Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a full-blown satire in the garb of an eccentric comedy
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Pankaj Kapur, Satish Shah, Bhakti Barve, Om Puri, Satish Kaushik
NFDC has done me a great favour by re-releasing this movie, because this is the one revered film that I couldn’t understand as a child. I didn’t see the humour in it back then, and I still don’t think very much of slapstick comedies, but as Kundan Shah’s debut unfolded before my eyes at PVR on Sunday evening, I saw the movie for what it is: not the cult comedy classic it is hailed as.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was supposed to keep me laughing aloud throughout, what with all its silliness and the implausible storyline and the excessively theatrical acting. But I sat there, stunned. The movie is a satire in the guise of a slapstick, and it hits you very subtly.
Two bumbling photographers who have no work are given an assignment by the hard-boiled editor of a newspaper whose sole goal is to catch the erring on the wrong foot, and if possible, red-handed. Builders who adulterate cement with sand (sometimes also the other way around), a municipal commissioner who accepts bribes from all and sundry, the fall of a newly built flyover, and a drunk policeman wanting to check if the two guys loitering about have consumed alcohol – these are some of the things you get by closing your eyes and plucking randomly from the movie.
The brilliant star cast is at its goofy best; the scenes look as if they were improvised during the shooting of the movie, and the comic timing will hardly surprise you coming from the amazing actors. I’m in difficulty here, thinking of an outstanding scene to write about as the movie runs at breakneck speed in my mind. I can’t do it. Think of a drunk man talking to a corpse in a coffin, thinking this person has parked his sports car in the middle of the road. Or don’t think of it, because Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro does not want you to take it seriously for even a second. All I can see happening in this cult comedy classic is an ensemble of great actors letting their hair down, and I too could have sat back and laughed at their antics if the relevance of the movie hadn’t kept hitting me so hard.