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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

just for laughs

Laughing is good for the health, so the doctor prescribes.

Laughter has many forms like grinning, smiling, laughing and guffawing! Whilst the first two types exercise the muscles of the lips and a tiny portion of the jaws, a guffawing laughter exercises the whole body. It literally activates all your muscles. Knowledgeable circles advocate hearty laughter to keep in the best of health. As a result, laughing clubs have sprouted in posh localities. Also, magazines regularly run sections like ‘laughter is the best medicine’, ‘grin and bear it’, ‘humour in uniform’ to make living more relaxed.

King Arthur had his court jesters and Akbar had his Birbal.

Court jesters were an integral part and parcel of the King’s inner circle occupying a position of considerable importance because, as and when the need arose, they were duty bound to rise to the occasion and lighten the atmosphere by narrating interesting and appropriate anecdotes. The concept of the King is not there any longer but that of a comedian remains in every ruling party’s cabinet. Long ago we had a gentleman who used to sport a green turban! Later we had someone who was forever putting his foot in his mouth. Last reports reveal that he is pursuing some studies and has apparently taken sanyas from politics! Today, we have another gentleman who exhibits a fantastic growth of hair on his ears!

Let us now come to the cinema. In the fifties, there were great comedians like the one and only Charlie Chaplin and the duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. They used to make the audience roll with laughter without laughing themselves. Superb examples of slap stick comedy! That was the secret.

They were great artists because they could generate side splitting laughter by a mere change of expression. In the Indian scenario we had unparalled comedians like I S Johar, Johnny Walker, Mehmood, Mukri, Om Prakash, Keshto Mukherjee, Robi Ghosh, and Bhanu Bandopadhaya. When the situation demanded, regular actors like Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutta in Gol Mal or Amitabh Bachhan and Dharmendra in Chupke chupke or Farookh Shaikh and Deepti Naval in Chashme Baddoor played the roles of comedians. TV serials like Wagle ki duniya, Hum Panch, Ghar Jamai were examples of good comedy serials. Farookh Shaikh, Anantha Mahadevan and Satish Shah produced memorable performances. In comparison, todays so called comedy serials are too loud for comfort. Out of the present day screen comedians, the pair of Johnny Lever and Govinda has become popular along with Kader Khan and Saif Ali Khan. But, all of them tend to forget that an able comedian should have the power to generate spontaneous laughter. Laughter is something you cannot force upon somebody. The only point to note is – there is a dearth of women comedians. Comedy appears to be a male bastion. I think it will make a good subject for further research!


  • At 9:22 AM, Blogger anti said…

    I spent a lot of my young years in the Caribbean and there were lots of Indian movies on the television.
    Trinidad is 45% East Indian, but for the life of me I can't remember the actors' names except for the Kapoor brothers and Amitabh Bachan (sure I got the spelling wrong).

  • At 9:32 AM, Blogger Jason Mulgrew said…


    jason mulgrew
    internet quasi-celebrity


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