Haaye Allah, Ooi Maa, it's Andaz Apna Apna!

Few comedies are widely regarded as being the best from a decade (hence among the best of all time) as Andaz Apna Apna (1994), which is a cult film if there ever were one belonging to the genre. Aptly named (the title means 'to each his own [mannerism]'), it aimed to entertain from the very first frame to the very last, and succeeded overwhelmingly in so doing. The Rajkumar Santoshi film starred Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Mehmood, Deven Verma, Viju Khote, Shahzad Khan, and others, had music by Tushar Bhatia, and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri.

Two young men Amar (Aamir Khan) and Prem (Salman Khan) con their fathers (veterans Deven Verma and Jagdeep respectively) to finance trips to win over a wealthy businessman's daughter Raveena (Raveena Tandon), who visits India in search for an ideal match. Why India and Indians? Here's one answer:

Raveena is joined by her assistant Karishma (Karisma Kapoor). They embark on their quest, as do Amar and Prem, whose first meeting involves Prem's iconic Ooi Maa:

Aside: If you've ever wondered why my mentions of Juhi Chawla are almost always accompanied by Haaye Allah ('oh God', or a variant of the phrase). :o)

Amar and Prem exchanged pleasantries (or lack thereof) on the way to their destination (it's hard to beat these lines -- I like the second one, 'circus ka retired bandar', sorry Aamir!)...

...but eventually agreed to a peaceful but fair bout to win over Raveena. Things got complicated thanks to a fundamental lie, bodyguards, a stubborn father, a greedy villain, a twin, and a villain who believed he was part pirate and part superhero!

These elements meant that a high drama quotient complete with twists was inherent. Given that they were combined well, and that it was all very intentional, what followed was nothing short of fantastic, unadulterated, clean comedy. For fear of playing spoiler, here are just ten highlights to illustrate the tremendous scope of the screenplay. I don't think I could do anything to give much away, though -- the film must be experienced to be appreciated. None is kidding when suggesting that every scene is hilarious. Sample these:

1. A quasi-ode to friendship:

2. An encounter with the police:

3. A friendly fight with a reference to a popular ingredient of masala film...

...leading to reminders of episodes of the Ramayan TV series!

4. Amar and Prem the magistrates:

5. Vegetables as handkerchiefs. Honorable mention to Javed Khan (left), who played Ram Singh in Lagaan (2001).

6. A classic buildup to a song -- Ae Lo Ji Sanam (see it here) -- an excellent tune. Am I the only one who thinks the song has 1960s or 1970s written all over it?

7. A classic song in Dil Mera Dhak Dhak Dole (see it here), probably the closest Bollywood has come to an authentic pajama party number. Amar and Raveena were at their finest...

...Prem and Karishma were at it too...

...oh, and so were the bad guys!

8. Crime Master Gogo (Shakti Kapoor), who introduced himself as Mogambo's (Amrish Puri from Mr. India (1987)) nephew was the inexplicable highlight.

9. Paresh Rawal was brilliant in a double role, as Raveena's father and uncle. One a greedy villain, the other a strict administrator.

10. And finally, there was this. Man must not only win over woman, but must, of course, convince her parent(s) of his worth.

Aamir Khan and Salman Khan were perfectly cast, and in retrospect, it's difficult to imagine anyone else in their shoes. If you've ever liked any film with either, consider this mandatory viewing. They were supported extremely well by Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor. The rest of the supporting cast was excellent as well, and ensured that the overall product was nothing short of entertaining.

The film was packed with references to the film fraternity and contained noteworthy guest appearances (Haaye Allah!). There were umpteen references to elements from Indian pop culture, e.g. Crime Master Gogo's hilarious dialogue involving Mr. Bajaj, sung to the tune of a popular commercial for a motorcycle brand of the same name. Or Mr. Bajaj's punctuality related to a brand of timepieces. They were very effective when placed in context.

Having said that, this is also why I think the film doesn't translate very well across cultures. Aamir's Haaye Allah probably wouldn't be as funny if it didn't remind one of an aunt or neighbor who uses the term often, and Salman's Ooi Maa wouldn't be as funny if it didn't remind one of that annoying kid in the park. Subtitles (which were hardly spot on any way) can only capture so much. I don't think this means someone who does not speak Hindi or has never lived in India would not enjoy several portions. I'd just understand if they didn't find it as funny. If you've seen the film, I'd love to know what you think of this.

Andaz Apna Apna is a genuinely well-crafted comedy that hammered away at its mission. When a father yelled at his son, it was to make us laugh. When a villain aimed at a target, it was to make us laugh. When someone was kidnapped, it was to make us laugh. And these efforts resulted in a film that was by every definition a laugh riot, induced by all the silliness that accompanies a nonsensical comedy which is amazingly self-aware and free of tasteless humor.

It is the kind of film that works well in most settings, and has retained its appeal for 15 years now. The jokes get funnier with repeat viewings. Surprisingly, there is more to appreciate each time. Never mind the production values (especially the cinematography and sets, the wardrobe added to the funniness) took a backseat to the acting, dialogue, screenplay, and music. The script was not extraordinary, but the actors buying into it so convincingly was key to their performances, which made the film one for the ages. I highly recommend you see it. For all the nonsensical comedy it contains (which more often than not requires the taking off of thinking caps), it is delightfully intelligent!

Movie rating: 4.75/5 (Best in class!)

My classification: PG (for guns that often don't have bullets!)

Music rating: 3.75/5 (Very good, perfectly integrated)

And finally
If you've visited the Aamir and Salman blogs, you'll know this film truly brought the fan bases of the two together. We cannot get enough of it. That was then...

...and this is now (well, almost; see below):

A sequel?
There were rumors recently (big enough to be picked up by the British Broadcasting Company here) of there being a sequel to this starring the two. The actors have since denied this happening any time soon, but acknowledged at Salman's 10 Ka Dum that fans' continuous insistence might just pay dividends. Continuous it'll always be, gentlemen! If you haven't yet seen the game show episode featuring Aamir, here it is. They enter to a song from the film, their dialogue is from here too. Fun! None of Aamir, Salman, or Raveena have denied interest in a sequel, and all I've heard from Aamir is that it might take a year for Rajkumar Santoshi to even come up with a script for them to review.

Oh, and in case you feel I haven't discussed much of the brilliance of the stunning Raveena Tandon and fabulous Karisma Kapoor (it's all deliberate, you'll know why when you see the film), you are allowed to point fingers ;)

You can also play along with the cast in *your* andaz, and watch in amazement and amusement!

PS: Does anyone know when Salman was nicknamed 'Style bhai'? Was there any correlation with the title to this film?


Pitu said...

YAYYY! Fabulous write-up on one of my all time fave movies and my fave comedy bar none!!Awesome screencaps too! Some of my fave scenes are-

1) Choodiyon ki dukaan (Aamir-Deven Verma) Aap Aa Aa karenge wo Ui Ui karengi :-D

2) Pocketmaat tera mooh kala :-D

3) Ghode ki dawaii- Sallu ke pet mein dard ;-)

4) Happy Birthday Rabbit. Rabbit nahi Robert. ;-)

5) Light ki kya zaroorat hai? Kisi ko kuchh dekhna dikhana hai kya??

6) Teja main hoon, mark idhar hai :-D

7) Lakhon hazaron omelette!

8) Lolo-Sallu's eyelash fluttering in overdrive!

9) Thode neeche se kudoongi, dard kam hoga ;-)

BTW the reason Ello Ji Sanam is so quaint is coz music diya hai O P Nayyar ne. He was the one who popularized the whole tangewala beat in that era so he was just reprising it in this film.

Yaar tune awesome film ki yaad dila di. Mereko to dialogs yaad hain. I must see it again soon!

veracious said...

I'm a non-Indian fan of this film. I found it absolutely hilarious on the first view and have seen a number of times now, loving it on every watch.

I guess it's the acting that sells me the jokes that might be cultural otherwise. I agree comedy can be cultural and I'm sure a lot of things would be funnier if I was Indian but generally the slapstick, the acting, and the film industry references were funny to me. In some ways I see the movie as a parody of a Bollywood movie, and that really makes it work for me, despite the comedy being loud.

I also love it stays like that to the end - it never tries to be a serious movie, even for a moment. Like I told a friend once, "when a character cries in AAA, they're trying to make you laugh, not cry along with them". That kind of sums up the movie. An all-out comedy, and a great one at that.

Thanks for the making of clips, I'll go watch them now. :)

Anonymous said...

I really need to watch this again; it was one of the first Hindi films I ever saw and I probably didn't have the same appreciation for it then that I would now (although I did like it, then, but don't remembering finding it hilarious). Fingers crossed for a sequel!

Nicki said...

Thanks for the memories. It's been a while since I seen the movie! It was so great to see Aamir and Salman side-by-side again too. Lolo and Rav's fashion sense was a laughter for me just now. WTH? But AAA is definitely one of my all-time fave comedies.

Anonymous said...

Adab! I'll add this to my list theBollywoodFan. Now that I know that,"there were umpteen references to elements from Indian pop culture," that may make it a bit confusing for someone like me, I'll at least have this post for some crib notes. :)
Looks like a must see.
All the best,

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Hi Pitu: Your favorite scenes are all very, very funny! Thanks for sharing. How about this one to round it off at 10? Sir, yeh Vasco da Gama ki gun hai. Sir: Kis ke mama ki gun hai? :D The bit with Mehmood was a lot of fun too!

As for Aello Ji Sanam, I do agree that Tushar Bhatia's music to it was probably meant as a tribute to O. P. Nayyar (unless Nayyar provided the music to this one song himself, of which I'm unaware). When I saw Kashmir Ki Kali, I thought of the song in particular. The initial disguise, colors, the wardrobe, the choreography, the chorus, the supporting actors, about everything in the song seems to be a tribute to Kashmir Ki Kali and O. P. Nayyar!

Hi Veracious, welcome, and thank you very much for your comment! It is a great parody of a Bollywood movie, and I particularly enjoyed your description as follows: "when a character cries in AAA, they're trying to make you laugh, not cry along with them". Well said!

Hi Memsaab: It'd be great to know your thoughts now that you could probably relate to it so much better. And a sequel would be unbelievable. I'd bet all the talk of this having not done well at the box office, which is one of a rumor myth, or mystery, would be dismissed. And I'd hope it'd star Raveena and Karisma too -- they're all perfect for the role!

Hi Nicki: They've been very good friends for a long time now. And they were both great in this -- I tried to have the same number of screenshots with them :)

The wardrobe for Lolo and Ravs might have been very intentional (it only added to the comedy), and with a high WTH quotient, yes! AAA deserves to be in an all-time favorite comedies list.

Adab Sita-ji! I'd love to hear your take on this. You'll find plenty to discuss in your review! ;) As Veracious says, it's the acting that makes this work so well. Just see them all so into their roles, at the very least, is a treat.


Anonymous said...

I love this film exactly for the same reasons as veracious. Its such a brilliant parody of 70s masala and never gets serious - not even for a second!

The Ae lo ji number is a direct lift of an old O. P. Nayyar song Banda parvar thaam lo jigar from Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon right down to locations, costumes and choreography, with just the lyrics, singers (and of course) actors different!

And the Bajaj reference - Humara Bajaj - referred to the ad for India's then most popular family transport - the Bajaj scooter. The Kawasaki Bajaj motorbike was serenaded quite differently (dont remember the ad for it).

Rum said...

lolol I adore this movie, it rocks! though i did notice the far to obvious sexual imagery of aamir pajama hat going up and down when singing with raveena! all i could think was "batameez!" but then again govinda was vulgar in those days too!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

I am pretty certain that "Ae Lo Ji Sanam' was largely inspired from "Phir wohi dil laya hoon", even down to the song choreography.

Gosh I love this movie- Sallu almost relicated its greatness w/ Judwa, but 2 Salmans cant make up for 1 Salman + 1 Amir :)

Anonymous said...

Good review with nice videos. I love this film, especially the word oie maa,!

I have watched this film more than 50 times, but still can't get enough.

Pitu said...

Haha you mean Wah Wah Productions? Yup, Mehmood was hilarious in that. BTW he reprised his role in the old movie Pyar Kiye Ja in AAA. In Pyar Kiye Ja also he played a film director who names his banner Wah Wah Productions. One of my fave scenes in Pyar Kiye Ja is when Mehmood describes the following scene from his upcoming film-

"hero ko baap ne ghar se nikal diya. wo bechara gali se ja raha tha to ek kutte ne use dekha aur use dekhakar kutte ki ankhon mein aasoo aa gaye. kyunki us kutte ko dus saal pehle hero ne biscuit khilaye the. special directorial touch ye hai ke kutte ki ankhon ke closeup shot ke baad baarish hone lagti hai, kyunki duniya bhar ke kutte ro rahe hain" :-D

BTW O P Nayyar did compose music for Ello Ji Sanam. See this link-

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi all, and thank you for your comments!

Bollyviewer: That Bajaj scooter commercial was so iconic, wasn't it? And rather patriotic too. Humaara kal, hamaara aaj; Buland Bhaarat ki buland tasveer; Hamara Bajaj! I remember it from the Wagle Ki Duniya days (I think it was around then, oh well) :)

Bollyviewer and Shweta: Thank you so much for sharing 'Banda parvar thaam lo jigar' -- what a tribute! Even the lyrics imply a response of sorts, that's great!

Shweta: Ditto to that equation! I'll hope to check out Judwaa soon!

Rum: AAA rocks, that says it all! The hat, I can dismiss as a reference to a heart beat ('dhak dhak dole') ;) Assuming it wasn't that, it was subtle enough. In my humble opinion, it would be a disservice to the film and to Govinda to compare any portion of it to the kind of (cheap in many cases, frankly) humor the latter resorted to in the 1990s, which was disappointing, because he is a very good actor :'( Then again, as the title suggests, to each his own! :P

Saurabh: Glad to know you've enjoyed it that many times! I haven't been counting, but I'd estimate it's second only to Lagaan in my viewing history :) The Ooi Maas were a lot of fun, I especially like the one when entering the bus, and the one at the end of the song in #7 above. That's classic! I just laughed out loud again to it.

Pitu: That scene from Pyar Kiye Ja is *hilarious*, thanks for sharing! Duniya bhar ke kutte ro rahe hain, ROTFL...I'll have to see the film now.

The web seems to be divided over O. P. Nayyar and Andaz Apna Apna. In addition to the link you provided, I found this on Rediff that says that it was him. However, the opening credits in the film have Tushar Bhatia listed as the music director, and this biography (also on Rediff, the flip floppers! :P) had the following to say: Tusshar Bhatia doffed his hat at the veteran by composing in the Nayyar idiom in Andaaz Apna Apna's Elloji sanam hum aa gaye. Jo bhi hai, the song is great!

Cheers! Again, thank you all!

S said...

This one is one of my favorites...I have seen it so many times and still enjoy this movie every time I see it...

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Reviewer: Thank you for stopping by. It really is one of those films in which there's something new to appreciate with each viewing, which leaves us with a sentiment on the lines of, "and how did I miss that?"

dunkdaft said...

HEY, Thanks for stopping by my blog. there is some effect in rehman's songs that they sound great before watching the movie. after watching on screen, characters get stuck to those songs, so we cant imagine anything else.

andaz apna apna is ALL time great comedy to me. Aaila...is a tagline for Aamir.
So much hillarious was 'dil karta hai tere paas aaun' song. The Shammi kapoor effect. And that 'danda' at last raveena shoots at him.
And the other scene, where Sallu goes to loo again again.

BTW music of the movie is not by OP. as one comment is there. I forgot, but it is by a younger director.

I remember Juhi's cameo was so hot on those days. Everybody was talking, that look Juhi will come.
No sequel reqd for this please.
It shall be untouched.

And 'Stylebhai' was tagged after Maine Pyar Kiya, because of his Manly look over the movie. With cars, boxing and stuff like that.

Kanan said...

My my! whatta post!!!! it's been ages since I saw this one so my memory is very vague but I remember the Sallu stomach upset scene very vividly (lol) and Amar quarrelling wiht his father.

Btw, did you know? in Mere Mehboob, Johnny Walker frequently referred his love interest and Anwar's love interest as their "haaye allah".

I think in Ishq they tried to do something similar to this film but it didn't come any closer to this one.

I can't wait to go watch this one again now!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Darshit: That song with Aamir and Raveena was great! Hilarious, indeed. And Salman was great too.

The music, as noted above, was by Tushar Bhatia; because it was intended to sound so similar to O. P. Nayyar's work, it is easy to mistake it for his product. There seem to be many news outlets online that have incorrectly credited him with it.

I'd really like a sequel to this, but if and only if it will star Aamir, Salman, Raveena, and Karisma. One without the others would not be the same, and I think Rajkumar Santoshi knows that.

Juhi will always be great no matter the extent of her appearance, and the film! :)

And thanks for the note on 'Style bhai'. It makes sense; Maine Pyaar Kiya had so much, I really liked his jacket there!

Thanks for stopping by!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Kanan! Thank you for your comment, and glad you enjoyed the post. That scene with Salman is very popular, and Amar and his father were great (refer to Pitu's post above; it has some related dialogue, #1).

I haven't seen Mere Mehboob, now I know I should, and fast! Thanks for sharing that bit on 'Haaye Allah' :)

Agree with you on Ishq. Andaz Apna Apna is better in so many ways. Have fun watching it again! Cheers!

ajnabi said...

I'm so happy to read about this movie: it looks like it's right up my alley. :-) I'll definitely have to add it to the ever-growing queue. :-D

theBollywoodFan said...

I hope you enjoy it Ajnabi. Just buy into it, and there's no reason you won't! Do discuss it when you see it!

theBollywoodFan said...

All: I saw this on Aamir's blog today, in his own words. Thought you might find it interesting:

...a sequel to AAA would be great. But first a script has to be written which there is no sign of. Then both Salman I have to like it. So doesn't look like it is happening.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... means there is not even a single sign of a sequel. If they make a sequel, it would surely be a hit!

theBollywoodFan said...

I know, right! At least we have the actors saying (as Salman has said before too on his show, I think) that a sequel would be 'great'. Who knows...let's hope in perhaps three-four years?! :)


Anonymous said...

I found another good line "Main tau kehta hoon ki aap purush hi nahin hain... Aap tau mahapurush hain, mahapurush (I say that you are not even a man... you are superman!) Isn't it a funny line?

theBollywoodFan said...

Of course, Saurabh! That's still hilarious every time it is used! Good one.