Double Role Used To Generate Comedy
Few are aware the concept of double was originally the brainchild of the brilliant English playwright, William Shakespeare, who introduced the idea of double roles in theatre with his much popular drama Comedy of Errors. The highlight of the drama was that it was the first script in the world that had two different characters playing ‘double’ role. Hence the confusion in identifying the look-alike characters created fabulous comedy and the play was a super-hit.
In the late 60’s Bollywood film legend Bimal Roy was so inspired by Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors that he remade it in Hindi as Do Dooni Char (1968) starring Kishore Kumar and Asit Sen. Similarly Gulzar remade Do Dooni Char in the ’80s as Angoor (1982) with Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma in the lead roles. Both films were hit.
However, the movie that won maximum applause at the box –office was Amol Palekar‘s Gol Maal (1979). What is interesting about Gol Maal is that Amol Paleker, the hero who plays the role of simpleton Ramprasad, does not portray a double role in reality on screen but he cons his boss by disguising as an errant brother (Laxamanprasad). Thus the confusion between Ramprasad and Laxmanprasad leads to immense comedy.
Similarly, in Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar (1973), Asrani played a hilarious dual role of Champak Boomia who is Amit Desai but tells a lie to help his friend from his wife’s suspicion. The same film was later remade by Rohit Shetty as Golmaal Returns ( 2008) in which Shreyas Talpade played the role of Anthony Gonsalves though his real name is Laxman Prasad Apte
Male Actors Disguised As Lady Created Humour
Another form of comedy created through double role was male actors disguising as a lady. Famous comedian Mehmood played a lady first in Dil Tera Diwana (1962) opposite Shammi Kapoor. In 1971, Mehmood played the lady again in Johar Mehmood in Hong Kong (1971) however his most laudable performance as a lady was in Waris (1969). In this film, Mehmood played the double role of a CID officer and also the role of his own mother! His performance as the old mother-in-law of Aruna Irani (Mehmood‘s wife in the film) was hilarious and he won a Filmfare award for Best Comedian. In fact, even Deven Verma had played son and mother in his Besharam (1978) starring Amitabh Bachchan.
However, the concept of the male actor playing female won grand success after brilliant actor Kamal Haasan portrayed the role of a middle-aged sexy Maharashtrian lady Laxmi Godbole in Chachi 420 (1997) was super hit. In fact, even Govinda played a similar role in Aunty No. 1 (1998) but the film did not work.