The story of Golmaal opens with a vivacious young man, Ramprasad Dashrathprasad Sharma (Amol Palekar) who is looking for a job. He has a sister to take care of. He spends his time with his friends and completely enjoys himself like any other young man of his age. A family friend (David) asks him to meet his friend Bhavani Shankar (Utpal Dutt) who is looking for a chartered accountant for his own office. However he advises Ramprasad to be careful as Bhavani Shankar strictly believes in traditions and is a no nonsense man.
To ensure that he gets the job Ram dresses like an old fashioned man and sets out to seek the job. At first Bhavani Shankar is skeptical about the man who wears an excessively short kurta pajama but gradually starts liking him. But one thing that really impresses Bhavani Shankar is Ram's moustache. The boss has a fascination for Indian values and especially moustache. Bhavani Shankar strongly believes that a moustache represents the character of a man. Audiences familiar with Sukumar Ray's poems will be promptly reminded of 'Gofchuri' (from the collection 'Aabol Taabol'). Moreover Ram fakes ignorance about contemporary films, western music and sports as well. Bhavani Shankar is impressed and Ram gets the job.
Problems crop up when he is spotted by Bhavani Shankar in a football game wearing casuals and cheering gaily at the top of his voice. As he enters the office Bhavani Shankar confronts him. In order to save his skin he cooks up a story and says that it is his twin brother Lakshman Prasad who is a spoilt brat. One lie leads to the other and Ram is completely in a fix when Bhavani Shankar decides that he ahs a job for Lakshman too. Forced to save his job Ram gets his moustache and plays the role of the diffident Lucky aka Lakshman Prasad. The young man is engaged to teach music to Bhavani Shankar's only daughter, Urmila.
With the help of his actor friend (Deven Verma) he arranges for a fake moustache and spirit gum. With one man playing both the roles the Golmaal or the confusion ensues. The poor man runs from pillar to post to live up to his lies. Adding to his woes he also adds that he has a widowed mother. He again has to run to his actor friend to arrange for a mother. After much persuasion they finally convince Mrs Srivastav (Dina Pathak), a socialite to enact the role of their mother.
On the other hand Urmila grows fond of Lucky and falls in love with him while she dislikes Ramprasad, her philosophy teacher. Even she is in the dark about the identity of both these men. Towards the end of the movie a huge commotion arises and Bhavani Shankar considers Lucky to be the killer of his own brother. The entire comedy of errors is settled and the film ends with Bhavani Shankar readily accepting Ram as he is and even gets rid of his own moustache!
The film is funny to the core. Golmaal will send the audiences into peels of laughter. The magic of the film lies in the fact that no matter how many times one watches it Golmaal never grows old. It is a timeless classic by Hrisikesh Mukherjee. Every actor has the brilliant gift of making the audiences laugh and Golmaal is pure humour. There is nothing remotely slapstick about the film.
The scenes between Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutta are outrageously funny. Shobha Khote in the role of Bhavani Shankar's role is a treat to watch. Another noticeable thing about the star cast of Golmaal is that almost all of its lead actors belong to serious cinema: Amol Palekar, Utpal Dutta and Dina Pathak. But Golmaal presented them in complete contrasting roles. Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutta were rewarded with the Filmfare Awards for their outstanding performances. Bindiya Goswami too matches the élan of the other two senior actors. Deven Verma is as usual funny in his short role. Dina Pathak's spontaneity adds to the magic of Golmaal.
The songs are difficult to forget. Whether it is the funny title track, 'Golmaal hain bhai sab golmaal hain' or the romantic number sung by Kishore Kumar, 'Aanewala pal jaane wala hain,' they are hummed even today.
Awards received by Golmaal are as follows:
Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Amol Palekar
Filmfare Award for Best Comedian - Utpal Dutt
Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist - Gulzar for the song "Aanewala Pal"