it when Ajay took digs at himself, and even in the second film! But Arshad was sooo funny in this one and not to mention him in some crazy hot pants/boxers!

Filmi Girl said...

@rum I know, right?! He is way too SEXXXY for those booty shorts! :D

I really do like this film a lot - I could probably have written more but I should save something for when I talk about Golmaal Returns!

batulm said...

You make me want to go and see the film right now. I've only ever seen the beginning, several times, and switched off for some reason. But even in that little bit, I always thought Tushar Kapoor did a very good job of playing dumb. That does decide it, time to see the entire film. :)

Daniela said...

I dont like any Golmaal movies as such. As making fun about raping is a 100% NO GO.

Filmi Geek said...

Funny, this is the second review of this movie I've read in a couple of days. I was thinking about picking up the earlier Amol Palekar Golmaal ... maybe it's a sign. :D Thanks for the review!

Filmi Girl said...

@batulm It really is a fun film! I recommend watching if you like silly comedies. :)

@Daniela Maybe I should write a post on that scene... I didn't think it was joke about raping as much as a joke about how Bollywood films USE rape all the time - or at least they did in the 1980s and 1990s.

@filmigeek Really? Where was the other one?

kunalmistry said...

@Filmi Girl: yes, Golmaal (1979) starring Amol Palekar is a cult comedy film. Maybe, the title for Golmaal, Fun Unlimited was inspired from that movie.
Also, G1 was inspired from a Gujarati play, Aflatoon, as evident in the credits.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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