Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ready For Some Comic Relief!

By Anant Mathur (August 17, 2011)

For the last several years you may have noticed that the Lead actors of a Hindi film have also been doing a lot of comedy and their rise in comedy has killed the need for comic relief characters. Not too long ago, comic relief characters were part of every film they brought about light moments in an otherwise dramatic narrative. Early on these characters were played by the likes of Johnny Walker, Mehmood, IS Johar, Utpal Dutt, Om Prakash, Prem Nath, Bhagwan, Kishore Kumar, Keshto Mukherjee, Asrani and Jagdeep. Later came Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Satish Shah, Javed Jaffery, Jaspal Bhatti, Tikku Talsania, Ashok Saraf, Johnny Lever, Rajpal Yadav, etc.

It's good to see that it's actually a comedy film that has revived the comic relief characters. The film I'm speaking of is of course the recent Salman Khan hit Ready. The reason this film stands out is because there is not one not two but several comic relief characters including Manoj Joshi, Manoj Pahwa, Mahesh Manjrekar, Paresh Rawal, Mohit Baghel, Hemant Pandey, Sarat Saxena, Akhilendra Mishra, and Sudesh Lehri. These actors are the butt of many jokes and are the heart and soul of the film.

Many times filmmakers forget that it is just as important to have good characters in a film as it is to have a prominent lead actor. Certainly, Ready wouldn't have been as great as it is had these characters not been a part of the story, in fact, it would've been a different story altogether. Yes your hero can do it all - but the audience doesn't want him to. Good filmmakers keep in mind what the audience likes and not what they themselves like. It's not enough to just keep the audience interested you need to give them characters that they can relate to.

Think of the Blockbuster Sholay, can you imagine how dull the story would've been if Asrani, Jagdeep, Viju Khote and Keshto Mukherjee and Leela Mishra weren't in that film. I'm not suggesting that you stop giving funny lines/scenes to the lead actors, even Salman got to show his comedy in Ready, what I mean is sometimes when you add comic relief characters it gives the screenplay a new dimension. Having said that, comic relief characters shouldn't be added just for the sake of having comic relief characters, they should be added only if the scenes and screenplay work - if a screenplay is better with the comic relief characters so be it.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

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