When I first watched Padosan, six years ago, I didn't enjoy it much. At the time, though, so relatively new to Hindi films and aware of how widely the movie is beloved, I tread fairly lightly, and attributed my cold response largely to an inadequate understanding of the cultures it drew on for its comedy.
Today I rewatched Padosan, prepared to give it another shot in light of my own better (though still far from flawless) understanding of Hindi films, Hindi comedies, regional stereotypes, etc.
Well, I still didn't like it. If anything, I liked it even less. For now I know with certainty that getting the film's jokes doesn't make them funny.
Here are some of the reasons I did not enjoy rewatching Padosan, in no particular order.
- Kishore Kumar's constant paan-gobbling, lip-smacking, rivulet of dribble running down his chin is stomach-churning. It's criminal to take such an adorable man and make him so repulsive. Criminal; not comical.
- 39-year-old Sunil Dutt playing a 25-year-old naif is about as convincing as 39-year-old Aamir Khan playing a college student.
- Dutt's bizarre helmet-wig doesn't help at all.
- There is absolutely nothing funny about five grown men leering at a young woman as if they have never seen one before.
- Saira Banu.
- Mehmood's accent. This is about as funny as an "Italian" character in an American movie who "talks-a like-a this-a." About as funny as Mr Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Which is to say, not funny at all.
- There is no reason for sweaty Om Prakash in his chaddees, ever.
- Romantic principals essentially competing to see which can be more stupid than the other.
To Padosan's credit, the songs are still marvelous. The physical humor throughout the picturization of "Ek chatur naar" is magnificent (if only Mehmood's ridiculous accent didn't persist throughout the song). "Meri samnewali khidhki mein" is a charmingly wonderful tune, and so is "Kehna hai." It's amazing to me that a movie whose songs are such delights can sink to such borderline unwatchable depths in between them.
So there it is. Unlike Andaz Apna Apna, which I appreciated much more when I watched it a second time after years of learning, Padosan remains an anti-favorite.