|Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Saeed Jaffrey, Rakesh Bedi|
What an incredible treat for film-lovers as the original Chashme Buddoor (1981) finds a release alongside its boisterous remake. Chalk and cheese apart, viewing the original after its remake is sight for sore eyes, a band-aid for the soul, a bit of which got sucked away while watching David Dhawan’s version.
The fit doesn’t make sense from the start. How does a director like David Dhawan, whose last film Rascals was simply unwatchable, figure that he’d like to remake Chashme Buddoor. What must’ve been the thought process?
Nevertheless, the original is out in theatres and here’s what’s in store for you.
The film starts with interesting opening credits: the cartoons of two men on a bike (our no-good characters) riding along the picture of a woman’s body in a bikini. The opening scene has the three roomies share a cigarette. The film offers a snapshot of ‘80s contemporary India where smoking was clearly the in thing.
The two roguish ones Omi (Rakesh Bedi) and Jai (Ravi Baswani) spot a girl in a ‘lehariya dupatta’ and decide to pursue her. Both of them try their luck at wooing her and decide to take turns. Omi goes upfront to her home but is mistaken for someone else and scoots from the scene. Jai tries a more innovative approach and poses as the relative of a filmmaker scouting for fresh faces.
They’re dejected by the response but too overcome by ego to tell the truth to their friends. So both come and recount their tales (seen in a flashback mode) pretending to have scored with the girl. The girl in question, Seema ( Deepti Naval), is a student of classical music prone to singing to herself while walking or waiting at the bus-stop.
In one of the film’s most hilarious scenes, we see her practicing the song ‘Kaali Ghodi’ much to the amusement of the others at the bus-stop, even as our hero Siddharth (Farooq Sheikh) arrives on a kaali ghodi (black bike) of his own to pick her up. For the other waiting at the stop and watching the drama, it’s entertainment unlimited.
And what to say of the iconic Chamko scene with Siddharth and Seema—pure cinema gold. Another favourite of this writer is the two lovers sitting in a park and wondering how people in films suddenly begin to sing and dance. And then they begin to hear music too and begin dancing like in films, only to be laughed out by the kids in the garden!
Their romance develops over coffee and tutti-frutti ice-cream (the waiter is hilarious), even as Siddharth takes to fashion to impress her and Seema takes to reading economics.
The film is replete with superb lines like Siddharth breaking a good news to his friends with the words, ‘pehle muh to kadwa kar lo’, while offering them cigarettes. (One shudders to think of the number of statutory warnings against tobacco, had the film released in present time).
The restrained performances are worth savouring, and a far cry from the deafening tone of performances in the remake.
For Padma Bhushan and National award-winning director Sai Paranjpe who has spoken about her displeasure about the new version, it’s sweet revenge really that Chashme Buddoor original is releasing alongside its remake. We recommend you take a trip down this memory lane and revisit this classic. You won’t be disappointed!
Rating: Three and a half stars