SMALL FILM, GIANT FOOTPRINT
Anyone who has ever watched Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro—and frankly, one doesn't know a soul who hasn't—has their favourite moment from the film. The easiest to recall are the 'thoda khao thoda phenko' scene at Commissioner D'Mello's Madh Island bungalow, the loony telephone episode at Tarneja's house, a drunk Ahuja mistaking DeMello's coffin for a car and 'towing' it away, and the Mahabharata climax where the entire cast gatecrashes a live performance with Dhritarashtra periodically intoning in sheer frustration, 'ye kya ho raha hai?' as emperor Akbar makes an inexplicable guest appearance.
Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani in a scene from the iconic film
Now there are two happy coincidences for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro fans. NFDC, which is reviving its classics on DVD has recently brought out a new edition complete with an add-on disc about the making of the film and an interactive game, and Delhi-based journalist Jai Arjun Singh has written a witty, entertaining book in the film's 30th year, chronicling its fascinating journey from a nutty idea in Kundan Shah's head to an insane black comedy that has now achieved cult status as a nihilist classic or simply great social satire.