As Andaz Apna Apna completes 20 years and comes up for re-release this month, we reminisce while film experts like Anupama Chopra, Rajeev Masand and even 'Gogoji' himself, tell bpb why the movie gathered so many groupies.
In a game of word association, we say ‘sari’ you say ‘blouse’, we say ‘ghagra’ you think ‘Gogo’? Then you’re probably a kid who grew up in the 90s, and whether Bollywood featured in your entertainment catalogue or not, you’ve watched Andaz Apna Apna (AAA) enough number of times to quote directly from Crime Master Gogo and gang, and you understand why twenty years later, the Internet’s heart still flutters when someone Googles the film.
Now as Andaz Apna Apna completes two decades, its director Rajkumar Santoshi plans to re-release the film in movie theatres this month, resurrecting laughs and lunacy, football matches re-imagined with Rooh Afza glasses and really, really bad wardrobe choices.
“The film had many firsts - the pairing of Aamir and Salman, Paresh Rawal in a double role, music that actually progressed the plot and the impeccable casting. But apart from all of that, and despite the fact that the film tanked at the box office, you still go back to Andaz Apna Apna for its skillful lunacy. Nothing about it feels forced or practised."
As we wait for re-release dates to be announced (we’re rounding up a motley crew of cousins – hello S, R & R! - who used to watch it together), hundreds of listicles surface on 50 Best AAA Dialogues or the Toughest AAA Quiz Ever with multiple exclamation points. We browse, wondering what made the film, which didn’t do too well at the box office at the time of release, gain such a cult following with groupies mouthing dialogues. “It’s almost impossible to figure out exactly why magic happens. It’s a certain alchemy you can’t deconstruct,” film critic and author Anupama Chopra told bpb, who has been spending parts of the last month wondering the same thing, even trying to get the cast of the film to reunite on her show. “It’s so easy to do bad nonsense comedy, but it’s very tough to achieve good nonsense cinema,” she continues.
Other experts in the film and funny business agree that while the film has its (many) slapstick moments, it has its share of smarts too. Stand up comic and actor Varun Thakur says, “It takes a certain kind of genius that makes you believe, even if for a few hours, that Teja, Amar, Prem and Crime Master Gogo are actual characters that exist in our world. It’s ridiculous, because you know they can’t exist, but it’s all so entirely believable.”
Reminded of the senseless scene of Amar (Aamir Khan) inaugurating a jail cell while cutting a ribbon with an audience of applauding police officers, our chat with critic and journalist Rajeev Masand makes even more sense. “The film had many firsts - the pairing of Aamir and Salman, Paresh Rawal in a double role, music that actually progressed the plot and the impeccable casting. But apart from all of that, and despite the fact that the film tanked at the box office, you still go back to Andaz Apna Apna for its skillful lunacy. Nothing about it feels forced or practised."
Watching it for the millionth time for this article, we giggle uncontrollably at the thought of hefty ransoms being paid off in coins, eyeballs being used for a game of marbles, Teja’s ‘mark’ and Robert’s ‘galti se mistake’.
“You can’t help but smile when you talk about the film. It’s a catalyst for conversation,” says writer and filmmaker Kumar Devanshu. “It’s a textbook of sorts for filmmakers to return to, and be reminded of how taking a risk is always worth it.”
And then there’s that ghagra (actually a cape) in the film, fleeting but not forgettable. Actor Shakti Kapoor aka Crime Master Gogo and proprietor of said ghagra told us that he only shot for eight days for Andaz Apna Apna, but has proved that the length of the role (or in this case cape) doesn’t matter. “Crime Master Gogo went on to become one of the most iconic characters of Bollywood. With the re release, the producer even mentioned that along with the Aamir and Salman posters, there would be separate ones just for Gogo,” says Mr Kapoor who wasn’t originally supposed to play the role, but accommodated the schedule and "stayed up nights just to be a part of the film.”
Yes, there’s been talk of a remake but fans are skeptical and cast members like Shakti Kapoor wonder if “they will be able to recreate the magic of the original.” Probably not. There’s no illusionist with a top hat, but they do have a Rabbit and Bhalla.
Getting There: Andaz Apna Apna finishes twenty years in 2014 and will be re-released in cinemas this month.
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