I take great pleasure in starting the Ultimate Laughter Series of Hasya Brahma with one of the most entertaining comedy movies I have ever watched in Telugu Cinema:Babai-Abbai. Released during early 80s, I was cursing myself for how could I miss watching this movie until quite recently which has fantastic timing in comedy and at the same time strong characterization. Only Jandhyala can unleash the best comedy and at the same time tell a good message in a total of about two hours run time (On an average) of a movie.
Though the main theme and storyline of this movie is inspired from an English film “Brewsters Millions” ( Which also is an inspiration to Rajni Kanth’s AruNaachalam released in late 90s) where the Hero gets into a situation where he has to spend an enormous amount of money in a less span of time but fails for every attempt made, the unique comedy and the peculiar characters and their behavior is what makes Babai-Abbai a typical classy Jandhyala comedy flick.
One of the best things I observed in Jandhyala’s movies is that the comedy has subtlety and at the same time gives a powerful impact on the viewer. The dialogues are so comic and powerful that they remain intact irrespective of time and era. Some of the phrases which the characters use to describe a person have become so prominent that they are used by every Telugu person at some situation or other.
It is needless to say that Babai-Abbai also comes under such same category and we have characters who appear so natural in the way they behave or possess such traits which we encounter in day-to-day life. It also explains about the worth of “money” factor in life at a real comic and entertaining length.
Coming to the story, it goes around the two protagonists we have here namely Babai ( Sutthi Veera Bhadra Rao at his amazing best) and Abbai ( Balakrishna) who happen to meet in a very comical circumstances and live together. Though they deal with poverty and debts most of their time due to unemployment being rampant at that point of time, they try to deal with every situation which comes in their way in a hilarious manner and escape from them in a convincing way. I may not be able to describe every scene in the movie but my motive is to bring the cream of the comedy element present in it through the best dialogues (The translation of that in English will also be given for non-Telugu reader’s convenience) present in it. Our dear Abbai falls in love with a rich girl Krishnaveni ( A new actress named Anita Reddy who did not act in any other movies after this-to my knowledge!) having a peculiar and eccentric father played by the talented Sutthi Velu! He is eccentric for the reason that he has horrible temper for everything and in order to abate it, he employs a stout person named Chotu especially to hit him until the anger goes! Though this works most of the time, at times this Chotu feels out of limit and starts hitting Sutthi Velu at the best of his strength!
The herione’s father assigns a task for Abbai which was unheard or unseen of. He gives Babai a huge sum of money and asks him to spend it within the timeline of 30 days. He also explains the reason for this task assigning saying that a poor guy who marries a rich girl should either know how to earn money or should atleast know how to spend the already existing money wisely. He also puts a condition saying that the money should not be donated, destroyed but has to be spent in a convincing manner. When Abbai comes to ask Babai (His mentor!) for advise, the latter feels what everybody feels about money in the first place. He says it is never easy to earn money but to spend money it is completely like a cakewalk. But the real comic fun starts now when our duo starts this assignment. In the initial stages they find it easy but as the days pass by, the income starts coming in larger amounts surpassing the expenditure! Rest of the story is about how our duo realize the real nature of money by encountering funny as well as eye-opening incidents!
The dialogue brilliance of Jandhyala in excelling the comedy department deserves a special mention all over again! I would like to share some of the dialogues which were present in this movie. I will try my best to explain the situation in which they arrive depending on the requirement!
Scene 1: The hotel waiter describes about Babai,Abbai having food in a restaurant- This is the first scene in the movie.
A struggled waiter carries atleast a dozen of plates ladled with dishes-a surprised customer asks him in this way:
Customer: Mee hotel lo inka waiters lera anni tiffinlu nuvve teeskelthunnavu?
(Don’t you have more people working in this place? I observe you are only taking all the dishes?)
Waiter: Ivi iddharike babu, andhulo Okadu padhi gramalu dathathu theesukuni dachinattu, inkodu kadupulo thiranalaku tiffin pettinattu thintunnaru.
(No these tiffins are only for two people, one among them is eating as if he has atleast 10 villages stored in his stomach and the other fellow is eating like there is a huge exhibition going on in his stomach!)
I don’t see any other dialogue-writer than Jandhyala who can give us such hilarious comparisons in Telugu!
The tiffins arrive near a table where Babai, Abbai are sitting.
Babai calls Dosa “Adavi Ramudu” ( A popular late 70s movie starring NTR) and Abbai calls vada “ShankarabharaNam” ( An all-time classic movie directed by K.Vishwanath!). Without stopping further, Babai asks the waiter to bring other variety tiffins naming them with other popular movies of that time Vetagadu and Kondaveeti Simham!
Who else other than Jandhyala can compare movie names with tiffins and also name them so?
Babai has a punch-word which he uses to all the people he takes debts called “Tharai” ( Tharai means “will give “in Tamizh)! He uses this word in such a dramatic perfection that one has to laugh whenever he says this!!
Babai’s wife Aruna (Played at the best-Srilakshmi) who is quite an emotional person as she cries watching any tragic movie at such a scary length that people start thinking something is wrong with her! She comes to the house and starts weeping while narrating the story to her mother who cannot watch movies in theatre ( Because of some health problem) and both of them start weeping uncontrollably!!
At one such situation when Aruna watches Maro Charithra and starts telling her mom about it (Weeping is default here!), Aruna’s father (Played by Raallapalli-another noted comedian during 80s) says this:
“Janta Siren laga aa edupuntey?Ee edupulu chusthe andaru nenu poyanu anukuntaru!Aina cinema chusthe kalla neellu pettukuntaru gani ila bhoruna yedavatamentey?Evade poyindhi?Kamal Hasan aa?Vademaina nee menatha koduka, menamama koduka ala edusthunnavu?”
Is this some joint siren or something?Why are you both wailing like this? If somebody watches this they would think I am dead or something! Even then, if anybody watches a tragic movie it is common to feel upset for a while, but why are people crying at an annoying rate? “ He now addresses to Aruna “ Who died? Was it Kamal Hasan? Is he your uncle’s son or aunt’s son which is making you cry like this?
The Hasya Brahma has made the impossible-possible. Which is one can make audience laugh at an amazing rate even while the characters are weeping uncontrollably!!
The next part is out there soon, and more laughter and fun to come by!! Watch out Marapuraani Chitralu for the best comedy from Babai-Abbai by next week!