In the 1980s, an unheralded Hindi movie, made on a budget of less than Rs 7 lakh, went from a quiet showing at the box office to developing a reputation as India's definitive black comedy. Some of the country's finest theatre and film talents - all at key stages in their careers - participated in its creation, but the journey was anything but smooth. Among other things, it involved bumping off disco killers and talking gorillas, finding air-conditioned rooms for dead rats, persuading a respected actor to stop sulking and eat his meals, and resisting the temptation to introduce logic into a madcap script. In the end, it was worth it. Kundan Shah's Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is now a byword for the sort of absurdist, satirical humours that Hindi cinema just hasn't seen enough of. This is the story of how it came to be despite incredible odds - and what it might have been. Jai Arjun Singh's take on the making of the film and its cult following is as entertaining as the film itself.
About the author
Jai Arjun Singh (b. 1977) is a freelance writer and journalist based in Delhi. He has written for Yahoo! India, Business Standard, The Hindu, Tehelka, Outlook Traveller and The Hindustan Times, among other publications. His blog Jabberwock (http://jaiarjun.blogspot.com) is an unwieldy and ever-growing storehouse of his writings about films and books. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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