“A sarcastic look at the level corruption that exists in Mumbai city” is the theme upon which the 1983 Bollywood movie “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” directed by Kundan Shah is based on. Comprising of a talented cast that includes Nasseruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Bhakti Barve, Om Puri, Satish Shah, and Pankaj Kapur, this brilliant satire is said to have been inspired from the renowned British-Italian movie “Blow Up”. Having not proven to be an instant “box office” success this movie gradually over the years has acquired a “cult status”. And hence, here is presenting an analysis as to why “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” is considered to be a Bollywood classic.
a. The “story”, “screenplay”, and “editing” of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron:
Set in the city of Mumbai the story of this hilarious film revolves around two photographers Vinod Chopra (Nasseruddin Shah) and Sudhir Mishra (Ravi Baswani) who set up a studio. The two photographers are then hired by a conniving editor Shobha Sen (Bhakti Barve) of a magazine called “Khabardar” to basically click pictures and expose the corrupt lives of the rich and famous. It is while clicking pictures one day that they accidentally click a few which show a man being killed. Now, it is discovered that man being killed is the Commissioner of Bombay Municipal Corporation D’Mello (Satish Shah) while the assassin is a corrupt builder named Tarneja (Pankaj Kapur). It is when both these photographers decide to expose the builder with the use of the pictures that the actual drama begins. The rest of movie revolves around some real hilarious situations and intriguing characters such as Ahuja (played brilliantly by Om Puri) another builder. This movie also deals with whether or not justice eventually prevails in a system that has rotten completely from the inside.
The screenplay written by Kundan Shah and Sudhir Mishra is extremely “crisp” and takes the movie forward. The dialogues written by Ranjit Kapoor and Satish Kaushik are extremely hilarious. In fact, the writing used in this movie is a classic example of “sarcasm” at its best, an integral part of any satire. Furthermore, the editing by Renu Saluja is excellent, and ensures that the gripping narrative consisting of suspense and comic elements never falters even once from start to finish.
b. The “performances” of the star cast of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron:
“Simply outstanding” would be the best way to describe the performances of the highly talented star cast of this movie. The protagonists Nasseruddin Shah and Vivek Baswani play conscientious photographers trying to expose the corrupt “political system” with a great deal of honesty and panache that the characters required. Furthermore, Bhakti Barve as the “slimy” magazine editor Shobha trying her best to manipulate the photographers for her own needs is also “terrific”, and plays this role (what can be termed as a vamp) to perfection. The antagonist Pankaj Kapoor as the “sleazy” and absolutely “corrupt” builder Tarneja is great, and plays the role with a lot of natural flair. The supporting cast that includes actors like Neena Gupta, Deepak Qazir, and Satish Shah are extremely hilarious and play their parts with aplomb. However, it is Om Puri as builder Ahuja and Satish Shah as Commissioner D’Mello that provide for the best performances in this movie. Actor Puri with his typical “Punjabi accent” and absolute hilarious body language brings to life brilliantly the “obnoxious” character of Ahuja. On the other hand, Shah plays the part of a dead man for major part of the movie extremely well, and is a performance that in fact deserves an ovation.
c. The “cinematography”, “music”, and “direction” of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron:
“Edgy” is the best way to describe the cinematography done by Binod Pradhan. Shot on real locations (and under budget constraints) such as the Marine Lines station the cinematographer through his camera captures the “grim reality of corruption” that engulfs the city beautifully. The background score by Vanraj Bhatia gives the narrative an “intriguing and comical” feel to it. Above all though, it is the wonderful roadmap provided by Kundan Shah the director that makes the movie a masterpiece. Having written the script himself (an advantage) Shah beautifully weaves “madness” with “great content” and creates an extremely memorable film. In addition, he also manages to extract magnificent performances from his cast, and credit for this must go to him. Most important of all is that, this director had the gumption to ingeniously use “satire” (a genre rarely explored in Bollywood) to tell a tale revolving around an issue that is relevant in India even today, approximately 35 years after this movie was first released.
With the digitally restored version of this movie having been released in a few Mumbai theaters in 2012, it would be right to state that in terms of the “satire” genre there is no better movie than “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” to have ever been produced in Bollywood.