"It seems he watches a lot of Hindi films."
Bollywood films have built a reputation for their music, dance and ethnic costumes.
However, some of these movies also make fun of the industry.
Humour often creates laughter amongst the audience. Hence, increases the chances of such films doing thundering business.
But the movies that make fun of the industry have taken digs at actors and singers, along with other areas.
This can also lead to negative consequences, especially when the target of the comedy feels offended.
Within Bollywood, hilarity generated at someone’s expense can also be an eye-opener to certain topics. These ideas are not normally discussed.
DESIblitz divulges further into these ideas and themes. We bring for you a list of 15 Bollywood films that make fun of the industry.
Guddi features cameo appearances from many Bollywood actors of that time. These include Pran, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan.
Within the film, Kusum, also known as Guddi (Jaya Bachchan), discovers the real nature of the industry behind the camera.
The celebrities who make a special appearance make fun of the industry on several occasions.
In the film, Pran talks about his action scenes with Dharmendra:
“Dharmendra is an actor who one can enjoy getting beaten by.
“I have been beaten up by those heroes who can be swatted away with one breath.”
Here, Pran is taking a dig at his co-stars. He does it humorously as Guddi begins giggling. However, it is still derogatory.
Guddi is a student who does not want to marry her suitor.
This is because she is in love with the Bollywood film star Dharmendra. The actor plays himself in the film.
Her uncle, Professor Gupta (Utpal Dutt) arranges a meeting between Guddi and Dharmendra.
He hopes that the former will be able to distinguish the difference between the film star and the person.
Guddi sees the real harsh conditions of the film industry. She reads a diary, which exposes the cruel hierarchy of the industry:
“From the same film, someone earns thousands, while someone else earns two pennies.”
Guddi is a classic. However, it does not shy away from making fun of Bollywood.
Damini: Lightning (1993)
Damini: Lightning is a film, which deals with rape, feminism and justice.
All of this takes place in the sophistication of a courtroom.
But in the second half, Govind Srivastava (Sunny Deol) enters the courtroom as the lawyer of Damini Gupta (Meenakshi Seshadri).
Govind creates quite a few light-hearted moments.
Indrajit Chaddha (Amrish Puri) labels Damini as cunning in a scene. This is a similar contrast to what he says in an earlier proceeding.
He previously calls Damini crazy. When Govind hears the ‘cunning’ label, he stands up and says:
“Chaddha Sahab has confused me. It seems he watches a lot of Hindi films.
“Because like Hindi films, his story has a lot of knots in it.”
By comparing the claims of Indrajit to Bollywood films, Govind is taking a potshot at the industry’s storytelling.
Once he finishes speaking, the entire courtroom bursts into peals of laughter.
In reality, Bollywood films can also be compact and straightforward. They are not always riddled with inconsistencies.
Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995)
Aamir Khan stars as Rohit Kumar in Akele Hum Akele Tum. He is an aspiring singer and music director in the film.
His estranged wife Kiran Kumar (Manisha Koirala) turns into a big star. As her status grows, she helps a struggling Rohit bag a film.
But Kiran actually asks the director to replace more famous composers with Rohit.
When Rohit finds out, the composers condescendingly tell him:
“This happens in the industry. People use their beautiful wives!”
Following smirks from the composers, Rohit attacks them.
The joke depends on the context of Akele Hum Akele Tum.
But it hints at the industry’s tendency to replace people with others like a change of clothes.
When Rohit first meets the composers at a party, he tells them he is also a musician as well as a singer. In response they say:
“In this industry, anyone can become a composer!”
Not only do they make fun of Rohit, but they also jeer at the industry too.
The evergreen actor Dev Anand turned director from the 70s. He made some pretty good films.
However, in the 2000s, he went on to make some forgettable cinema. One of these films was Censor.
The film dealt with the unique topic of film censorship in India. It starred Dev Anand (Vikramjit “Vicky”) in the lead role.
Several Bollywood actors made cameos in the film.
One of them was Randhir Kapoor. He appears dressed in a ‘tramp’ persona similar to his father Raj Kapoor.
He does this after urinating on a wall. This satirises the legendary image of Raj Ji.
Randhir only makes a one-minute flash appearance, but that does arguably make fun of Raj Sahab.
Smiles appear on everyone’s faces after the scene. Dev Ji writes about the film in his autobiography, Romancing with Life (2007):
“Censor did not do well with the masses.”
The fans of Raj Sahab may not have been totally impressed by this particular scene.
Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)
Kal Ho Naa Ho is one of the most successful Bollywood films. The movie has often been compared to Dil Chahta Hai (2001).
Dil Chahta Hai is known as the first Indian film that exemplifies cool and urban themes.
Another film that does that is Kal Ho Naa. It released two years later.
There is a scene in the film featuring Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan) and Jaspreet ‘Sweetu’ Kapoor (Delnaaz Paul).
Aman jokes that Sweetu is his girlfriend. Also, he adds that she is leaving him for a guy with a “cool” hairstyle. Aman says:
“What do I do, Sweetu, if I haven’t seen Dil Chahta Hai?”
The dialogue makes fun in a teasing way. Aman’s intonations suggest he is mocking Dil Chahta Hai.
The other perception is that anyone who has not seen Dil Chahta Hai is uncool.
Naina Catherine Kapur (Preity Zinta) shakes her head and rolls her eyes. Meanwhile, a smile adorns the face of Sweetu.
However, the truth is that both movies are classics and are strong in their own ways.
Om Shanti Om (2007)
Om Shanti Om is centred around the Bollywood film industry.
The film features the famous number ‘Deewangi Deewangi,‘ which contains cameos from several Bollywood celebrities.
But the movie is not only popular for the endless amount of special appearances. It also satirises several veteran actors.
Though, the latter did not garner appreciation. Rather, it caused controversy.
The movie has a scene when Om Kapoor (Shah Rukh Khan) mimics the veteran actor Manoj Kumar. He does so in a comedic way.
Manoj Sahab did not take this joke lightly. Instead, he filed a defamation suit against actor-producer Shah Rukh and director Farah Khan. He said:
“Shah Rukh has harmed and humiliated me.”
Farah called the scene a “human error.”
Manoj Ji withdrew the case when Shah Rukh and Farah apologised and promised the scene would be deleted.
However, when Om Shanti Om released in Japan in 2013, the controversial scene was not cut.
Luck by Chance (2009)
Luck by Chance is the directorial debut of Zoya Akhtar. It is the story of Vikram Jaisingh (Farhan Akhtar).
He dreams of making it big in Bollywood. The movie does not hide away from making fun of the industry.
There is a scene when one director gives the DVD of a Hollywood film to a writer and tells him to “Indianise” it.
This displays a message saying that Bollywood is a second-rate version of the American film industry.
There is a scene when Ali Zaffar Khan (Hrithik Roshan) tires of working with his boss, Rommy Rolly (Rishi Kapoor).
Instead, he dreams of a break with Karan Johar.
There is no doubt that Karan is one of Bollywood’s leading filmmakers.
But that is like saying that no other producers are better than him. This hints at the industry’s hierarchy.
Zaffar complains about this like a child but in a comedic way.
In 2009, Anupama Chopra reviewed the film, highlighting the mockery:
“Zoya pokes fun at Bollywood but she does it with a great affection.”
The movie also features several cameos from multiple Bollywood greats, including Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan.
3 Idiots (2009)
Many Bollywood fans know 3 Idiots. It is one of Aamir Khan’s most successful movies.
The film is praised for its social message, performances and comedy.
But many do not realise that the movie actually does make fun of the industry.
Some scenes take place in the house of Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi).
During the first of these scenes, Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan) states:
“Raju’s house reminded us of black-and-white Indian films from the 1950s.”
The scenes then transform into black and white iconography and show depressing images of Raju’s family.
All the scenes that feature Raju’s house henceforth are black and white and are melancholic.
That is far from the truth. The 50s is known as the Golden Era of Bollywood, with films having tremendous actors and melodious music.
Not only does 3 Idiots make fun here, but it also conforms to certain stereotypes of older generations.
The movie is regarded as a classic. So, the audience must have found these scenes hilarious.
Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge (2010)
Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge depicts a family who is hilariously traumatised by a guest who lives with them.
The guest is an elderly gentleman called Lambodar Chacha (Paresh Rawal). He stays with Puneet ‘Pappu’ Bajpai (Ajay Devgn).
Pappu is a screenwriter who writes Bollywood films. Lambodar asks him if he knows Dharmendra. To this, Pappu says:
“No, I only work with the current heroes.”
Lambodar tuts and complains:
“The current heroes aren’t heroes at all! Heroes were the actors in our time.
“Dilip Kumar, Bharat Bhushan, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra.
“Current heroes are not like that. They wax their chests and things. You can’t call them heroes.”
Puneet forces a smile at this. Lambodar continues laughing, whilst discussing artists from older periods.
Lambodar is clearly taking a dig at actors who came after the Golden Era of Indian cinema.
It is understandable as the character comes from a different generation.
The Dirty Picture (2011)
The Dirty Picture stars Vidya Balan as Reshma/Silk.
Her character is a rural villager who comes to Bombay in the hope of becoming a movie star.
She ends up becoming a sex symbol and has an affair with Suryakant (Naseeruddin Shah).
All her films feature her in erotic and sexually charged roles.
A scene in the film depicts Silk winning an award. She calls out and makes fun of the industry’s hypocrisy.
She is the one being labelled as ‘indecent.’ But the industry was the place that pioneered her revealing and bold image. Silk states:
“Your ‘decency’ can’t be ignored. You make films, show them and give awards too. But you are all afraid to admit it.”
She says this in a serious yet mocking manner. This is followed by murmurs rippling through the audience.
It is as if what Silk is saying has hit home.
The Dirty Picture was a powerful film with an equally strong social message.
Vidya won the ‘Best actress’ Filmfare Award in 2012 for this film.
Dum Maaro Dum (2011)
Dum Maaro Dum is an action-thriller film, directed by Rohan Sippy.
The film features Abhishek Bachchan (ACP Vishnu Kamath) and Bipasha Basu (Zoey Mendosa) in the lead roles.
The film also has an item song picturised on Deepika Padukone.
The song was a remixed version of ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ by Asha Bhosle from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971).
This new version essentially objectifies women in a crude way. It was also slammed by Dev Anand.
Dev Sahab who had directed Hare Rama Hare Krishna claimed that the new song does nothing but make fun of his work.
Hed discussed the remix in a conversation with Faridoon Sharyar from Bollywood Hungama:
“I resented it. I wrote Bombay Times a letter.”
“They should have thought of R.D. Burman, Asha Ji, Dev Anand, Zeenat Aman, Iqbal.
“They should have thought about all the well-wishing fans who must be feeling very bad.”
However, Dev Sahab was shown a contract where it was stated that his song could be used.
Irrespective, the film failed miserably at the box office.
Ra. One (2011)
Ra. One revolved around a video game where the villain never died.
Shah Rukh Khan starred as Shekhar Subramaniam and G. One. The latter is a superhero.
However, in 2017, India Times listed 7 Bollywood Actors who make fun of themselves and the industry in cameo appearances.
The list mentions Priyanka Chopra in Ra. One. She plays a character called Desi Girl.
In a fight scene, she says, “Sambhal Ke Lucifer!” (“Be careful, Lucifer”). She is a stereotypical frightened Bollywood girl.
Priyanka makes fun of Bollywood heroines “who have barely anything to say during a fight scene.”
Of course, Bollywood does tend to have heroines cheering and covering their faces while their male co-stars fight the villain.
But with more women-centric films being made, that is all fortunately changing. This particular scene also features Sanjay Dutt as the villain Khalnayak.
In Fan, Shah Rukh Khan stars as Aryan Khanna, a famous actor based on himself. He also plays Gaurav Chandna.
Gaurav is a 25-year-old lookalike fan obsessed with Aryan.
This film explores the obsession fans have with film stars and how dangerous that can sometimes be.
There is a scene in the film when Aryan is talking to diplomats. This is because he has been arrested for a crime that Gaurav committed.
The diplomats tell him he will have to prove that it was not him at the scene of the crime. Aryan says:
“Must I do that as well? Maybe I should play cop!”
The unimpressed diplomats then mutter:
“Whether they are thrown in jail or dancing at weddings, the arrogance of these film stars doesn’t change.”
The scene depicts Bollywood film stars for having a reputation of being arrogant.
In 2016, Rishi Kapoor appeared on Aap Ki Adalat. He talked about his meetings with Hollywood stars Gregory Peck and Dustin Hoffman.
Rishi described them as “humble people.”
He also criticised the ego of Bollywood stars, their practice of wearing sunglasses at night and the overuse of bodyguards.
Interestingly, all this was seen in Fan. Therefore, Fan does make fun of the industry and its star power.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)
Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil upset thousands with one particular scene.
In this particular scene, the characters make fun of renowned singer Mohammad Rafi.
Ayan Sanger (Ranbir Kapoor) tells Alizeh Khan (Anushka Sharma) that his voice is similar to Rafi. Alizeh thoughtfully replies:
“Mohammad Rafi? He sung less, and cried more, didn’t he?”
A chuckle escapes Ayan’s lips.
But this did not down well with fans. In The Indian Express, Shahid Rafi, son of the legendary singer openly voiced his displeasure:
“Nobody in the industry says anything bad about my father. This dialogue is an insult. It is stupid. The man who wrote this dialogue is stupid.
“It is ridiculous to say whatever has been said in the film.”
The criticism from Shahid did not really prompt Karan Johar to respond.
However, it is indeed shocking that someone like Rafi Sahab would be made fun of in a film.
Secret Superstar (2017)
Secret Superstar is about a girl called Insia ‘Insu’ Malik (Zaira Wasim). She dreams of making it big as a singer.
Since the profession lies in the film industry, the glitz and glamour are referenced throughout the movie.
There is a scene where Insia and her mother Najma Malik (Meher Vij) are watching an award show on television.
Aamir Khan is on the screen as Shakti Kumar. Shakti is a music composer. He is arguing with Monali Thakur. She appears in a cameo role.
At this, an astounded Najma shakes her head and says:
“These people are shameless!”
Najma is referring to Shakti and Monali in the film. But her generalisation hints at the film industry as a whole.
There’s also another scene when a news presenter says:
“We will be asking an astrologer if Salman will ever get married.”
This comment may have been made in jest, but it still takes a dig at the marital status of Salman Khan.
This has been the subject of humour for years in the industry.
Saif Ali Khan said in an interview that there is nothing to learn from Bollywood. He subsequently regretted this statement and called it a “wrong comment.”
Over the years, the Indian film industry has been the subject of humour within Hollywood. But it has also been laughed at by its own.
Bollywood films vary in uniqueness and originality. Having said that they do not deserve all these derogatory jokes.
Until this comical aspect does not decrease, the industry will not move forward.