Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Angoor that didn’t taste sour

I know it’s not convention to write the review of a movie that is about 40 years old, but since i have watched this movie as a part of my paper in class for translational studies in JNU I could not help but pen a word or two about it on my space, my blog. I am talking of this hilarious laugh riot and delightful piece of work called Angoor directed by lyricist/director Gulzaar, who in his impeccable style, and neatness only matched by his own immaculate dressing, has made the bold attempt at adapting the Great Bard himself (commonly known as William Shakespeare to the world). Most obviously neither Gulzaar nor the Grand Master himself, need any introduction. I know most of us have watched this movie at some point or another irrespective of the era we are born into and the kind of cinema that is fad in the contemporary times. In fact it is much rather the simplicity and directorial nuance with which this movie is made that one finds lacking in today’s cinema. For those who are not aware, the movie is a direct adaptation from Shakespeare’s play, Comedy of Errors. Despite the fact that Gulzaar in the very first scene pays his due to the playwright and also acknowledges his source when I told some of my friends that I am taking Angoor as a discussion for translation most of them reacted with surprise. It is perhaps because Gulzaar has adapted the movie so well and in the process made it his own. Nowhere can you see the overbearing presence or the anxiety of doing justice to the playwright. However, the movie is as much appropriated in the Indian socio-cultural context as it is alienated from the times, and the place it is adapted from. It is as much attached to the original as it is free as an independent work of art. All in all it remains to be a 2 hour 10 minute entertainer of splitting laughter and situational humour.
It is quite surprising how a play written in the 16th century and performed for the European audiences in the reign of Queen Elizabeth is so easily adaptable and reproducible in mainstream Indian cinema and not only works well but can be recorded as one of the most successful comedies ever; so much so that it has been loosely copied as late as the 90’s in a very shoddy movie otherwise, viz., ‘Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan’. If you strain yourselves the pair of similar looking men, the instance of mistaken identities, and the confusion resulting from that, followed by a misgiving about a jewellery piece are all picked up from Angoor. While the original shows men in believable circumstances where the mistaken identities can be accorded to a certain logic, David Dhawan’s movie goes berserk with Govinda and Amitabh Bachhan (and sadly so) bobbing around in multi coloured attire that is a sore to the eye and looking nothing short of smug and overconfident buffoons, reattempting the classic, however the director appears only too earnest in his endeavours.  But, then to surpass or even stand shoulder to a man of excellence like gulzaar is quite a task.  No effort has been spent or wasted on any magnificent sets, locations, or even costumes, it wasn’t even found necessary. The introduction of the bhang element makes it characteristically Indian and adds that much required theme of madness that gels perfectly with the events that unfold.
Its heart warming to finally watch a movie, that is successful in making the audience laugh and strike that perfect note without cheesy and corny slapstick dialogues nor any banal or forced attempts at sounding funny (as is the case of most David Dhawan movies). The actors slip into the characters with an ease and grace that makes them a delight to watch. The performances are nuanced and well scripted. All the chief protagonists, viz., Sanjeev Kumar, Deven Verma, Moshumi Chatterjee and Deepti Naval put on a show that didn’t let a single moment be dull in the movie. The scenes that I found particularly funny were the ones with the squeaky crooning of ‘Preetam aan milo’ that wouldn’t escape your mind even as you finish the movie and get on with other things. The fact that the movie is only 2 hours and 10 minutes on screen the scope of being tired and disinterested is tactfully checked. All in all I am glad that I was made to watch the movie for the presentation that was thrust at me last week. But all the more it was an absolute pleasure to watch the movie. While researching on the movie I found out that there are attempts made for its remake. Lets just hope that the new makers don’t make the Bard turn in his revered grave.


  1. I never would have guessed that Angoor was an adaptation of a Shakespearean play, thanks for the info :)
    I agree with everything that you said except for your views on David Dhawan...cut him slack will you!! :P
    I am no fan but I do enjoy enjoy some of his movies..I would prefer a mindless David Dhawan flick to an unrealistic, over the top F@#$%%^%^$$% Karan Johan (read GAY) movie :P

  2. @utkarsh: i am no fan of karan johar either! i find his cinema irresponsible, detached and unrealistic, i have enjoyed some david dhawan flicks myself, but some are really unbearable :P

  3. "Lets just hope that the new makers don’t make the Bard turn in his revered grave."
    well,they 100 % most definitely will,bcoz & this might only be my opinion,they are all missing one great factor,the one i observe in all the old classics.

    Though i only vaguely remember one scene from this movie where moshumi tries to go close to Sanjeev Kumar(not her husband,but somebdy other banda) & he squirms out of her hold (i wonder if it's the same movie),i have to say,i do absolutely love oldies like CHUPKE CHUPKE,BAAWARCHI and some more.What always instantly strike's about them is the innocence within the story & direction,there's this charm of fun & innocence .both at the same time,which even though directors might want to inculcate,get's shunned of in todays cinema,example,remember govinda Karishma starrer movie,whrer Govinda, a son of a rich businessman enters karishma's house as a baawarchi/naukar to get close to the family,the idea is the same as original bawarchi(
    the bawarchi bit,help in the families troubles & problems,not the romantic bit),but it's not as innocent as Bawarchi.Karan johar did,in his initial tries try to gather that innocence & family dilemma's in K3G (funky name,eh ? :) ),but i don't think it perpetuated much.Rajshree ,the production house of innocent films,made movies like VIVAAH & hum saath saath hain & more,but i guess cinema & people have changed a lot to accept them as "STREAMLINE" cinema.Of course,this might just be my orthodox view,but that was one viewpoint i had,although that doesn't mean i won't go to see movies like Delhi belly,i may well enjoy it as well,but all i want to say is that innocence is absconding :D
    Nice post,loved it,keep writing