Just as in Hollywood, Bollywood comedy films encompass a broad range of film styles - from broad bodily-functions humor to comedic twists in a dramatic story. Picking five top comedies is difficult because comedy takes on different tones depending upon the nature of the story, the director, and the actors.
The following five fun films offer something for seasoned Bollywood film watchers as well as those new to Indian cinema. These films take individuals and drop them into situations they are unprepared for with hilarious, and sometimes poignant, results. Each of these films includes great music, several over-the-top, ridiculous, insane, laugh-out-loud funny scenes, and some sincerely moving moments.
If you are new to Bollywood, check out these five comedies.
English Translation: M.B.B.S. is the abbreviation for "Medicinae Baccalaureus, Baccalaureus Chirurgiae" or "Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery"
Description: Mumbai underworld crime don Murli Prasad Sharma (Sanjay Dutt), a.k.a. Munna Bhai, has convinced his father (Sunil Dutt) and mother (Rohini Hattangadi) that he has fulfilled their dreams by becoming a medical doctor. However, during a visit from his parents, his true business is revealed by Dr. Asthana (Boman Irani), the dean of a local medical college. Heartbroken, Munna Bhai decides that he will become a doctor and, with the help of his sidekick Circuit (Arshad Warsi), he takes on the medical establishment and transforms those around him with the "Jadoo Ki Jhappi" ("magical hug") and the compassion he shows towards those in need.
Why I Love This Film: Dropping a middle-aged crime don into a world that doesn't respect his power or point of view seems dangerous. However, it is Murli's unique approach to life, love and friendship that makes this film work so well. He challenges the system because he asks the right questions and in so doing encourages us to look at the systems and rules we create in a new way.
Trivia: Sunil Dutt temporarily came out of retirement to appear onscreen with his real-life son Sanjay Dutt.
2. 3 Idiots
Description: Ten years after graduation from college, Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi), and Chatur Ramalingam (Omi Vaidya) team up to find their former college mate, Rancchoddas "Rancho" Shyamaldas Chanchad (Aamir Khan). The trio, while recollecting hilarious antics - including their run-ins with the Dean of Delhi's Imperial College of Engineering, Viru Sahastrabudhe (Boman Irani) and his daughter Pia (Kareena Kapoor) - race to locate Rancho at his last known address. Little do they know the secret that was kept from them all this time.
Why I Love This Film: This film definitely takes you back to your college days - highlighting the fun of discovering and hanging out with new friends, the joy of learning and pressures of studies, and the lessons learned as authority is appropriately (or inappropriately) challenged. It also deals with the difficult subjects of student suicide and the high price of education in a way that resonates long after the film is over.
Description: Aarush (Akshay Kumar) is the world's unluckiest man. Being jinxed, he believes his bad luck will vanish if he finds true love. He is an honest man who doesn't like to lie. Yet, in this quest for true love, he finds himself all tangled up in a web of misunderstandings and lies which add layer upon layer of confusion to this hilarious comedy of errors.
Why I Love This Film: As the first item number of the song plays, you realize you are in for a humorous treat. With delightful performances by an all-star cast - including Ritesh Deshmukh, Lara Dutta, Boman Irani, Jiah Khan, Deepika Padukone, Chunkey Pandey, and Arjun Rampal - you truly get the feeling that this film was as much fun to make as it is to watch. While the story has its moments of silliness, Akshay Kumar's performance as the sincere but luckless man trying to change his fate is what keeps this farcical story grounded, making it one of the most enjoyable comedies coming out of Bollywood.
Description: Jaswinder "Jassi" Randhawa (Ajay Devgn) is an unemployed good-for-nothing who receives a letter from the Punjab Government concerning his family's property in Punjab. To finalize and sell the property, Jassi leaves for Punjab. He soon finds himself in the home of Balwinder "Billu" Singh (Sanjay Dutt), who has been keeping alive the blood feud between the Singh-Randhawa families. While Jassi is a guest in the Singh household, he cannot be harmed. Billu must wait for Jassi to leave the house in order to kill him. When Jassi discovers the truth, he tries to avert Billu's plans.
Why I Love This Film: Many of the characters are bigger than life and that is one of the charms of this film. The story is full of many crazy or over-the-top comedic scenes and action sequences that amuse. Throughout the film, Jassi is ever hopeful that he can avert his fate - and so are we. The dim-witted but passionate Tony (Mukul Dev) is a particularly enjoyable character. An extended appearance of Salman Khan is an extra special treat.
Description: Leaving his home in Mumbai, Rahul Mithaiwala (Shah Rukh Khan) embarks on a journey to a small town in Tamil Nadu to fulfill the last wish of his grandfather: to have his ashes immersed in the Holy water of Rameshwaram. En route, he meets Meenalochni Azhagusundaram (Deepika Padukone) who hails from a unique family in southern India and is trying to avoid an arranged marriage. Thrust together, they find themselves on an unexpected journey.
Why I Love This Film: Watching Rahul change from a self-centered borderline jerk to a chivalrous man is refreshing - especially since we see the transformation even if he doesn't. His initial disregard for his responsibility ultimately leads him to become a man with a mission. As a Rohit Shetty film, there are a lot of humorous moments along with car chases and crashes, and an awesome fight scene - but it also offers a lot of fun surprises throughout, including a great sequence known as "the temple scene." Stick around for the end credits featuring a tribute to South Indian megastar Rajinikanth.
Don't know which film to watch first? The following playlist features the trailers for each of these films.
If you liked this, check out some of our other Friday Five posts.