Back in November 1994, when Narasimha Rao was India’s PM and Beant Singh Punjab’s CM, my classmates made me bunk college to watch the latest Hindi flick, Andaz Apna Apna (AAA). I would have rather gone home or to an ahata, being still in a daze weeks after sitting through that marathon family drama with two intermissions, Hum Aapke Hain Koun. Making it worse was a painful headache triggered by a boring lecture. Three hours later, as I came out of the single-screen theatre, my head was spinning merrily rather than aching. The side-splitting comedy had worked far better than Saridon or Royal Stag. Indeed, I realised, laughter is the best medicine.
AAA didn’t prove to be a blockbuster, but it continues to be a super stress-buster. Twenty years on, amid talk of a sequel to the cult classic, I got its main characters chatting. Excerpts
Amar (Aamir Khan): Haila! Bees saal ho gaye! I have fond memories of this jhakaas movie. The whole story revolved around me; I was the sun while the others were mere planets. The best scene? There are many, but I’ll pick the one where I suddenly ‘regain’ my memory and reveal that I’m a prince who was a football star for Mohun Bagan. Above all, it was great fun to see poor Prem play second fiddle to me. Hats off to Aamir, who rightly showed Salman who’s the boss.
Prem (Salman Khan): Times have changed, my dear frenemy. It’s so funny that your Aamir, who played a chronic liar in AAA, is hosting a show called Satyamev Jayate. And you know very well who anchors Bigg Boss. No doubt Salman’s the bigger star today. And I’m not even talking about shooting black bucks or running over pavement dwellers. Ooi ma, did I say too much?
Karishma and Raveena (Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor, respectively): It was a smart move to mix up our names and identities. The whole point was to confuse not only the boys (Amar-Prem) but also the viewers. But there were moments when even we forgot who’s who. In such a scenario, there was no room for jealousy between us. Can’t say whether the same was true for the stars who played our parts.
Ram and Sham Gopal Bajaj (Paresh Rawal): In a film where almost everybody was overacting, Paresh bhai kept himself under control while playing the black-and-white twins. What a pity he wasn’t even nominated for a Filmfare award. I know he’s busy with politics these days, having become a BJP MP from NaMo’s Gujarat. My advice to him: keep playing roles of all hues, not just of the saffron kind.
Crime Master Gogo (Shakti Kapoor): AAA got a thrilling climax due to me, the bad man-cum-buffoon in the garb of a thuperhero [pardon my lithp (lisp)]. Even my uncle, the one and only Mogambo, apprethiated my loony villainy. The other day, I read that Thakti Kapoor’s daughter ith keen to work with him and hath even thought up the movie title: Gogo and Gogi. Great going, girl. Dhakki tiki dhakki tiki dhakki tiki dhaa!
All of them: Rajkumar Santoshiji, aap purush nahin mahapurush hain (you are not a man but a superman). We know sequels are not equals, but let’s give it a try and make another painkiller. Just for laughs.