05 June 2006

Comedy in Movies

"A joke is all about timing..You miss one and you messed the other."

Humor is one serious business.. very serious indeed.. so serious that a recent statistic yells that almost 80% of the women looking out for a date want a Humorous person. Now I guess you understand how serious it is..Not to be left behind in the chick-race, I tried my hand at humor. Not that I enjoy making fun of every little happening around, but you see, when its a matter of wife and then life..your opinion hardly matters. That's when I realised being funny is not all that funny. I turned to movies for help, and here I found a pattern between jokes and its audience.

Seems like food, Sense of Humor, also has a regional flavour. As much as the content of the joke matters, so does the geography of the audience. My Telugu speaking friends generally like jokes on characterization. They generally enjoy things which exaggerate a persons character or mannerism. Telugu movies also follow this trend, and have a comedy track along these lines, be it gag on a person who's obsessed with 30-day learning courses or a person who's crazy about singing (terribly), a fat person who's intent on eating more and more or a lean guy who gets blown away by wind. They are mostly repetitive, i.e the same dialogue / scene gets repeated regularly and it is this repeatition that aims to be funny. Be it the old Telugu movies which their equivalents of Laurrel and Hardy in Ramana Reddy and Relangi - the later anyday better than the former - or the the more recent movies of Jandhyala or Rajendra Prasad, the comedy is mostly in the style of dialogue delivery and the extreme mannerisms.

My Tamil speaking friends on the otherhand enjoy a different kind of humor.Their humor is mostly quick-witted or plain insulting. Their movies also keep up with them. A lot of those jokes are between 2 people, one making a fool of other. They jokes are usually cleverly-worded and some of their good comedy movies use lot of puns for the fun. Some of their other jokes I heard were like abusing the clown of the show which where downright degrading. If Nagesh's movies (one of my faviourite Tamil comedian) were funny becoz of his antics and timings, today's comedians like Senthil or Vadivel depend on insults to humor, But my Tamil speaking friends enjoyed them. Even when 2 tamilians speak, they usually mince no words in belittling each other, and all in good spirit. And neither of them seems to mind it. But my Telugu speaking friends are taken aback by this and feel that Tamilian humor is crass. And some of my Tamilian friends think that Telugu jokes are overdrawn and repetitive.

Kannada jokes are between these 2 extremes. As their current movies mostly are a rip off from either a Tamil movie or a Telugu one, their comic sense also seems to stem from both. But if you care to watch the older movies, like Ananthnag's movies or the Ganesha series, they have a very subtle kind of humor. Its neither obvious nor absent. If you want an example, watch the "Swamy and Friends" directed by Shankar Nag. It shows the quitessential Kannada Humor. Jokes are not intentionally put, but the lighter vein runs throughout the narrative.

Hindi movies entertain a lot more diverse group than the southern regional films, and so its humor also falls in many categories. Though I am not a fan of Govinda and his high-pitched, loud-mouthed blabbering, there are quite a few who'll laugh at reruns of his movies. Two of Hindi's all time comic hits 'Jaane bhi do yaaron' and 'Andaz Apna Apna' banked of quick-wit and stupidity for humor. And Priyadarshan (HeraPheri / Hulchul) today is remaking old Tamil and Malayalam comedies for that quick buck. Most of today's highly successful Hindi movies are either quick-witted or dumb-witted. But I have seen very few Hindi movies to think of a pattern.

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