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Are comedies back in business?

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Download Hulchul WallpapersBy an uncanny coincidence, two comedies, both released at the end of the year, have done extraordinarily well -- if "Munnabhai M.B.B.S" created a 'hulchal' in December 2003, then "Hulchal" is setting the box office afire this year.

Like Raj Kumar Hirani's film, Priyadarshan's "Hulchal" is shattering records all over the country, belying the belief that comedies don't do well as a rule.

"Wrong!" says Priyadarshan. "Three of my comedies 'Hera Pheri', 'Hungama' and now 'Hulchal' have clicked in a row. And now I'm planning one more with Akshay Kumar called 'Garam Masala'. It'll be a remake of my Malayalam hit 'Boeing Boeing', which in turn was a remake of the Tony Curtis comedy of the same name."

So are comedies finally in fashion again?

Download Hungama WallpapersIt looks like laughter is going to be the blast medicine in the coming months. David Dhawan, who scored a hit with the comedy "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi", is almost ready with his new Salman Khan-Sushmita Sen-Katrina Kaif-Arshad Warsi comedy.

And there's Vikram Bhatt, who earlier made the hit comedy "Awaara Pagal Deewana" and is now all set to direct the follow-up "Deewana Huey Paagal" with Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapur and Paresh Rawal.

Rawal, who's become as integral to Bollywood comedies as Amitabh Bachchan to multi-starrers, has now hiked his price to suit his new star status. He insists his price is commensurate with his position.

Arshad Warsi, who's been part of some of the best comedies in recent times including "Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2", "Munnabhai M.B.B.S." and now "Hulchal", is wary of playing the comic foil.

Download Hulchul Wallpapers"I played the comic lead in 'Waisa Bhi Hota Hai'. But that didn't work. So I had to move to the so-called sidekick's role in 'Munnabhai' and 'Hulchal'. Now I've one more such sidekick role in David's next. That completes my sidekick trilogy, ha, ha. Ha! After 'Hulchal', David Dhawan again promised me a great role in another comedy. But I'm very clear. No more thankless comic roles."

Comedy in Hindi cinema is indeed a thankless task. But filmmakers have woken to the pleasures of the wacky.

Even as "Hulchal" spreads its tittering tentacles, next month will see stand-up comedian Devang Patel ready with his full-length one-man feature film "Smile Please".

Audiences seem ready to take the smile offer seriously.


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