Chashme Buddoor: Old remains gold

MUMBAI: Among the three memorable films that filmmaker Sai Pareanjpye gave in the early 1980’s, Chashme Buddoor remains the most successful. It catered to the typical youth of that time, dealing with lads studying away from home and, in the process, not only sharing accommodation and cigarettes but also the ups and downs in life. (The other two acclaimed films by Sai were Sparsh and Katha.)

Producer: Gul Anand, Jayshree Anand Makhija.

Director: Sai Paranjpye.

Cast: Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Ravi Baswani, Rakesh Bedi, Saeed Jaffrey, Leela Mishra, Vinod Doshi.

Farooq Shaikh shares an accommodation with his two friends, Ravi Baswani and Rakesh Bedi, in Delhi. While Shaikh is a studious kind, Baswani and Bedi want to make the most of the freedom of being away from home, so much so that they don’t go home despite summer holidays and stay put in Delhi. They are always on the lookout for a girl to chase and the most vital link in their combined lives is Saeed Jaffrey, the local cigarette vendor where their account is always in the red.

The glad-eyed duo spot Deepti Naval, a neighbourhood girl and decide to approach her. Both try to gain entry to Naval’s house but fail miserably and feel humiliated. However, on return from failed mission, each concocts a colourful success story about his encounter. But, soon to their surprise, the shy Shaikh has scored with Naval and their romance blooms. Both are worried now that their failure and lies will be caught. They start plotting to make sure the lovers breakup.

The film is a clean romantic comedy with a racy first half which sags a bit in the second half.

It is a piece of able craftsmanship by Paranjpye who has done the script, dialogue as well as the film’s direction. She elicited great performances from all her actors: Shaikh, Naval, Baswani, Bedi, Leela Mishra and Jaffrey. The film has popular music track. The film also has a scene with Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha, a combination that meant a lot in those days.

A jubilee hit when released in 1981, the film has been digitally restored and being released at 33 cinemas spread across various cities in one show a day. Despite the over three decade gap, the film feels as refreshing as it did when it first released.

Chashme Baddoor: A farcical version of the original at best

Producers: Viacom 18.

Director: David Dhavan.

Cast: Ali Zafar, Siddharth, Taapsee Pannu, Divyendu Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Bharti Achrekar.

Remaking a film that is slotted among classics is not the wisest ideas and that too by David Dhawan, one who is known for his run of the mill comedies that thrive on loud gestures and double meaning exchanges. In short, though often successful, there has been nothing classic about Dhawan’s approach to filmmaking.

Dhawan sticks to the basic frame of three friends sharing a house in Goa and comes up with the farcical version of the original. Of the three, Ali Zafar is the sincere type while the other two, Siddharth and Divyendu Sharma, are the chaalu types chasing skirts. When they spot Taapsee Pannu, they are besotted. With Zafar playing the referee, both decide to have a go at wooing her. While one is chased and bitten by Pannu’s pet dog, the other gets lashes from her granny, Bharti Achrekar. Both hide the truth and tell glorious stories of their encounter with Pannu. Then, Pannu and Zafar have a fluke encounter and are instantly impressed with each other.

The friends are worried as they can’t let Pannu or Zafar find out about their misdeeds. They plot to play spoilsports and create a misunderstanding between the two. They achieve that and now there is nothing left for film to proceed any further! So, another romance is introduced: between Rishi Kapoor, a bar owner, and Lilette Dubey, the trio’s landlady. And, the two, Sharma and Siddharth, are also working on destroying this romance; why is that?

In fact, Dhawan takes the original script and removes anything and everything that was logical in there and turns it into a hackneyed series of events on the screen. The outcome is not a compliment to Dhawan’s reputation. While the Goa parts are visually good, the home set is badly made with unnecessary props. The acting is all about being loud and making faces. Rishi Kapoor and Anupam Kher have little to do. As for the music, whichever number borrowed from old films is good but from the original score, only Har ek friend kamina hotta hai.… has some youth appeal.

Chashme Baddoor 2 is okay for those who don’t compare it with the original. For them, the one-liners patch-up shairis mouthed by Sharma through the film should make the film tolerable. With its 1200+ screen solo release, it should sail safe.

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