In recent years, as the Hindi film industry continues to ruin the comedy genre with regressive, sexist, and extremely crass movies parading as ‘comedies’, I often find myself going back to old films for a much-needed break from work.
One such comedy-drama that never fails to leave me smiling, and is a family favourite when it comes to movie nights, is Dibakar Banerjee’s debut film, the 2006 comedy-drama Khosla Ka Ghosla.
Written by Jaideep Sahni, and starring some of our industry’s finest actors, Khosla Ka Ghosla is the kind of intelligent comedy that leaves you in splits while also offering a commentary on social issues. In this specific case, it took on the concept of property scams, to offer a comment on the issue of the generation gap.
One of the most hilarious, apt observational comedies to have come out of Bollywood, it went on to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
However, apart from the awards it won, and the emotional connect it offered via its relatable characters and storyline, the film’s greatest win has to be the dialogues and scenarios that take place within the film.
Because, it’s here that Khosla Ka Ghosla firmly establishes itself as a family comedy that achieved the seemingly rare feat, of neither scandalizing our parents’ generation, nor offending our generation, and still making us laugh out loud, for real.
Over the years, as I unlearned the flawed notions I grew up with, many of my childhood favourites left me cringing and ashamed of my choices (looking at you DDLJ, K2H2, K3G).
But not Khosla Ka Ghosla. Khosla Ka Ghosla never resorts to mocking a community, demeaning a gender, or dramatizing a language to elicit laughs. The jokes are not rooted in shaming people for their appearances or perceived personality flaws.
Rather, they are every-day jokes based on people’s actions – the morning rituals of a father suffering from ‘gas’, a son’s quest to change his ‘traditional’ but admittedly unique name, a broker with a tendency to talk too much, and a hired caretaker named Insaan Singh.
And there are certainly no dance numbers, termed as ‘item songs’, being used for the film’s promotion. Rather, we have an eclectic pleasant soundtrack that perfectly suits the film’s setting.
But a personal favourite scene remains Kamal Khosla admonishing his son for not understanding why Bapu got flustered on seeing a bag full of money. It’s a simple scene, but it packs a punch because it reminds us of the kind of man Kamal Khosla is. It reminds us of the kind of people whose story we are witnessing.
They are not mob rulers with hundred henchmen on their disposal or long-time gun-wielding crooks. No, these characters are like you and I. Yes, they decided to take a chance in the fictional world that many of us might not in the real world. But, at the core of their existence are the same values, belief-system and familial tension that surround most Indian households.
And that’s why the circumstances they find themselves in are hilarious. Because they hold a mirror to our own dysfunctional but loving families. Because they are genuine.
In an age of Laxmii and Housefull sequels, I’d pick the 100th viewing of a Khosla Ka Ghosla anytime.