Dr Rajkumar might have been more popular for his histronics and amazing singing voice, but his comedies are as lovely. Today’s generation might know Anant Nag for his deep dive into emotions, but he rocked roles soaked in humour too. And then, there’s Jaggesh. Ramesh Aravind too was part of some of these laugh riots. From fantasies to family dramas laced with comedy, here is your weekend binge list of the best Kannada comedies.
Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma (1986)
Available on MX Player
Don’t get misled by the title, because this Singeetam Srinivasa Rao directorial is anything but devotional. Starring Dr Rajkumar as Panduranga and Madhavi as Parvati, the movie revolves around two people who pose like a married couple to win a competition held at a hotel. The leads shine in this situational comedy, which was later remade into Telugu as Maharajasri Mayagadu, starring Krishna and Sridevi.
Guru Shishyaru (1981)
Available on YouTube
Starring Vishnuvardhan, Manjula and Jayamalini, Guru Shishyaru was a remake of the Telugu film Paramanandayya Sishyula Katha. What happens when an angel curses 12 young munis to become stupid? They cause their guru problems, but, in the long run, all their antics end up being useful. The movie is a series of laugh vignettes stitched together and set in times where a king ruled the land.
Ganeshana Maduve (1990)
Available on Zee5/YouTube
This is the first of the ‘Ganesha series’ with actor Anant Nag. Directed by Phani Ramachandra, Ganeshana Maduve is regarded as one of the finest comedies from the Kannada industry. Set in a middle class vatara (housing complex) where fights between the tenants and the owner are all too common, the movie also has several subplots involving a beer-loving roommate, a cricket-crazy mom and the lead pair who exchange letters without revealing their true identities.
Gauri Ganesha (1991)
Available on SunNXT/YouTube
The second of the ‘Ganesha series’, Gauri Ganesha sees Anant Nag play Lambodhara, a conman who accidentally receives the diary of a dead woman named Gauri. On learning about the three men in Gauri’s life, Lambodhara decides to blackmail them, falsely implicating them in Gauri’s pregnancy. The film has received a few State Awards and stars Master Anand as Ganesha.
Tarle Nan Maga (1992)
Available on AirtelXstream/ErosNow
The first film of Upendra, director Kashinath’s protege, this film, starring Jaggesh and Anjali Sudhakar, ticked all the right boxes for the Kashinath brand of comedy. It can be called crass and cringe-worthy, but it brings in the laughs. The film follows a simple plot: a boy, whose parents are angling for a girl who will bring in a fat dowry, marries a girl from a simple background and tries to change his parents’ outlook. There are a lot of situations that today’s audience will wince seeing, though!
Yarigu Helbedi (1994)
Available on Jio Cinema
Yarigu Helbedi is one of the many films that failed at the box office, but later developed a cult following. Set in the 90s, the movie follows the middle class dream of owning a house. This is a film that boasted great performers — Anant Nag, Vinaya Prasad, Girija Lokesh, Doddanna, Satyabhama and Kunigal Nagabhushan — but the real star in the housing society is the character who says, “Chennagi Helidri” (“you said it very well”).
Ulta Palta (1997)
Available on Voot
Based on Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, Ulta Palta stars Ramesh Aravind in three roles. Like the title hints, Ulta Palta is all about confusion and the primary plot involves two sets of identical twins who are separated, and how, years later, one lands in the city the other lives. You get the drift right? Full-on confusion.
Kothigalu Saar Kothigalu (2001)
Available on MX Player
This is the second movie in the Saar series, and stars Ramesh Aravind, S Narayan and Mohan. It is directed by Rajendra Singh Babu. The movie is a frontrunner in the ‘keep-your-brains-at-home’ genre, and only focusses on getting you into ROFL mode, through the performances, situations and dialogues. The central theme is used as a tool to stage the comic scenes, and this works really well.
Available on YouTube
Director Guruprasad’s debut film is a black comedy starring Jaggesh, Vaijanath Biradar and Mandya Ramesh. The film is a story of mutts/mathas and life in general. The post of the chief of the mutt falls vacant and the trustees seek applications. They shortlist six ‘waste bodies’ who they will train before choosing one of them. The dialogues are lol worthy, even though there are double entendres. The introduction scene of the six characters is funny, and has the potential to be spun off into a separate movie by itself.
Eddelu Manjunatha (2009)
Available on Zee5
What happens when two contrasting characters are forced to spend time together when they are locked up in a lodge? You get a lot of lengthy conversations between Manja (Jaggesh) and Naani (Tabla Naani) about life, spiced with satire. Eddelu Manjunatha deals with a sensitive topic, but with metaphors thrown in. Another thread deals with Manja’s relationship with his wife Gowri (Yagna Shetty) and how a tragedy shows Manja some home truths.