The era of 80’s was full of emotions, with beautiful love stories, great drama, action films, and comedy ofcourse. It gave us many cult classics like Mr. India, Chandni and Qayamat se Qayamat Tak. But there’s one genre which wasn’t explored enough, and Kundan Shah, the director known for his visionary yet subtle story lines, came up with a dark satirical comedy. Yes, you heard that right, a dark satirical comedy film in the early 80’s which never received the accolades and appreciation which it deserves. We’re talking about Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.
The 1983 film, which evolved the concept of dark humour and quirky comedy is directed by Kundan Shah, and comprising of an ensemble cast with legendary actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Om Puri, Satish Kaushik, Satish Shah and Pankaj Kapoor among others. The film revolves around two protagonists, Vinod Chopra (Naseer Sahab) and Sudhir Mishra (Ravi Baswani) who are struggling photographers and how they accidentally shoot a murder and a conspiracy involving the corruption involved in a engineering company. Both these character names are actual names of famous directors Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Sudhir Mishra. The film takes a deep dive into relevant matters like corruption, discrimination, struggles of a common man in the city of dreams, and political agendas, and somehow makes it absolutely humorous and leaves the audiences spellbound.
Not only are the characters interesting, but the writing grips you throughout the story, and this is because of the excellent screenplay. The plot makes you root for the protagonists, but at the same time, you don’t get a negative vibe from the antagonists who are corrupt. This can only be possible where there is situational comedy and that’s what happens here. The manipulation by Shobha (Bhakti Barve) and how both the photographers fall into the trap and get into trouble loop is hilariously depicted in the film.
There are many unforgettable scenes in the film which leave a mark on you. The scene with the code “Albert Pinto ko gussa kyun aata hai” is one the best scenes in the movie, and fun fact, this code is also the name of a film wherein Naseeruddin Shah has played the lead character. The film has scenes where Naseer Sahab carries a Nikon camera with him, which is actually his own camera that he used to bring on the sets and was later stolen at the end of the shoot. The entire sequence where the dead body travels through many places is worth a strong laughter dose. With all this, the most iconic scenes of all time and which people remember the film for, is the Mahabharata scene in the climax where all the characters appear on stage and you actually feel for Dhritarashtra, who goes on asking “Ye sab kya ho raha hai?”
With all the humour, the film touches upon the contemporary issues like corruption and media politics. When you watch, you realise how thought provoking it is and is done in a very subtle manner. There is no doubt that this film deserved far more at the time of its release, and maybe that is why it is referred to an “ahead of its time” film, but eventually, it is heartening to see that it has become a cult classic and set the benchmark for satirical comedy genre in the Hindi film industry. The film has a realistic end and the director does not try to force a happy ending which makes it unique. All in all, this film has made me realise that humour is best served when the entire team is equally dedicated and involved in the process and Jaane bhi Do Yaaro will always remain an example of film-making for students of the art and cinema lovers.