Andaz Apna Apna Is Still The Gold Standard In Bollywood Comedy, 23 Years On

There are comedy movies. And then there is Andaz Apna Apna. Perhaps India’s biggest cult classic, Andaz Apna Apna will complete 23 years, this year. And somehow, it is still THE comedy film of all ages.

But what is it about the misadventures of Amar and Prem, that still excites us? Let’s try and analyze.

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To begin with, Andaz Apna Apna had a funny storyline, written by Yaser Ranjha. One can imagine the actors bursting in laughter, when the director, Rajkumar Santoshi would have narrated them the script. The idea of two small town, good-for-nothing guys trying to marry a rich business tycoon’s daughter, was sure to be funny. And in this quest to be funny, the script was well-aided by the dialogues of the film.

Oh, the dialogues. They were the kind of dialogues that seem lame in isolation, but in the situations of the movie, become hilarious. Like, when Aamir Khan tells Juhi Chawla, “Main tumhe tan, man, aur dhan se apnata hu“, the dialogue has no business being as funny as it is. But it is! Or the time when Salman Khan says, “Aur jo maine bola tha, vo bhi bol na“, I still crack up. Paresh Rawal saying, “Teja main hu, mark idhar hai…“, has to be one of the funniest moments in Bollywood history. Of course, a lot of it has to do with the actors’ comedic timing. But credit has to go to Santoshi and writer Dilip Shukla, for creating this masterpiece, dialogue by funny dialogue.

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Which brings us to one of the most important aspects of this film- the actors. The film boasted of some of the best acting talent in the country at the time. Aamir Khan and Salman Khan were well on the way to super-stardom, Raveena Tandon was the pin-up girl of the generation, Karisma Kapur was steadily improving with every film she did, and Paresh Rawal had already proved his mettle in commercial and arthouse cinema alike. But what makes Andaz Apna Apna so endearing to audience even now, are the minor players. Bhalla and Robert, Crime Master Gogo and Anand Akela are better remembered than even the lead characters of other films. And of course, all these actors had impeccable comic timing. Especially Shakti Kapoor’s portrayal of Gogo was insanely good.

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Even Shashi Tharoor acted well in Andaz Apna Apna. Just kidding. Source

Much later, many actors from the cast revealed how they would improvise on sets. When we see the film, we do realise that a lot of the nuances that the actors portray couldn’t have been a part of the script. This is what great actors do- they take good content, and make it great.

But, as luck would have it, this movie bombed at the box office. Aamir Khan, in an interview much later, revealed how he was absolutely shocked at the film’s fate- he had expected it to be a blockbuster. But then, the biggest reasons for the film’s failures at the box office were- a) lack of promotions, and b) tough competition from other movies.

In those days, a film’s promotions were primarily just TV and newspaper ads, and Santoshi would later reveal that the producer of Andaz Apna Apna, Vinay Kumar Sinha, was so confident of the film’s success, that he did not spend any money on the promotions of the film. He was also sure of the film’s success as Salman’s last film, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, was a monster hit. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun had released just 2 months ago.

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But Hum Aapke Hain Kaun would also prove to be Andaz Apna Apna’s undoing. By the time November rolled around and Andaz Apna Apna was about to release, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was still going strong in theatres. Those were the days of the single screens, where a hit movie would stay in theatres for months, and impact other films that release in the interim. To make matters worse, on the very same day as Andaz Apna Apna, the Ajay Devgan-Akshay Kumar starrer Suhaag. Since it was a commercial action flick, which was a rage at the time, Suhaag was the clear winner against Andaz Apna Apna.

But Andaz Apna Apna eventually made its mark- by way of satellite airing and home video cassettes/CDs. It would have been a travesty had this film not been appreciated.

I am yet to meet a single person who has seen the film and disliked it. That’s how widely appreciated Andaz Apna Apna is. It has touched all of our lives in different ways. It has made us chuckle, it has made us nostalgic, and it has made us fanboys/fangirls at a time when such universally loved films are a rarity.

Andaz Apna Apna will forever be our favourite!

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Posted by

Vishesh Jaiswal

I am a digital storyteller, more persuasive than needed. Also, I am Batman.

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