3 Feelgood Films To Watch During Lockdown

Feeling  the heat and tension of  the  crisis? Fiqar not!  Nothing like  a good happy positive film to launch  you  into the  orbit of  optimism. Here are  3 films that  cannot fail to make you happy.And there are  many more to come

1.     Golmaal(1979):  Hrishida’s Golmaal is a study of  an imagined double identity. Amol Palekar handles the complexities of the comedy of errors with an élan eschewing over-statement. He is  Ramprasad a closet- musician struggling to find a 9-5 job in the tumultuous post-Emergency Mumbai of the 1970s. Enter the disciplinarian Bhawani Shankar(Utpal Dutt) who has a job, but also an autocratic attitude to anything that’s frivolous or fun-filled.To Bhawani Shankar any young man who has shaved off his moustache is not serious about life.In a  fit of desperation Ram pastes a mouche on his upperlip, puts on a Kurta borrowed from Asrani’s wardrobe(that’s a long story)  and poses as the sedate god-fearing regimented office junkie. And it’s hard to imagine the film without Utpal bossing over the timid Amol in a  way that would in today’s work space by defined as harassment.Both Utpal and Amol shared a very special rapport with Hrishida. They both did 5 films each with the director. But none was as successful as Gol Maal. To what do we attribute the enduring appeal of this comedy of mistaken identity?It’s partly to do with the idea of wish-fulfilment through a doppelganger. As a child we often invent an imaginary ‘other’ for ourselves who does all the things that we are forbidden from doing so. Hrishida  played on that childhood fantasy . There was a child within him waiting to have fun as soon as  the churlish disciplinarian stopped looking. Amol Palekar played that child.

2.     Rangeela(1980): Playing the middleclass Mumbai girl Mili(the protagonist’s name was a sly  tribute by director Ram Gopal Varma to Hrishikesh Mukherjee) Urmila rocked the boxoffice and shook up every definition of how the conventional heroine conducted herself on screen.Bindaas is the word that comes to mind when describing Urmila in Rangeela. Gyrating sensuously to A R Rahman’s seductive sounds Urmila scorched the screen ,setting the audiences’ collective libidos on fire. The plot was a cleverly cloaked fairytale.Girl dreams of stardom , is secretly loved by the street hoodlum Munna(Aamir Khan) but is swept off her feet by the nation’s hearth-throb Raj Kamal(Jackie Shroff, playing an amalgamation of Rajesh Khanna and Kamal Haasan). The film was fresh ,sassy, unselfconsciously and unabashedly dream-like in choreography, mood and tempo. Mili’s life at home is portrayed with a lightness of touch that Ram Gopal Varma(RGV) never seemed to achieve in his subsequent films. In fact  RGV’s cinema leaned progressively towards dark blood-soaked themes of gangsterism.Why doesn’t return to the rarefied  realm of Rangeela?

3.     Pyaar  Ka  Punchnaama2(2015):  The sequal  to  the 2011 sleeper hit, is not just bolder more provocative than the first part. It’s a lot sexier and smarter. A chirpy chutzpah cuts through the sharply-written narrative creating a credible and disturbing argument against urban relationships of convenience.The way writer-director Luv Ranjan shows his three heroes being exploited by their girlfriends may seem extreme. But the film is not saying every woman is a schemer. It’s only asking for a fair reading of gender dynamics. Men DO get caught in situations where they must compromise with everything from their ego to their bank balance. They do suffer and bleed, you know. And yes they get raped too. Though in this film it isn’t done literally.So here’s the lovers’ dilemma. Anshul’s new love-interest (Nusrat Bhrucha, playing the thankless role of the airheaded deceiver with a squeaky sincerity) insists on hanging around with her best friends 24/7. She even has her male best friend sleep with her in her bedroom while boyfriend looks on helplessly.So when Kartik Aaryan as Anshul asks on behalf of all men who have to deal with their significant other’s male BFF (ask Shah Rukh Khan whose wife Madhuri Dixit in Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam insisted on best friend Salman Khan hanging around constantly) why it is okay for women to have male best friends and not okay for men to have female best friends, Anshul puts forward a valid point.Luv Ranjan’s romp into the confusing mind of women mines into areas of everyday gender interaction with an insider’s knowledge of how manipulative and lopsided relationships can get in a competitive society.  Kartik Aaryan’s  comic timing is  impeccable. I want to see him doing  the great Fahadh Faasil’s role in  the 2011  Malayalam  hit Njan Prakashan where  Fahadh played a dreamer schemer  who  cons his way through people’s emotions.

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