Hrishi Da and Basu Da’s Classic comedies, like Gol Maal, Chhoti Si Baat, Baaton Baaton Mein, Khatta Meetha had one common thing – the quintessential Mumbai flavor. Just a dash of this Bambaiyya tang, and these films brought out the typical piquant and sweet-n-sour taste of Pani-Puri and Chowpaty Bhel.
Khosla Ka Ghosla is a movie that replaced this taste with that of a hot-n-spicy ‘Aaloo ka Paratha’ and brought out a different, a little heavier, taste. Mumbai flavor films were light, just like the nimble and tingling taste of tamarind, and gave us sweet little ‘feel good’ giggles; whereas this Delhi flavor film was stuffed with spicy potato and filled our hearts with thunderous laughter, just like a ‘filling’ paratha.
A very simple story of a middle class Delhi man, Kamal Kishore Khosla, whose life’s earning is put into buying a vacant plot to build a bigger house for his family. During one of the family’s ritualistic visits to the plot, they discover a land hungry, wealthy, immoral, and bully Kishan Khurana has usurped their plot. The rest of the story explores Khosla family’s comic endeavors to get back their land.
A huge portion of the movie’s success MUST BE credited to the originality of the story – consequently to the writer, Jaideep Sahni, who had written critically acclaimed films, Jungle, Company, and Bunty Aur Babli before he wrote Khosla Ka Ghosla. One of the few TOTALLY DEPENDABLE writers, Sahni is known to take substantial load off the director’s shoulders – quite a noteworthy quality! Even in this film he effortlessly explores the world of land mafia in India and the yearning of a middle class family for their own house.
Whether a writer makes his job easier or not, a director is a director. He can still make-or-break the film. His job can never be undermined, and in cases such as Khosla Ka Ghosla, undermining the director’s credit is a sheer sin. Dibakar Banerjee, in his directorial debut, showed this enormous understanding of what goes into making a comedy. A writer gives you a wonderful script in a caterpillar stage, but it’s a director’s job to metamorphose it into a beautiful butterfly. Banerjee must be given a 100% credit for his impeccable metamorphosis technique. I have a strong belief that any director, in his initial (read ‘raw’) stage delivers his/her most honest work. Banerjee has many years ahead of him to prove (or, to keep proving) that he is a gifted filmmaker, and let’s say Khosla Ka Ghosla was just the beginning of that.
The fruits of efforts of writer/director duo are evident in the form of definitive characterization, surrealistic situations in the realistic setting, immaculate interlacing of plots, staying true to the setting, and ingeniously crafted climax.
All this creative and structural artwork can abysmally turn futile if not fittingly supported by the actors – people who bring the characters alive on the screen. In this area too, Khosla Ka Ghosla scores phenomenally.
The total bliss of watching a movie (it’s my personal opinion) is when the actors don’t come across as who they actually are in their real lives, but come across as someone who they are pretending to be. In other words – when they do their job REALLY well. Both the leads, Anupam Kher and Boman Irani, throughout the film don’t remind us of Anupam Kher and Boman Irani, but keep spanning the screen as K.K. Khosla and Kishan Khurana. Do they bring their personal style? Yes, they do. However, their skill is evident in how they cover it (their style) under the guise of their distinct characters. It is this capability why they are such a darlings of the audience.
There has to be another special mention – Navin Nischol. He may have been a respected actor, active in the industry since 1970, in fact as a lead in many of his films; however it was not until the release of Khosla Ka Ghosla he was re-discovered by the newer generation. His performance proved why this wonderful actor deserved the gold medal he won in his FTII days. A down-on-luck, a common-Joe kind of a theatre actor who is referred to as ‘Bapu’ by his colleagues, who puffs bidi and is a pure antithesis to something we call a ‘class-act’, has to turn into a suave, Dubai-based, multi-millionaire ‘Mr. Sethi’ whose sheer charisma and class overpowers Khurana’s devious, deceptive, and domineering personality – an ABSOLUTE MOVIE-WATCHING ECSTASY! There! Utterly no more words needed to explain the value Navin Nischol brought to this film. He was the film’s irreplaceable element.
Khosla Ka Ghosla would definitely make a strong contender if we ever attempt to compile a list of top ten comedies of Hindi cinema.