26 October 2012 | jmathur_swayamprabha
A tribute to Jaspal Bhatti, the King of Satire
I am shocked to know that Jaspal Bhatti is no more. An accident resulted in his untimely death today and we lost the great satirist who was always able to ridicule the prevailing vices, flaws and loopholes of different systems in our country and several unreasonable things in sight without insulting anybody in particular. The jolly Sardaar who presented gems like Ulta Pulta and Flop Show on Doordarshan which were treasure of laughs for millions of viewers like me who wanted relief from the fatigue of their everyday life, has now left for his heavenly abode. His sense of humour was great and he was able to create situational comedy without going over the top at any place. The laughs were generated for the viewers by Bhatti as a writer-director as well as Bhatti as an actor quite effortlessly without trying much at any point. I remember when five Hindi movies were being simultaneously made on the life of the great martyr, Bhagat Singh (in 2001-2002), Jaspal Bhatti had opened a Bhagat Singh Training Academy in Chandigarh and ridiculed the greed of the filmmakers under the disguise of patriotism. While paying my tribute to him, I am reviewing a movie made by him. He had made the film in Punjabi but I had seen its Hindi version on satellite TV. It's Mahaul Theek Hai (1999).
Mahaul Theek Hai (mood is fine here) is a satire on the corrupt police system in our country. The story starts with the typical boy meets girl episode and soon after that the viewer witnesses the hackneyed twists of illegal business practices and obstacles in the marriage of the love-birds. However the pivotal character of this satire is a corrupt SSP Bhatti (Jaspal Bhatti) who is smitten by the charms of a college principal (Savita Bhatti) but his full time job is to support the baddies through misuse of his position and warm his pocket through bribe. His accomplice in his corrupt practices is his junior inspector (Vivek Shauq). He feels that the home minister is on his side (by whose grace, he had got the posting) and that's why even his senior officer (Naveen Nishchal) cannot take any action against him. However, as expected, he is dismissed and arrested in the end alongwith the law-breakers whom he has been standing by and the obstacles in the union of the lovers are removed.
Since Jaspal Bhatti has made this movie by keeping his eyes fixed on the sole target of making the audience laugh, he has not developed the satire in a proper way and the comedy aspect has become prime in the movie. Though Bhatti has succeeded in his mission and there is no dearth of laughs in the movie, the mood of the movie remains light throughout and the element of profoundness remains completely missing. Hence this movie can be watched for laughing only. Jaspal Bhatti has not suggested anything to improve the corrupt system. He has only concentrated on comedy through funny situations and witty dialogs. This humour alongwith the presence of Jaspal Bhatti is the USP of this movie.
The movie is not unduly long and the story heads towards its desired finale without any digression with the sole exception of the romantic track of Jaspal Bhatti and Savita Bhatti (his real life wife). The production value is modest but technically, there are no noticeable flaws in the movie. Background score is according to the comic mood of the movie whereas the songs are just average.
In the acting department, Jaspal Bhatti himself has performed superbly. He has always been able to present his face in such a manner that you cannot stop your laughter simply by looking at him. He himself does not laugh on the screen but by seeing him and listening to his dialogs, the audience keeps on laughing without a break. And that's the biggest success of this hero who was a class of his own. All the same, it is to be underscored that Jaspal Bhatti, the director could not extract admirable performances from his cast. Late Vivek Shauq is the only one who impresses to some extent.
All in all, this 135 minutes long laughter-show presented by Jaspal Bhatti is a nice one time watch. Through this review, I pay my tribute to the crownless King of Satire in the Indian cine and TV world. May his soul rest in peace.