Directed by: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Starring: Dharmendra, Om Prakash, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bachchan
There used to be a time when while watching a comedy movie you could do so with the whole family from half-deaf grandma to the smallest kids without worrying that a vulgar joke will be said, without fear that in the next moment twenty naked oily girls are going to weave themselves into the limbs of the hero. That was a time of films like Chupke Chupke, which is among the very best of genuine, entertaining and harmless comedies.
Starring the ever so charming Dharmendra as the main lead, the film starts with him (under the name of Parimal Tripathi, a famous botany professor) trying to help out a keeper of a mountain bungalow by pretending to be him. To his horror as soon as he disguises himself and the real keeper wanders off to visit his son in a hospital, a bus loaded with female botany students arrives and he has to fulfill all the keeper´s duties. Among the girls we can find Sulekha (young and fresh Sharmila Tagore), who ultimately finds out the truth about Parimal and the two fall in love.
|Love? I´m here to keep the bungalow. I charge more for falling in love.|
Nobody objects and so they soon get married, but Parimal´s marital bliss is constantly bugged by a relative he has not even met yet – Sulekha´s brother-in-law (Om Prakash). Apparently whatever he does and says is treated as the Holy word in the whole family, because he is well educated and witty. Finally Parimal is way too annoyed with all the praise on the adress of „jijaji“ and makes a bet with Sulekha: He is going to show her her brother-in-law is just as human and can make mistakes like every other mortal by tricking him. Soon after jijaji employs a new driver for his family, not aware he is no other than Parimal, the new relative he has not yet met.
|Jijaji 24-hours nonstop telephone help line. May I share my words of wisdom with you?|
Truth is that until some point the whole thing is interesting to watch and after that becomes somehow pointless. The trickery evolves into an intricate scheme organized by Parimal, but using help of not only Sulekha, but also some of his friends, but somehow you never get to know why. After some time it leaves the intention to mislead the poor jijaji and becomes more of a fun game enjoyed by the ones who actually do know what is going on, but causing much genuine distress to those not involved in the plot. And when it comes to that, I always feel rather uncomfortable. Anyway the films manages to overcome its own pointlessness with pure entertainment guaranteed mostly by the one and only Dharam, whose comic timing is perfect and his natural charm just keeps you with a smile plastered on your face throughout.
|Can I please have one more uniform? With pinky butterflies, please?|
|Let´s do some romancing among flower petals first!|
The last 20 minutes are weaker than the rest of the movie, mostly because the focus shifts to Parimal´s friend Sukumar Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan) and his love troubles caused by him previously agreeing to pose as Parimal for the sake of the trickery to go on for a while longer. However how to explain to young Vasudha (Jaya Bhaduri) now that he is actually not the married botany professor, but a very much available bachelor? Not that he would act badly, but after Dharmendra compeltely stealing the show and shining in the film, Amitabh doesn´t manage to reach the level expected by the viewer. Jaya Bhaduri stays for what I usually take her – a small gray mouse without much of a screen-presence, and is somehow lost among the powerful Dharam, less powerful but still good Amitabh, and also ravishing Sharmila who is the one to keep the eyes of all glued on her. Sadly, both ladies are underused.
In spite of the silliness of the plot Chupke Chupke is a very enjoyable film and one of the most effortlessly funny comedies that have ever came out of Bollywood. Safe to watch with family, safe to watch with friends, and brightening up your day even if you are alone.
|Nerdy Amitabh rates the film with 4 out of 5 Whirpool washing machines.|