In the comedy genre, situations, way of speaking, actions and characters bring humour to the films. Some of the early silent films of Indian cinema were also comedies. Comedy films generally have happy endings, one of the exceptions being black comedy. Unlike other film genres, comedies put special focus on individual stars with many former stand-up comedian transitions to the film industry due to their fame and popularity. It is seen that many comic films have light hearted stories with a single motto to amuse, and there are other films as well which contain social and political commentary.
Types of Comedy in Indian Cinema
The comic genre is considered as the oldest film genre. There are many types of comedy that have been prevalent in Indian cinema. Slapstick comedy, parody, dark comedy and romantic comedy genre are popular in India. Slapstick is a popular and old form of comedy in Indian cinema, invoking laughter through practical situations and jokes. Dark comedy deals with taboo subjects, which include death, murder, suicide, war and sexual relations in a satirical manner. Spoof or parody films deal with comedy that satirizes other film genres or classic films.
Indian Actors in Comic Genre
In the past, comedy was mostly a part of films of other genres. Actors and actresses have tried their hands in this medium and have been successful. One of the most remembered comedy films is ‘Padosan’, starring Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu, Kishore Kumar and Mehmood. Later films like ‘Golmaal’, ‘Chhoti Si Baat’ and ‘Khoobsoorat’ made this genre quite popular. Humour was no longer used as comic relief but it had established itself as an independent genre in the Indian film industry. Noted actors like Amitabh Bachchan also explored the genre with films like ‘Chupke Chupke’, ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ and ‘Namak Halaal’.
With time, the definition of comedians changed. The genre grew as one of the prominent genres of commercial cinema with leading actors of the industry signing up for such out and out comedy films. From veteran actors like Amol Palekar, Rekha, Moushumi Chatterjee, Kamal Haasan, Paresh Rawal, Kader Khan, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Hema Malini and Sridevi to the contemporary ones like Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Rani Mukerji, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Govinda and Karisma Kapoor have all successfully experimented their hand in the genre. Utpal Dutta remains one of the timeless actors who had made humour talk of the town. Some of the popular faces in South Indian comedy films are Vivek, Santhanam, Ali and many others.
Indian Directors and Films in Comic Genre
The films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee had redefined humour to an all new degree. Contemporary film directors like David Dhawan and Priyadarshan brought back the comic genre prominently. Most of Dhawan's films have featured Govinda, Salman Khan and Karisma Kapoor in the lead. Termed slapstick comedies, his films went on to be immensely accepted and appreciated by the audience. ‘Haseena Maan Jayegi’, ‘Jodi No. 1’, ‘Hero No.1’, ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’, ‘Partner’ are some of the most popular films by David Dhawan. Priyadarshan is one of the most popular and versatile directors in Indian cinema. He has made films in several languages and genres. His first Hindi comedy film was ‘Muskurahat’ with Amrish Puri and Revathy. His later films were ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Hungama’, ‘Hulchul’, ‘Phir Hera Pheri’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’, ‘Garam Masala’ and others. In the recent times, there have been films which belong to the dark comedy and parody genres. Aamir Khan-produced ‘Delhi Belly’ is a prime example of this. ‘Deya Neya’, ‘Shaare Chuattor’, ‘Ogo Bodhu Sundari’, ‘Chaddobeshi’, ‘Golpo Holeo Sotti’ and ‘Dhonnyi Meye’ are some of the popular comic Bengali films. ‘Ashi Hi Banawabanawi’, ‘Pachadlela’, ‘Shejari-Shejari’ are some of the Marathi comedies.