It’s harder to make someone laugh than it is to make them cry. And the saying definitely holds true. Comedy is serious business. What may seem funny to one may not be the same for another. Especially humoring a varied mix of people. And the success and failure of comedy films at the box office is proof of that. But there are some stories, some characters that have the ability to tickle the funny bone in any individual. They are definitely rare and hence occupy a cult status in cinematic history and in the hearts of audiences.

Pandolin takes a look at the ten most memorable, timeless comedies in Hindi cinema, which get you rolling with laughter every time you watch them.


Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958): This iconic comedy featured the legendary Kishore Kumar alongwith his brothers Anoop Kumar and Ashok Kumar who play brothers in the film as well. Directed by Satyen Bose, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is touted as one of the first out-and-out comedy films in the industry. This film is also the first to present the credits in a comical style. Apparently, Kishore Kumar made the film hoping it would flop as he wanted to avoid paying huge taxes. But just the opposite happened. The film was followed by another comedy called Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi that rhymes with the name of the former. A film named Rukti Ka Naam Khatara was also on the anvil, but never saw the light of day.


Padosan (1968): The rib-tickling film Padosan is based on the Bengali story ‘Pasher Bari’ by Arun Chowdhury. It revolves around a simpleton trying to woo his pretty neighbor with the help of his music teacher. The film was attributed as the first ambitious motion picture under celebrated actor Mehmood’s home production. Kishore Kumar’s character in the film is said to be inspired by the personality of his uncle, Dhananjay Banerjee and music director Khemchand Prakash. Lyricist Rajendra Krishan also penned the dialogues and screenplay of the film. Such was the popularity of Jyoti Swaroop’s directorial venture that it was later remade in Telugu and Kannada.


Bombay to Goa (1972): S.Ramanathan’s adventure comedy is a remake of the 1966 hit Tamil film Madras to Pondicherry. The film unfolds along a bus journey filled with hilarious characters and unforgettable moments. How can one forget the conductor–driver duo of Rajesh and Khanna or the iconic ‘amma pakoda’. This was Amitabh Bachchan’s first film as the main lead and also stars comedian Mehmood’s brother Anwar Ali. It is said that Mehmood specially made this movie to launch his brother. The movie was remade in 2007 as Journey Bombay to Goa and featured several comedians but did not have the same impact as the original film. Bombay to Goa is set to re-release this year as a tribute to Mehmood on his 10th death anniversary.

Chupke Chupke (1975): When you think comedy, one of the first names that pops into your head is the noted directed Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The director has given the industry some of the most legendary comedy films. One of them is Chupke Chupke based on Upendranath Ganguly’s Bengali story ‘Chhadobeshi’. The film stars Dharmendra as the loveable professor Parimal Tripathi who loves playing mischief and plots a prank on his wife’s brother-in-law. Chupke Chupke also features Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan but it is said that initially the director wanted to cast newcomers for these parts. News is that director Umesh Shukla (OMG! Oh My God fame) is going to helm a new version of this classic.

Golmaal (1979): Another famous comic caper by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Golmaal does not have a single dull moment. Amol Palekar lands up a job at Utpal Dutt’s office and has to disguise himself as a traditional lad to be in the good books of his boss. In a bid to save his job he has to double up as his fictitious twin brother and what follows is a crazy comical ride. The film got Amol Palekar the Filmfare Award for Best Actor while Utpal Dutt was awarded Best Actor In a Comic Role. Rekha was the original choice for the female lead but the role was small hence Mukherjee cast Bindiya Goswami. Golmaal inspired remakes in Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam.

Angoor (1982): Gulzar’s Angoor is loosely based on Shakespeare’s play ‘The Comedy of Errors’. The film is a remake of the 1968 comedy movie Do Dooni Char which was also written by Gulzar and directed by Debu Sen. Though this film sank without a trace at the box office, Angoor went on to be remembered as one of the best comedies in Hindi cinema. Two pairs of identical twins separated at birth, perfect casting with Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Varma playing double roles, the film had all the elements of a laugh riot. It even got Deven Varma the Filmfare Award for Best Comic Actor. Director Rohit Shetty has bought the rights of Angoor and a remake could be on the horizon.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983): Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron is one of those films that did not create any magic when it released in theatres, however with time the film became a cult of sorts. Directed by Kundan Shah, the film is inspired by a 1966 film called Blow Up directed by Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. The film that was made on a shoestring budget was a dark satire, a first of its kind, on the corruption prevalent across various systems. Kundan Shah was bestowed with the 1984 Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director for his work. Filmmakers Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Sudhir Mishra assisted Shah on the film, the former as production controller while Mishra co-wrote the script. And thus the names of the lead characters in the film – Vinod Chopra and Sudhir Mishra played by Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani respectively. A digitally restored print of the film was released in 2012 at select theatres.


Andaz Apna Apna (1994): Another average grosser at the box office that went on to acquire an incredible following is Andaz Apna Apna. It brought together Salman Khan and Aamir Khan as two con men trying to win over the love and wealth of an heiress. The film had a remarkable cast with impeccable comic timing comprising Paresh Rawal, Shakti Kapoor, Jagdeep and many others. The film took three years to make and did not have a bound script. In fact some of the dialogues were spontaneously delivered while shooting. Andaz Apna Apna has created unforgettable characters like Crime Master Gogo, Amar-Prem, Teja and the likes. Director Rajkumar Santoshi is considering a sequel but will it recreate the same magic? Will he manage to bring the two Khans together again? We will just have to wait and watch!


Hera Pheri (2000): Director Priyadrashan’s sidesplitting comedy is about three men with financial problems and how a wrong number could be the key to all their worries. The story is based on the 1989 Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking, which was also remade into Tamil as Arangetra Velai. While Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty do justice to their parts, it is Paresh Rawal who takes the cake as Baburao. His precise comic timing won him the Best Comedian Award at Filmfare, IIFA and Star Screen Awards. Initially Sanjay Dutt was to play Sunil Shetty’s part while Karisma Kapoor was offered the role played by Tabu. Hera Pheri was followed by Phir Hera Pheri, the first commercially successful sequel in Bollywood, starting a trend of sequels. A third film is in the offing, which could feature John Abraham as the lead.


Munnabhai MBBS (2003): Rajkumar Hirani’s directorial debut has found a place in the history of cinema for portraying a goon as a loveable character. A marriage of comedy with a social angle, Munnabhai MBBS gave us cherished characters like Munna and Circuit who created a craze. Shahrukh Khan was originally cast as Munna but he could not do the film. Makrand Deshpande was the original choice for Circuit. The film also marked actor Sunil Dutt’s return to movies wherein he shares screen space with his real life son. The father-son duo were last seen in Reshma Aur Shera but had very few scenes together. The sequel to this film, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, released on 2006 and was a blockbuster too. Munnabhai MBBS was remade in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.

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