Comedy is an art. Perhaps one of the toughest arts in the whole world, for it involves making people laugh, which isn’t necessarily that easy. From the crooning tramp Charlie Chaplin, to Raju Srivastava, comedians have proved, with their prowess, that indeed, laughter is the best medicine.
Now when comedian (only in name) Tanmay Bhat has crossed the fine line between trolling and debauchery, with his insulting video on Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Queen of Melody Lata Mangeshkar, it is imperative, that we look at some classical comedians of India, who gave India the laughter riots, without any nasty fuss.
Although the list is rather infinite, I did manage to find out seven top comedians from the old school, who are anyday better than this loudmouth Tanmay Bhat, who claims to be a comedian, but actually isn’t: –
- Mehmood Ali (One of the first and the Best): –
One of the first comedians to make his mark, Mehmood Ali was a genius of this art. They say, comedians bring out their pain in the form of laughter, which is absolutely evident in the case of this awesome comedian, who had a forgettable childhood. The ease with which he played the worst characters of the society can be attributed to his dark past, when his father, a struggling producer, resorted to alcohol. Besides, he is a moving film studio in himself, and has been a producer, writer, director as well. Due to him, one of the music legends, Rahul Dev Burman, got a break in Bollywood. Nobody can forget the hilarious role of Master Pillai in Padosan, which he played with élan. Even though he trolled many a politician for their high handedness, he never got nasty like Tanmay did. He was Mr. Clean for sure, and a topper of his own class in comedy.
- Johnny Lever (The Baap of Comedians): –
From rags to fame (riches would be insulting for this talent house), this comedian’s life is a perfect example for the same. Born as John Prakash Rao Janumala, on 14th August 1957, he struggled to make a living. A Grade 7th dropout, he learnt his comic skills by selling pens, where he mimicked actors’ voices, and danced on their favorite songs. Even though a standup comedian, he struggled to make a living, until he found his call, when he debuted with ‘Tum Par Hum Qurbaan’. His first success was with the famous N. Chandra flick Tezaab, where he played Munna (Anil Kapoor)’s pal, Kainchi. Since then, he has never looked back. He is the ultimate face of rib tickling comedy in India, and is extremely well known for some flicks like Dulhe Raja, Golmaal 3, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to begin with.
- Rakesh Bedi (The Hilarious Laughter House) : –
Rakesh Bedi is one of the finest comedians India has ever produced. From political satires, to religious folklore, he has sailed through with equal ease. An illustrious alumni of the National School of Drama, he is well known for his epic characters in films like ‘Chashme Buddoor’, ‘Ek Duuje Ke Liye’, ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’ and TV serials like ‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi’, ‘All the Best’, ‘Shreeman Shreemati’. Even though he has grown old, he continues to make us laugh as the cute Angoori’s father in the hilarious comic caper, ‘Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hain.’
- Sanjay Misra (The Cheeky Troller): –
You know him as the Oscar bhai from Dilwale (the only bright spot in the otherwise drab movie), you know him as Bauji from Ankhon Dekhi (his character brought laughter and tears together), but Sanjay Mishra is much more than just his characters. He is a comedian, who doesn’t need any cuss word, or controversial issue to make you laugh. All he needs, is a script, and some dialogues, however crap they might be. If someone can infuse life in dead dialogues, it is this man. Sanjay Mishra is a troller of his own class, who made a dashing debut as the maverick cricket fan Apple Singh in the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup commercials. Besides, he can play serious roles, like that of the crafty Pandit Vidyadhar Pathak in ‘Masaan’, with equal ease.
- Paresh Rawal (The Master of his Own Class): –
If anyone doesn’t know Paresh Rawal the comedian, he /she knows nothing about Indian comedy. For a person, who has essayed the role of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Sardar or Commissioner Amod Shukla in Satya with finesse, he has also played the epic roles of Teja in Andaz Apna Apna, and the ever famous Baburao Ganpatrao Apte in Hera Pheri with equal ease. His role as Baburao has been regarded as a cult status by his fans, which includes myself as well. His role of Kanjilal Mehta in Oh My God has while on one hand reduced us to peals of laughter, and on the other hand also enlightened us on the issue of religious harmony.
- Jaaved Jaffrey (The Whisker Clean Troller): –
If someone needs to see how you can people make laugh without any cuss words, do ask Javed Jaffrey for sure. He is one of the best comedians India has ever produced, and still manages to make people chortle, while maintaining a squeaky clean image. Son of famous comedian Jagdeep (known for Soorma Bhopali in Sholay), he debuted as a villain in ‘Meri Jung’, but soon found his calling, and switched to comedy. Besides comedy, he is an extremely skilled dancer, and it was he who introduced hip hop and break dance to the Indian fraternity. He has made us laugh with his epic dubbing of the famous Japanese reality show, ‘Takeshi’s Castle’. Remember Chandra Vibhushan Pandey and his imported keechad (mud)? Recently, on the issue of intolerance, he mocked the alleged Hindu Muslim divide with a hard hitting line, ‘Nafrat ka yeh dekho Kaisa Paigam Aa Gaya, Gaay Hindu ho gaya, Bakra Mussalman Ban Gaya’ (Hate has brought such havoc, Cow is Hindu and Goat becomes a Muslim)
- Rajendra Nath (The life of 60s films): –
The time was the 60s. Yahoo Shammi was on a roll, Dev Anand romanced the angels with elan, Dilip Kumar was trying his hand at comedy. In this decade, what none noticed, was the matchless contribution of character actor and comedian Rajendra Nath. Well known for his buffoonery in films like Mere Sanam, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, An Evening in Paris to name a few, he would be the much needed comic relief in the amalgam of intense romance, and gripping action and drama. He is also known, in select circles, for his excellence in Punjabi movies. Much before Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah, it was Rajendra Nath who made the name Mr. Popatlal famous!
Besides the above mentioned, actors like Ravi Baswani, Shekhar Suman, Om Puri, Irrfan Khan to name a few deserve a special mention for their hilarious comedy. While Om Puri, who is a character actor, set us rolling on the floor with his role in the satire ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron’, Irrfan Khan makes us chortle with an absolutely straight face. Don’t forget, that apart from Piku and Bhashkor, it was Irrfan’s character Rana, who made ‘Piku’ a laughter ride. A salute to all these comedians, who make our day worthwhile. Tanmay Bhat, if you’re reading this, do try to learn from them, if you really want to be called a comedian.
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (for Statistics and Film Names)