If ever you feel down there is a good remedy, which can easily bring a smile back to your face. The title, Andaz Apna Apna and the result is laughs, and a lot of them. Released in 1994, Andaz Apna Apna did not fare too well at the box office probably because of its immediate release on video. However, the film definitely delivers the goods and surely ranks among one of the best comedy films in the 90ís and in the annals of Hindi cinema. It is arguably one of the best comedic films ever made in Bollywood history.
The simple story deals with the life of two men, Amar (Aamir Khan) and Prem (Salman Khan). Their intention is to get rich by taking all the short cuts in the book. Amar spends his time roaming in the neighborhood or quarreling with his father while Prem aspires to be an actor (heís too dumb to be one though). Amar is the son of an honest barber, Murli Manohar (Deven Varma) and Prem is the son of Bakelal Bhopali (Jagdeep), a hardworking tailor in Bhopal. Both Amar and Prem sell their fatherís shop and house respectively, and zero in on a hill station where a beautiful heiress Raveena (Raveena Tandon) has come from London accompanied by her friend cum secretary Karishma (Karisma Kapoor) with the intention of getting married to a virtuous Indian. The lucky man to wed Raveena will inherit her father Ram Gopal Bajajís (Paresh Rawal) entire wealth. Amar and Prem see themselves get rich quick and both woo Reveena, one by being a mentally disturbed individual and the other being a doctor, while each tries to outdo the other. Enter Teja (Paresh Rawal in a double role) whose sole ambition in life has been to grab his twin brother Ram Gopal Bajajís millions. So Teja plants Balla (Shehzad) and Robert (Viju Khote) in Raveenaís house to help him fulfil his ambition. As the story progresses, it turns out to be a mad chase for Ram Gopal Bajajís wealth, full of humour, romance, thrills and chills.
Raj Kumar Santoshi deserves a pat on his back for attempting an all out comedy film and for coming out of it with flying colours. The way the story was conceived and developed is applauseworthy. Itís not a complex story by any means but yet it manages to hold oneís attention from the beginning till the end. Santoshi throws in several humouristic situations in order to keep the viewer entertained. The use of action-based comedy rather than words-based enhances the beauty of the film. The film is bound to have Indian and non-Indian audiences laughing. Santoshi is at his best in the directing department. His handling of each scene with great care again deserves full mark. Some of them are real standouts and you feel that comedy doesnít get better than this. He is one intelligent director, as he really knows what he wants and constantly keeping in mind that the aim is to make the audience laugh. In other words, he tries to be the public himself and thatís proves to be a strong factor of his success. He keeps his mind focused on the actual plot without going overboard and changing routes as opposed to E.Niwas in Love Ke Liye Kucch Bhi Karega. His screenplay is very well executed. It is obviously difficult to write a good screenplay as far as a comedy film is concerned. However, he makes this task looks childís play as he brings the best out of some scenes. It can be easily noted that Santoshiís films all boast of excellent screenplays except for Barsaat, which was poorly written.
He also excels in the dialogue department. He, along with Dilip Shukla, does a tremendous job with the use of unique expressions (e.g. circus ka retired Bandar). Strangely enough, they also put in some real life facts (e.g. Aamir saying Jo Jeeta Woh Sikandar) or Aamir reminding Salman that his dad has written Sholay. The film also introduces something never witnessed by cinema before: shadow fighting. The idea was good but the execution by Tinu Verma wasnít exactly superb.
Editing by V.N Mayekar is good. The film moves at even pace, not too fast, not too slow and for once there isnít any scene that needs to be cut. The film doesnít focus too much on production values, which happen to be very poor. Sets are nice, not spectacular. Cinematography by Ishwar Bidri is ok. There are some nice shots of Ooty but they donít really contribute to the development of the story. Costumes arenít very appealing. Music by Tushar Bhatia (?) is a let down- they serve to no purpose in the movie. The numbers, which stand out, are ď Do MastaneĒ and ď Elo Elo Ji SanamĒ while the other tracks are forgettable. Lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri are well done. Choreography by Saroj Khan is just passable.
Aamir Khan is simply splendid as Amar. He gives a straight from the heart performance and shows his credibility in comic roles. He has a terrific screen presence and delivers his lines effortlessly. Itís sad that he wasnít awarded best comedian for this role, as he really deserves it. If a Govinda can win for a mediocre Haseena Maan Jayegi, why canít Aamir khan? It would be unfair to say that Aamir Khan completely overshadows Salman Khan. Although Aamir is better, Salman does manage to nick in and keep up with him. He was trying a comic role for the first time (if Iím not wrong) and heís simply fabulous. There are some scenes where he shows his excellence as a comedian. He shares terrific chemistry with Aamir and I wonder why they havenít done any more movies together. The actresses are somewhat neglected to the sidelines but they do play an essential role in the film. Karisma is good in a small role while Raveena tries hard to impress. However, I found the latter a bit raw and she has to work on her voice modulation-her dialogue delivery isnít all that. Shezad Khan (Ajitís son) is simply wonderful. His job in the film was to imitate his father and he succeeds well. His dialogue delivery is up par to his father. Viju Khote as Robert gets two thumbs up. I found him really funny and a natural comedian too. Shakti Kapoor as Crime Master Gogo is very good. For once, we have a villain who has some funny styles too. Tiku Talsania in a small role is ok. The stealer of the show got to be none other than Paresh Rawal. If you think that he was good in Hera Pheri, think over again. He excels as both Teja and Ram Gopal Bajaj. Itís as if youíre watching not one but two different persons. The whole cast scores a perfect 10.
There are still some small flaws in the movie. The motive of Raveenaís arrival in Indian was to look for a guy to marry but she hardly does so after Aamir has entered her house. She seems to concentrate more on Aamir more than anything else. The idea to kill Raveena in order to make her father come to India is somewhat far fetched. By showing all the wealth that the guy who marries her will inherit, itís clear that she will get a person whose eye will only be on her property. The script leaves little place for emotions and the characters are those you canít identify yourself with. Another fault lies in the character sketching of our heroes- they look too much like zeroes than heroes. The action scenes at the end of the movie were not needed.
Andaz Apna Apna is a superb entertainer. For a comedy film, it could not have been better. Watch it with your family and youíll love it to bits. The performances, direction, dialogues are all first class. Itís not a masterpiece but is not far from one.