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B'wood's good comedy in 2yrs

When Bollywood was thirsting for a comedy, prolific director Priyadarshan has managed to make people roll with laughter.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2003 16:34 IST

Just when Bollywood was about to write off the comic genre, prolific director Priyadarshan has managed to make people roll with laughter.

His Hungama which opened on Friday has turned out to be the surprise success
of the monsoon season.

Released along with five other major and minor films, Priyadarshan's parody
was written off as a non-starter. But with every passing day, the collections improved dramatically.

Now, a week after its unceremonious release, Hungama is roaring at the box-office.

There's a problem with the film's exhibition though, specially in the smaller centres - exhibitors who had anticipated a brief run for the comedy had already booked their theatres for this week's huge release Koi Mil Gaya.

Says Patna exhibitor Roshan Singh: "Now I'm in a jam. The Hungama distributors want to know why I must remove the film when it's doing so well. I've no choice but to move it to the morning show, with the crowds swelling every day. I haven't seen the audiences laugh so much in any recent comedy."

Hungama certainly does the comic genre a world of good.

Director Priyadarshan, who has made films in Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam, is
relieved. "Frankly I've seen too many ups and downs to be swayed by success.
But yes, a comedy doing well at a time when Bollywood has written off the genre does feel reassuring."

Incidentally, the last successful comedy in Hindi was Priyadarshan's HeraPheri. "That too was written off in the first few days but it eventually found its audience," he recalls.

The surprise success of Hungama augurs well not just for its two leading men - Akshaye Khanna and Aftab Shivdasani - but also for long-pending comedies like Kundan Shah's Ek Se Badhkar Ek featuring Sunil Shetty, Shekhar Suman and Raveena Tandon as bumbling desperados, and Suno Sasurjee with Amisha Patel and Aftab Shivdasani.

Both have been lying in the cans for almost two years and are now expected
to be released in September.

Up for release before that are two more comedies by the gifted yet underrated Raman Kumar who gave Indian television its first sitcom Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi.

Kumar's films are Wah Wah Ramji, starring comic king Paresh Rawal, and
Raja Bhaiyya, starring Govinda. In fact Govinda is bound to be a prime beneficiary of this revival.

Besides Raman Kumar's Raja Bhaiyya, he'll also be seen in HarmeshMalhotra's long delayed Khullam Khulla Pyar Karenge", with Preity Zinta, and Anees Bazmi's Hum Do Hamare Ek, with Raveena Tandon and MahimaChaudhry.

For now, the comic genre is back in business.

Even the mighty Amitabh Bachchan's next release is an out-and-out wacky
comedy, Boom, with Kaizad Gustad navigating the chuckles.

First Published: Aug 08, 2003 19:28 IST