Movie: Chashme Buddoor
Year of Release: 1981
Starring: Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Rakesh Bedi, Ravi Baswani and Saeed Jaffrey.
Every now and then, Bollywood creates magic (not that it has created any recently). It weaves a story so simple and beautiful that it’s hard to believe considering the bag of hammers that it is churning out today. But those were the days where the hero was not the muscular, steroid-loaded, 6-/8-pack, macho man that we see on-screen today. The hero was the common man. The ladylove was not the sexy seductress whose brain cells were merely used to support and shape her head; she was the girl-next-door.
Chashme Buddoor is a movie where the humour comes from everyday-life situations and not from the hyperbolic and pretentious script of a fictitious existence. The story of three friends; the studious and intellectual Siddharth (Farooq Shaikh), the poetic Omi (Rakesh Bedi) and the wannabe Romeo Jai (Ravi Baswani) and their respective encounters with the beautiful classical music loving, Neha (Deepti Naval). Much of the humour stems from Omi and Jai’s interactions with Lallan Miyan (Saeed Jaffrey), the local beedi-paanwala, to whom they owe money. A notable scene is where Omi and Jai fabricate their meeting with Neha to gloss over their failed attempts to impress her. Let me not forget the iconic Khushboodar, Jhaagwaala Chamko; an innocent washing powder that brings together Siddharth and Neha.
Each performance is so unique that it is difficult to pinpoint the best from the rest. The strength of the film lies in the continuous flow of comedic energy.
Movies today take two paths. One where comedy is derived from vulgar and cheap laughs and another where comedy is a placeholder not the main ingredient. The remake, Chashme Baddoor (2013) is a member of the former category. It satiates the generation that grew up with movies like Masti, Chennai Express, Dabangg and Dhoom where you have to be over-the-top to even clench your fist.
Chashme Buddoor is the middle ground between the exaggerated movie and the art film. It is cinema.