Sunday, October 8, 2017

Kundan Shah - Enough for a Lifetime

The obituaries being written about Kundan Shah somehow make it sound like he began well but then he never really lived up to his initial success. Which to me is a completely wrong assessment of him and his work. For someone who gave us 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron', a movie I would watch any day any number of times, I feel he has done more than enough for a lifetime.

In fact while at a birthday party yesterday we were joking about D'Mello's character talking about how to deal with the cake - aadha kaho and aadha pheko. Or the other line - vilayat mein peene ka paani alag and gutter ka paani alag. Or just naming the characters on all the members of the crew - Vinod (Vidhu Vinod Chopra), Sudhir (Sudhir Mishra)...and the unforgettable Shobha ji, Tarneja, Ahuja and Priya.

Someone who gave us 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa' which still ranks among one of the favorite films to watch. Or a TV series like 'Nukkad', or 'Wagle ki Duniya'. or 'Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi'. All one will be remembered is for one such work. Millions would die to have something like JBDY on their resume. Just for that one creation Kundan Shah will remain up there in the all time greats. But then he had all those others too - equally good - which is fabulous. Stuff you seriously want to own, to show your children, to share with your friends because it touches that nice part of you deeply.

Kundan Shah, thank you for the laughs, for aspiring to a simple, bumbling life you showed in your films, and for elevating comedy to a fine art, a kind and generous space where everyone can laugh together and not a space where everyone is laughing at one person. It is subtle, intelligent and warm. Not the loud, offensive and in-your-face lazy stuff we see these days.

Kundan Shah's body of work is worth tens of the forgettable hit makers. My top 5 film directors of all time.  

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