MY VIEW: 7 Icons of Hindi Comedy that make me Laugh on World Laughter Day and All Other Days

Nalin Rai celebrates World Laughter Day by recalling the iconic individuals, movies and television serials in Hindi which took comedy to new levels along the ages. From Kishore Kumar’s unique style to Jaane Bhi Do yaar’s amazing storyline, here are seven icons of Bollywood who never fail to make us laugh.

Famous Hindi writer Banarasi Dass Chaturvdi had written an epochal essay – Aadmi Khushi Khoj Lega – which was a part of the curriculum in Hindi for all of those who had passed out from Kendriya Vidyalayas, the central idea of the story being to instill in the students the importance of the ability to laugh through situations and also to wriggle out of tough situations through laughter.

Sadly enough, as we have progressed along in lives, so much of baggage has been accumulated in the process that we have forgotten to laugh and continue to maintain a frown or a scowl on the face.

Did you know that the idea of World Laughter Day originated from India and has gone on to become a world wide phenomenon, being celebrated every year on the first Sunday of May, right from 1978?

The inability to laugh is more manifest in the metropolitan cities and could be one of the reasons why cinema, whenever it has tried to capitalize on this aspect, has come winner hands down. And what could be more symptomatic of this than the humongous success of “Comedy Night With Kapil”, which made Kapil Sharma a super star overnight and each and every person worth his grain feels honored to share the stage with him?

kapil sharma


Focusing on the lack of laughter in our lives is what made Kapil Sharma a household name and catapulted him into the elite list of the richest Indians compiled by Forbes magazine. Focusing on laughter has made him a multi-billionaire and he still continues to roll on, primarily owing to the basic premise that one needs to make a clear distinction between fun and pun and when fun is underlined, money comes in the bargain.

Here we relive the aura of laughter through the iconic flag posts of laughter from the world of Hindi cinema. After all, ours has been the tradition of oral performances and there is no better medium to spread laughter than the medium of cinema.  in the form of a tribute either of individuals or the films per se:

1. Kishore Kumar



Through the scores of films, with Padosan being the most iconic of them all, Kishore Kumar underlined why he was the one point source of laughter when it came to cinematic performance – be it either through his voice or through his acting. The legacy and the range of performance that he had still evokes laughter whenever this film is telecast and generations continue to be enthralled by the performance led by Kishore Kumar but in no lesser way backed up by ably scintillating performances from Mehmood, Mukri, Keshto Mukherjee, etc.

2. Johnny Walker



Born as Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi, from the era of black and white cinema to Naya Daur, when street smart comedy was the requirement of the hour, Johnny Walker was the answer and either through Sar jo tera chakraye or Aie Dil hai Mushkil jeena yahan or Main Bambai ka Babu, he tickles the heart in a sweet way. As a matter of fact Johnny Walker could perhaps be the only film star on whom 2 iconic songs underlining the carefree nature of the city of Bombay aka Mumbai where filmed – Aie dil hai mushkil from CID, and Main Bambaee ka Babu from Naya Daur. What also needs to be underlined here is the fact that were it not for the iconic voice of Mohammed Rafi, perhaps Johnny Walker may not have become a legend after all in comedy.

3. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron


In the chronicle of cult films that evoke humor, Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron indeed stands out as a milestone, as right from the start of the film till the end, it is shot through and through with wry humor, each of the stars of the film contributing to the quotient of humor in their own way. JBDY also has the unique distinction of being compiled into a book later on, a rarity in the world of Hindi cinema. It was a roaring success as it underlined the catharsis that the urban society was entering into, and it was a watershed as it was an out and out urban comedy that capitalized and thrived on situations.

4. Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi


Before the advent of satellite television, this serial was a regular fixture in the lives of average Indians when Doordarshan used to rule roost. Though it made its debut more than 30 years ago, the kind of laughter its memories still evoke is a feat which no other serial afterwards has been able to match till date.

5. Chashme Baddoor


Another gem from the past, with stellar performances from Farooq Sheikh, Ravi Baswani, etc., is a saga that appears as a part of our life and therefore is remembered with fondness.

6. Namak Halaal


Amitabh Bachchan’s transformation from an angry young man to an actor with a superb sense of comedy found its apogee in this cult film of Hindi cinema, where his narration of the way he tears apart the nuances of English language, using the rustic Haryanvi as the tone in a dead pan manner, is a movie that has the ability to bring about a hearty laugh whenever it is telecast.

7. 3 Idiots & PK


Comedy, whose process of transformation was initiated through Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron by its ability to invoke laughter, found its manifestation through 3 Idiots and PK, which were able to question age-old beliefs and put most issues under the scanner in a humorous way, bringing smiles on people’s faces.

As a matter of fact, the examples that have been picked up have been those which in one way or the other, questioned the blind worship and continuum of the processes in a humorous manner and have sort of goaded the average Indian citizens to be rational in their approach to life. When we have stopped laughing from the stomach, as they say, may be we need to revisit few of these examples as they would help in mitigating the situations of stress through which we may be passing through, and this indeed would be the ultimate acknowledgement of the effort to celebrate this day, the World Laughter Day.

– Nalin Rai

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About the author: Nalin Rai is a development professional who likes to bring to relief the development initiatives happening on their own in the moffusil parts of India and bring them into mainstream.

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