Bollywood has presented many immensely popular comedies like Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Golmaal, Chupke Chupke, Padosan, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots etc. which are much talked about movies. However today I am reviewing an underrated Bollywood movie which is definitely a flawless and highly admirable comedy but quite unjustifiably neither got big commercial success nor much discussed. It’s Naram Garam (1981) whose director is none else than the director of classic comedies like Golmaal and Chupke Chupke, i.e., Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Naram Garam (soft hot) is the story of a rich widower, Bhavani Shankar (Utpal Dutt) and his unmarried employee, Ram Prasad (Amol Palekar). Bhavani Shankar is a miser but at the same time highly superstitious. He lives with his younger brother, Kali Shankar (Shatrughan Sinha) and his motherless daughter, Sumi (Kiran Vairale) who most of the time lives with her granny (Deena Pathak). Ram Prasad loves Kusum (Swaroop Sampat), the daughter of a poor old man, Vishnu Prasad (A.K. Hangal) whose son is Ram Prasad’s friend and in his bid to earn, remains out of home for most of the time, doing village theatre (moving from village to village). When Vishnu Prasad and Kusum become homeless, Ram Prasad temporarily shifts them to the ancestral house of Bhavani Shankar which has been won recently in a much-prolonged court case and now under his possession for getting it renovated. However when this fact is known to the corrupt and lustful manager of Bhavani Shankar (Suresh Chatwal), he pressurizes Vishnu Prasad to marry Kusum to her. How Ram Prasad tackles this situation and how the twists and turns keep on coming in the story, finally leading to Ram Prasad’s marrying Kusum, forms the remaining part of the story which is full of laughs and laughs only. However in between the laughs, there are sentimental and moving scenes too and an undercurrent of emotion is continuously there in the narrative.
Naram Garam provides laughs from the very first frame to the very last frame (when the words – THE END appear on the screen). However despite being a comedy, it can be categorized as a very good satire also, ridiculing the superstitious Indians. It hits hard the swindling astrologers too, found in every nook and corner of our country. Besides, it portrays quite realistically that when a helpless man has a young girl in his family (sister or daughter), every unscrupulous person eyes her in return for some favour done to them.The movie has many emotional twists too and the emotional bonds between human-beings have been depicted in such an impressive manner that it moves the audience deep within. It has been done through the relations among the characters of the people in the theatre world (Neelu Phule, Padma Chavan and the actor playing Kusum’s brother) as well as through the two pairs of widower father and motherless daughter (Utpal Dutt-Kiran Vairale and A.K. Hangal-Swaroop Sampat). It is a healthy, no-nonsense, natural comedy in which laughs amalgamate with tears. The movie is so interesting and rib-tickling that it cannot be left in-between even for a minute. Besides, each character is able to maintain his / her identity and leave a mark in the movie. The writers (Shanu Banerjee-D.N. Mukherjee-Manoje Basu) alongwith the director, Hrishi Da deserve full marks for their work.
The performances are all highly admirable. Utpal Dutt is all pervasive in the movie as the superstitious employer of Amol Palekar and creates an amazing on-screen chemistry with him. This role of a submissive but witty employee is tailor-made for Amol Palekar. The Miss India of 1979, Swaroop Sampat debuted with this movie (later on she acted in a very popular comedy T.V. serial – Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi and now she is the wife of actor Paresh Rawal). Acting wise she is ok but her voice sucks. Quite surprisingly, Shatrughan Sinha has delivered a great comic performance in the movie as the unmarried younger brother of Utpal Dutt. Kiran Vairale as the motherless daughter of Utpal Dutt has rendered an emotional performance on one hand but on the other she has created laughs too by teasing her unmarried uncle, Shatrughan in the song – Ek Baat Suni Hai Chachaji Batlaane Wali Hai. Among others, the actor playing Kusum’s brother deserves a special mention alongwith Padma Chavan and Neelu Phule. And veteran actor Om Prakash has also done a brilliant fun-filled cameo in the role of a cheat astrologer.R.D. Burman has given good music in the movie and the beautiful lyrics have been written by Gulzar. I personally like the emotional song picturized on Kiran Vairale – Mere Chehre Mein Chhupa Hai Meri Maa Ka Chehra (Asha) very much. Comedy song – Ek Baat Suni Hai Chachaji Batlaane Wali Hai (Sushma Shreshth and Shatrughan Sinha) is definitely a treat to listen and to watch. Other songs are also quite good to listen. One trivia about the melodious romantic song – Hamen Raaston Ki Zaroorat Nahin Hai (Asha) – is that it did not get much popular and after 3-4 years, R.D. Burman used exactly the same composition for the song – Saagar Kinare Dil Ye Pukare for the much talked-about and commercially hit movie – Saagar (1985) which became (and still is) immensely popular.
Technically the movie is perfect. The length is also ok considering the fact that it does not contain a single boring moment.
It is indeed very hard to find any deficiency in this movie. It is near perfect. A healthy comedy. A meaningful and thought-provoking comedy with a good mix of emotions. Considering its merits, it’s definitely underrated. It has immense repeat value and will make you laugh every time you watch it. I recommend it wholeheartedly to all the movie buffs. Watch again ! Laugh again !
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