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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Mehmood mania (Biwi aur Makan)

I wish they made more like these. And gave Mehmood top billing in them. That would ensure total fun. Like in Biwi aur Makan, a comic caper on the problem of finding accommodation in big Bombay. They protagonists have to twist every rule in the book to find a shelter and that too with funny after effects. This 1966 film by Hrishikesh Mukherjee may not have a stellar cast (I did not even recognise so many faces) but it has a name that catapults this mediocre script into one of utter fun and laughs. And that name is Mehmood.

At the very onset I'll instruct you to skip the songs, they are bland and mediocre. They do not do much to take the plot forward, too. Barring them, this film is just quite hilarious. It's a tale of five friends who live in a hotel mess for quite some time. They are Arun (Biswajeet), Pandey (Mehmood), Shekhar, Kishan and another guy I know not. Arun sings to make a living. Five of them have sworn to be together always for the sake of friendship. So, even though Pandey is married he has kept his pretty wife Sati (Padma Khanna) in his village so that he can live with his friends in the city.
Shekhar is the son of a well-to do father and paints. Kishan is looking for a job but to no avail. The fifth guy hollers and shouts but it isn't really clear what he does. However, no matter what the travails are, the friends stick to each other through thick and thin and always make each other laugh. Especially Pandey. His tongue may be rustic, but he is so utterly rib-tickling. Shekhar is painfully shy and at the very mention of girls he starts hiccuping.
Every thing is fit and fine. But there is one teething problem. The hotel manager wants the guys out as soon as possible and he has been driving the young lads up the wall in order to achieve that end. But in the big bad city of Bombay, no matter how much money you are willing to pay, finding a decent accommodation is no mean task. The men run from pillar to post in search of shelter but in vain. Then one day, Shekhar hears of a place. It is a big house owned by a old man. His wife is partially blind. He has two daughters but they are studying in a college in Delhi. The problem is that the old man would let out his house only to married couples. The men hit their heads against the wall. While Pandey is married, the others are not. This is when Pandey thinks of a brilliant plan. He coaxes Arun and Kishan to go drag and pretend to be Shekhar and his wives respectively. The disguises are just perfect. They actually look like two women. While Arun is all at ease, Kishan is always scared of being discovered.
However, the five guys succeed in fooling the old man and his family and move into their new quarters. But mayhem ensues when the two daughters come from Delhi and join colleges in Bombay. They are young and clever and it's proving to be quite tough for Pandey to put up the show. There's even more chaos when Shekhar falls in love with Leela (Shabnam) and Arun is flirting with Geeta (Kalpana). On the other hand, Sati has come to know that Pandey keeps a second wife in the city!!
It's not easy to pull off a farce and Mukherjee does it with elan here. But a special mention needs to be given to Mehmood who makes it look a cakewalk. he is the real master here. Even though technically Biswajeet is the hero, you wouldn't even bother to spare him a thought when it comes to action and histrionics. Mehmood pulls all the triggers here. And watch out for his chemistry with Padma Khanna. Sweet, salty and so tingling. Not to mention funny.
While the narrative gets a bit drawn in the middle, Mehmood quickly brings in back to action with his witty one-liners and his super expressive face. He is the real hero of Biwi aur Makan. Watch this one to gauge what this comic superstar could do if given the leash...


  1. This looks hilarious. I haven't seen any Hrishida films as early as this. When I was new to Hindi movies I thought that Indian comedy didn't translate very well for me, but the more *good* Hindi comedies I have seen, the more I appreciate them - and Hrishida always has an especially deft touch. I would like to see this some day!

    carla (filmi geek)

  2. This had all the Hrishida touches that one expects. It's perfect to elevate your mood when you have a bad day. :)

  3. I've been able to watch only the first half of this movie - the second CD of my VCD didn't play. :-( But it did seem pretty funny; I must go looking for another copy now...

    And Keshto Mukherjee was in this too, wasn't he? I thought he made a very convincing woman!

  4. @Carla: Hello Carla. Welcome. Yes, I think you will like this one. It's freewheeling and fun.

  5. @Anu: Yes, perfect to uplift your mood!

  6. @Dustedoff: I chanced upon it on Youtube. The whole film is up there and the print is good too! :)

  7. @Sharmi: I doubt if this film is available on DVD but seems to be worth catching on YouTube. The story line reminds me of '92 Telugu movie Chitram Bhalare Vichitram.

  8. @Sreenath: Yes, a good print is available on Youtube.