Light Comedy, a dominating aspect of a wider genre of ‘Middle Cinema’ was something of a specialty of ‘The Great Director’ Hrishi Da. He introduced it with ‘Buddha Mil Gaya’, then augmented it with ‘Chupke Chupke’, and finally presented it with its ‘Vishwaroop Darshan’, which we know as ‘Gol Maal’.
An immortalized comedy of perpetrated goof-up to secure a job, Gol Maal, like all other Hrishi Da’s films, displays the resonance of the naive yet shrewd Indian middle class. The recently graduated CA, Ramprasad Dashrathprasad Sharma, gets an unusually well paying job at Bhawani Shankar’s firm. The only hitch is that he has to pretend to be someone he isn’t – an uninteresting, socially inept, and disproportionately religious dork, to please his conservative boss. An unfortunate coincidence exposes his secret, to cover-up which he creates another lie, on the revelation of which he produces the third lie, then the fourth one, and the series of lies keeps getting longer and longer like Hanuman’s tail.
The credit for Gol Maal’s success sure goes to Hrishi Da, but he isn’t the only one. The equal shareholders of the success are the actors #AmolPalekar, #UtpalDutt, #DinaPathak, #OmPrakash, #KeshtoMukherjee, and all others, as well as the story by #ShaileshDey, screenplay by #SachinBhowmick, dialogues by #RahiMasoomRaza, and music by #RDBurman. Just like Sholay, there is not a single aspect of this film that hasn’t become iconic – Bade Babu plucking his nose hairs while a secretary looks on in disgust, Ramprasad’s loving and innocent sister Ratna, Bhawani Shankar’s simpleton sister Kalinidi, absolute darling Dina Pathak trying to squeeze in through the kitchen window, the adorably drunk Keshto Mukharjee spilling alcohol on the prudish Bhawani Shankar, the goofy police inspector, or the fun cameos by the absolute biggies of the Indian cinema. Every dialogue, every expression, every reaction, and absolute everything has been engraved on our minds. The moment we think of the film, its bits start playing at the back of our mind – it’s either Ramprasad entering the house while saying, ”Maaaaaa” in a voice that can only be explained with the imagery of gooey, sticky, and over-sweetened roshogulla; or it is the high pitched “Eeeeessssshhh” coming from the ever rumbling Bhawani Shankar.
It is for these and numerous many more such reasons Gol Maal has come to be considered as one of the finest comedies of Indian cinema. It has been remade into regional languages multiple times, it has been watched over and over throughout all these years, and it ranks at the top spot even today as the ‘must watch films’. Quite rightfully the film was the mega hit of the year 1979 when it was released and bagged maximum awards at the Filmfare the same year.
We couldn’t be thankful enough to Hrishi Da for giving us all the films that he gave, but Gol Maal especially reserves the special place in our hearts and will always continue to do so.