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The era of laughter: Have comedians vanished from Indian cinema?
Bollywood has always been defined as an Entertainment portal. Films play a huge part of an individual’s life and while the essence remained the same, cinema and its facets have evolved tremendously and how.
One such aspects of cinema that has evolved, is of that of a comedian. There was a time during the 1940’s that described a comedian, as a fat man with some really funny expressions and actions. These were solely responsible of making the audiences laugh and provide the comic factor in a film.
This however changed in the 1950s, when a lean comedian, in the name of Johnnie Walker came in to change the trend. Johnny Walker was lean and yet so hilariously funny, that he managed to win a million hearts with his slapstick comedy. He became the name of comedy in the era and people waited to see him appear in films. This went on for decades, before Kishore Kumar came in the picture. The actor, who was essentially a singer, also redefined comedy by using a comic element in his songs. Popular tracks like Meri Pyari Bindu (Padosan 1968) also brought in the comic element.
But it was Mehmood, after Johnny Walker, who with his curly hair and his hilarious dialogue delivery became the king of comedy in the 1970s. He was a part of all the movies of the era and apart from making us laugh out loud, his comedy also made us smile and cry. He was an absolute delight in so many ways.
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Then came our generations very own favourite Johnny Lever. Johnny’s funny facial expressions, his impeccable dialogue delivery and his body language. His presence in a movie created a wave amongst the audiences. 90’s films like Raja Hindustani, Baazigar, Dulhe Raja, etc. had some exclusive Johnny Lever sequences, which still manage to leave us in splits.
But the 2000’s brought in an altogether different trend. The comedians vanished and the actors took their place. The new age heroes were not afraid to try various aspects of acting, and were more than happy to add that comic element too. Remember Aamir Khan and Salman Khan in ‘Andaz Apna Apna’? Or even Akshay Kumar in ‘Hera Pheri’ or ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’. Does that mean that our beloved comedians and their era is gone?
We recently saw flashes of Johnny Lever in movies like ‘Housefull 2′ and ‘It’s Entertainment’, and even ‘Dilwale’, but apart from that, the element of comedy in Indian cinema is more or less hijacked by actors themselves, and our daily quota of laughter is compensated by stand up comedians on YouTube.
Well, we can just say that no matter how much evolved our cinema gets, the comedians will always be missed and their comeback will always be awaited. Or else, we will watch and re-watch the old classics of the golden era, till those antics make our stomachs ache with the purest of laughter, that will echo through generations.
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