I couldn’t believe it was him. The title read Hum To Mohabbat Karega (2000), the director’s name Kundan Shah – the only way I could console myself was it must have been someone else by the same name. That was the influence of Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994) on me. To be honest, I carry the same influence even today… so many years and movies older, so many layers of skin I may have had to shed. The magic still lingers. SRK always reminds Sunil to me. A cheerful un-hero, an everyday guy made of fun, family and lies, grows up in an instant of sudden spate of hormones. I had never seen a mediocre hero before, I don’t think I’ve seen afterwards too.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) was our cult classic while both I and the film were in our twenties. It was the only specimen we had with us to appreciate humor minus slapstick. It still remains a forerunner in the rarely populated world of dark satirical Hindi cinema… well, 35Y after the release. It’s tough to pick, but I can’t let go off the Mahabharata scene, and the “Thoda khao, thoda feko”, or the ‘gutter’ speech… and many more flock to me right now. That’s a mark of a classic anyway. I remember watching interviews on its making where the actors disclosed how difficult it was to shoot with the meager funds and how they fondly recalled giving the characters names scrambling their real names. What a dream team of cast and crew to bless a film… the cream of NSD/FTTI!
Kundan Shah passed away a few days back. My doubts on how and of course why he made HTMK faded soon after I left the theater. I didn’t find this question bothering me until I read an answer given by the wisest on this subject, the legend named Naseeruddin Shah.
“Kundan was one of the very few honest guys in that pretentious lot of the 1970s and 80s alternative filmmakers. He spent himself completely with Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro which is why he didn’t do anything close to it again. He will be missed.”
He seemed to have plans of making a sequel to it. That’d have been useful to a few including me. He denied me the right to gather a thorough answer to my query.
“It was a wonderful phase where we were all learning together.The last time I met Kundan was at a screening of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro at Nehru Centre a few years ago. He was working on putting a sequel together. I don’t know what happened, because I remember he mentioned to me that he wanted to change the script around. After him, the sequel will only remain a thought, I guess.” — Neena Gupta