Film Appreciation: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983)

We live in a day and age where Naseeruddin Shah is considered to be one of the stalwart flagbearers of Indian Cinema across borders of genre and tone churning out masterpieces even at the age 67. It was a series of critically acclaimed award winners in the early days of his career that took him there; some of them ignored for the taste of ‘newer’ movies. While we lap up classics of the west lauding their efforts for giving a good cinematic experience decades before the digital age set in, we conveniently forget those made back home. It was with this intent to inculcate a taste for movie watching in the larger mainstream community in Manipal, that the newly revamped Movie Goers Club screened their first movie of the semester in the Digital Display Board in front of the Innovation Centre.

A slapstick comedy at its core, the movie follows two struggling photographers in the corrupt suburbs of Bombay trying to make an honest living. They are hired by Shobha Ji, a firebrand journalist and the editor of Khabardaar, a news magazine that ran stories on the plentiful corruption and crime that ran rampant in the city. This brings them at loggerheads with the corrupt Commissioner D’Mello, construction magnate Tarneja, his rival Ahuja and their goons that make a good laugh along the way.

What follows is a series of mishaps and comic mixups that is Indian slapstick at its best. The Mahabharata scene near the climax is one for the ages and one of the most critically acclaimed segments in any cinema; one that has been replicated time over in many future comedies to lesser appeal.

This film in its own light-hearted way brings to focus the innumerous problems that the lower and upper-middle-class Indians face trying to make their ends meet. Each scene is a testament to India fighting all its root evils. How the rich fight with each other and when the devil comes to collect his due, they all gang up and make the poor man the scapegoat is crafted masterfully in Kundan Shah’s comic magnum opus.

Comedy as a genre has grown from humble beginnings to the multi-billion dollar enterprise that it is today. There was a time when actions spoke louder than words and there is no better example for this than, all of Charlie Chaplin’s movies or Pushpak for the Indian in you. But over time largely because of the influence of the west and the advent of better sound technologies, we have come to rely more on wit, sarcasm, and dialogue to make us laugh. Over the top acting, and unrealism is frowned upon by the modern moviegoer and critic alike!

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a template for today’s Dhamaals and Golmaals to follow in how to make a good critically acclaimed movie even with over-the-top situations and acting. Something that we are in dire need of in today’s world surrounded by the news blaring terror and hate every waking hour.

Movie Goers Club, founded in 2011 is a student-run club based at MIT Manipal that aims to screen offbeat movies and inculcate a taste for movies in the students of Manipal. Formerly all movies were screened at the AC Seminar Hall every Saturday at 6:00 PM. These days, you can find them every Saturdays in front of the Innovation Centre enjoying one of those tastefully less watched movies!

To suggest your favorite movie to be screened, you can get in touch with them at

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