The sad demise of the great “Bollywood” director Kundan Shah on 7th October 2017 was not only shocking but also a big loss for the Hindi film industry. Having made about nine films and a couple of brilliant TV series such as “Wagle Ki Duniya” and “Nukkad” for national television, his talent shall be sorely missed for sure. Now, among the films he has directed the one that truly stands out is the political satire “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron”. There are several reasons why this brilliant “political satire” made in the 1980’s stands the test of time, and is still relevant today when watched. So here is presenting a few reasons as to why I believe “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” is such a cult “Bollywood” classic.
1. THE “BRILLIANT” WRITING INVOLVED IN “JAANE BHI DO YAARON”:
It is said that great writing is what makes for a great movie, and so is this case with “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” in which the story and screenplay written by Shah and Sudhir Mishra is truly top class. Filled with good “sarcasm” this movie quite brilliantly portrays the political nexus that openly existed between builders and corrupt bureaucrats in the country during the 1980’s. Supported by a wonderfully flowing screenplay, this movie is delightful and manages to “engage and entertain as well as “educate” from start to finish. Above all, it is the hilarious dialogues written by Ranjit Kapoor and Satish Kaushik that really stands out and which brings out the “sarcastic” flavour of the story quite beautifully. What also is striking about the writing, is the fact that the basic theme of “corruption” within the Indian system is still relevant today as it was in the 80’s. Overall, it would be right to apt to say that the story/screenplay/dialogues written by writers Shah, Mishra, Kapoor, and Kaushik fused together is one of the major reasons why “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” has over the years become a “Bollywood” all time cult classic.
2. THE “GREAT” DIRECTION BY SHAH IN “JAANE BHI DO YAARON”:
Every great movie in the world has been produced due to great direction, and so is the case with Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron in which the obvious brilliance of Kundan as a director is what makes this movie such a cult classic. The fact that the director himself wrote the story and screenplay is what eventually helps him shape this biting satirical movie quite beautifully. Furthermore, he also manages to extract magnificent performances from the highly talented cast (a major role of the director), which in turn brings to life what is brilliantly written on paper on to the “silver screen”. In addition, he also quite spelndidly manages to use a “mysterious” background score to highlight the “suspense” of the movie, as a result making it a highly “entertaining” and “engaging” watch for the audience. Shah through some great direction has also managed to bring out genuine comedy from a serious theme in a true to life manner. Scenes such as the famous chaotic “Mahabharata” climax as well the “dead body in the coffin scene” involving Om Puri and Satish have been executed brilliantly and credit for this must go to director Kundan.
3. THE “MAGNIFICENT” PERFORMANCE BY THE STELLAR STAR CAST OF “JAANE BHI DO YAARON”:
If great direction and writing are the “soul” of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, then the splendid performances by the entire star cast is its “body”. Comprising of a “group” of some of outstanding acting talents that includes Nasseruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Om Puri, Satish Shah, Bhakti Barve, Satish Kaushik, Pankaj Kapur, and Neena Gupta this movie is studded by some magnificent performances. However, the stand out performance in this movie being Om Puri who exhibits scintillating comic timing, and plays the role of a perennially drunk and corrupt builder Ahuja with a lot of panache and conviction. Yet another magnificent performance in this movie is by Satish Shah as the corrupt commissioner of the Bombay Municipality D’Mello who through the major part of the movie plays the role of a dead body to perfection. In addition, actors Nasseruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani play the lead protagonists Vinod Chopra and Sudhir Mishra with great deal of charm, conviction, and humour. While the antagonists Tarneja a wily real estate baron and Shobha Sen an opportunistic newspaper editor are brilliantly played by the talented Pankaj Kapur and Bhakti Barve with a lot of flair and conviction. Above all, these truly wonderful performances have been extracted by director Shah and full credit for that must go to him.
With the passing away of Kundan Shah, it would be apt to say that it is indeed a big loss for the Indian movie industry and cinema lovers across the country. However, I as a “cinephile” am confident that due to the everlasting legacy that “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” has created over the years , the memory of Kundan as one of India’s finest directors shall certainly live on forever.
VIDEO: The famous “Mahabharata” scene from the movie:
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