Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Whenever I happen to mention Sai Paranjpye's Chashme Buddoor during any conversation, there is a change in my mood. Almost instantly, I feel light and happy. My jaw stretches into a broad smile and my mind drifts into the lazy crazy life of Siddharth, Omi, Jomo and of course, Miss Chamko. That's why I call this 1981 romantic comedy, a moodlifter...
When my friends are in agony, I recommend Chashme Buddoor to them (provided the depression can be handled with a frothy film)! They turn up next day to thank me! That's the magic of this laugh riot. I love the way Delhi is caught on camera. Languid afternoons, verdant lawns, near empty roads, the capital looks extremely enticing. And, of course, there's Kali ghodi dwar khadi and Kahaan se aye badra. Yesudas and Haimanti Shukla create beautiful harmony!!
Paranjpye's three musketeers are Siddharth, Omi and Jomo. And, they rock!! Especially, Omi and Jomo. Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Baswani sizzle with their histrionics. They are two bachelors who share their barsaati with Siddharth, the bookworm. This character sits on Farooq Shaikh like a snug sock. He is cutely awkward, good naturedly gullible and hopelessly in love. In the scene where he has to entertain Miss Chamko, he proves his true mettle. He brings a besan ka laddoo in a cup!!! Boy!! Bachelors do live like that right??? Posters of semi-clad women on the walls, ashtrays brimming with cigarette stubs, men roaming around in vests and towels, ghazals playing in the background... And when Miss Chamko asks for a dirty towel to demonstrate the cleaning powers of Chamko, poor Siddharth manages only a laundered one...because he just cannot jeopardise his reputation before the first girl he talks to!!! Ohh...how adorable!!!
Okay, back to Omi and Jomo. They while away their time running behind women...with no luck, of course. Omi is a dreamy poet, with a penchant for shayri and theatre, Jomo is a flamboyant roadside romeo, always ready with his quick retorts!! They have one bike that never starts on time, and are forever indebted to Lallan Mian (Saaed Jaffrey's copyright role, I feel), the neighbourhood paanwala who reluctantly lends them cigarettes!! In the scene where he barges into their barsaati to recover his debts, Jomo shouts, "Kaun hain be?". Lallan Mian, with his characteristic accent goes, "Teri mauth hain be." But Lallam Mian is not heartless, he realises that these good-for-nothing lads are good people, only a little luckless in love, and fortune!!!
Omi and Jomo's directionless lives are funny. Jomo actually thinks that a sole handkerchief will bring a girl into his life (a great cameo by Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha here). It's hilarious how Omi and Jomo fool Siddharth with their respective stories regarding Neha!! Breathlessly funny!!! And when, Neha's nani (lovable Leela Mishra) suddenly comes calling for Siddharth, the two loonies run to cover the improper posters, so that nani's senses are not hurt!! And, then nani says, "Beta itni tasveer lagaya hain to do chaar bhagwan ki tasveer bhi laga diya hota." Omi and Jomo look on foolishly and we roll over with laughter!!!
The film is a complete entertainer (an understatement). And, there's chemistry at two levels. The bond between three friends who are ready to do anything for each other (with of course, a bit of harmless jealousy thrown in here and there) and the innocent attraction between Siddharth and Neha. Watch for the tutty fruity sequence... it's warm and charming!!
Dipti naval plays Neha, the modern, intelligent, urban Delhi girl who knows her mind. She enters the frame as Miss Chamko and lodges herself immediately in Siddharth's heart, and, in our mind!! She is lovely, pretty, innocent and a great performer. She is smart and subtle. She does not cry buckets when Siddharth misunderstands her, but weeps silently, waiting for things to be set right!! Naval is an everyday girl, who you might come across anywhere!!! But somehow, it's Paranjpye's power that makes her so permanent as the darling Miss Chamko...
One scene that is etched in my memory...while the air is resonating with the mellifluous strains of Kali ghodi, Siddharth, wearing a plain white kurta pajama, invites Neha, resplendant in a lemony churidaar kurta, for coffee (and pillion ride with him!). He glances at her, broad glasses mounted on his studious nose, and smiles. Neha smiles back, and lowers her lashes coyly... The first flutterings of first love...Absolutely delightful!!!