Art & Culture

Dishoom is proof the Bollywood 'buddy film' never gets old

Deepa Gahlot
Deepa GahlotAug 02, 2016 | 09:14

Dishoom is proof the Bollywood 'buddy film' never gets old

The latest Bollywood release Dishoom is a classic buddy film in which two men of opposing temperaments are forced to team up for a mission. Over the years, Hollywood had used the formula extensively, and so has Bollywood.

One of the early examples of the buddy film was Raj N Sippy's Andar Baahar (1984), a copy of the 1982 Walter Hill film 48 Hours.


Sippy was known for his stylish thrillers, and this one embodied all the garishness and swagger of commercial Hindi cinema of the '80s. It was shot by ace DOP Ashok Mehta, and written by popular screenwriters of the time - Sachin Bhowmick and Kader Khan.

Jackie Shroff played the stern police officer Ravi Khanna, the prototype used for John Abraham in Dishoom, while Anil Kapoor played Raja, the wisecracking tapori, the kind played by Varun Dhawan.

A poster from 1984's Andar Baahar.

Technically, Raja isn't a policeman, but recruited by Ravi to trace a criminal and fugitive from the law - Shera (Danny Denzongpa). In Dishoom, the duo has 36 hours to nab a kidnapper; in Andar Baahar, they have a week - Ravi springs Raja out of jail for that period, to help catch Shera, since he used to work for the gang.

Shera betrayed Raja, who now has an axe to grind; Shera also killed Ravi's best friend (Parikshit Sahni), so he wants revenge too. Ravi is so wrapped up in his duty that his mother (Sulochana) has to nag him to get married, which he resents as an intrusion on his independence.


Still, he quickly settles for a girl (Moon Moon Sen, probably cast just to wear a bikini) and gets that business out of the way.

When Raja is first seen, he is surrounded by girls, and in those politically incorrect times, he is seen picking up girls, pretending to be a movie insider with top filmmakers as friends. (Actresses like Kaajal Kiran and Anita Raj make guest appearances as his preys.)

There are elements films of that period could not do without - the mother, for instance, who has been dispensed with in current films; otherwise the formula has travelled more or less intact over the years, right down to the item song; the dancer in Andar Baahar being Kim (who was in a relationship with Danny at the time and vanished after a short career), and an action climax on a boat.

For a while, Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor formed this buddy team - the former playing it with a frown, the latter with a jhakaas grin.

Last updated: August 03, 2016 | 11:41
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