| Bengaluru |
Updated: June 14, 2020 8:44:34 am
June 10 marked the first death anniversary of legendary comedy writer Crazy Mohan. He has left behind a rich legacy spanning television, theatre and movies. His most memorable films happened when he collaborated with another sharp mind of Indian cinema, Kamal Haasan.
If you are watching a performance by Kamal, which was written by Mohan, there is no time to relax. The humour in their movies is not sporadic. It is blended in every frame and moment of each character. The jokes are non-stop. Mohan’s brand of humour was so clean, thoughtful, and at times, it didn’t make sense. Nevertheless, you laugh because they are hilarious. Like Charlie Chaplin in a boxing ring, logically, the way he fights his opponent doesn’t make sense. But, hey, you are too busy laughing your guts out to complain.
The only complaint is Kamal Haasan and Crazy Mohan did not create enough timeless comedies while they had the chance. The last movie that the duo made was Vasool Raja MBBS, which came out in 2004.
Vasool Raja MBBS is the Tamil remake of Bollywood hit Munnabhai MBBS. Directed by Saran, the film stays loyal to Rajkumar Hirani’s original. Only, Mohan makes it ten times funnier with his love for puns and one-liners.
Take, for example, the scene in which Raaja (Kamal Haasan) meets Professor Margabandhu (Mohan) for the first time. Raaja and his gang barge into an operation theatre and inquire about joining the medical college. And Margabandhu quickly shepherds the gang out of the theatre to answer their questions. Margabandhu makes a lot of hand gestures to stress his point. And by the looks of it, the gang is experiencing a foul smell. At the end of the conversation, Raaja even shakes Margabandhu’s hands, and only then he realizes the source of the stench.
“What operation were you doing?,” Raja curiously asks Margabandhu.
“Piles,” Margabandhu says. “And don’t forget to wash your hands.”
A visibly disgusted Raaja tells his gang, “Sorry guys, I doubted you.”
This joke was not in the original movie. It was all Crazy Mohan.
Besides adding his own jokes, his writing also gave an edge to the comedy that came with Rajkumar Hirani’s script. Sanjay Dutt’s Munna Bhai gets flooded with offers from top hospitals soon after the results of his medical entrance exams come out. And then he breaks into a celebratory song.
Crazy Mohan spices up that scene with the skill of a remarkable punster. Raaja gets a phone call about a sick baby. His gang gets curious about the case. And that comical setup makes room for more humour. When the call ends, he tells his gang that it was a case about a baby suffering from loose motion. “First case itself, bhedi baby.” It is bizarre, but it makes you laugh out loud. A joke doesn’t always have to pack a message or a fact. It just has to be funny, and that is non-negotiable. Mohan knew it and had fun doing it.
Mohan also makes room for Kamal’s messaging about politics and god. “The one who doesn’t know how to respect fellow human can never be a human or a doctor or even a god,” he adds. “Anbe Venkatachalam, no?” (a wordplay on Anbe Sivam).
While Crazy Mohan adds substance to a scene, Kamal Haasan brings depth with his impeccable performance. Their partnership was a match made in heaven. But, ironically, the first meeting between them happened at a graveyard. It sounds bizarre and profound at once, like all their movies.
Also, it is always a pleasure to watch Kamal Haasan speaking Chennai dialect.
Vasool Raja MBBS is available on Sun NXT.
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