The first buddy comedy

There was parallel cinema in the 1980s, mainly state-funded, social-issue dramas. And there was the parallel to the parallel, the so-called middle cinema that was lighter in spirit and went down easier with audiences as a result. Chashme Buddoor, written and directed by Sai Paranjpye, was one of the most-loved movies of the set. So when fans heard that ribald comedy specialist David Dhawan was helming a remake, they recoiled in horror. As did Paranjpye, it appears.

She has refused to endorse the remake, whose rights were sold by the family of the original producer, Gul Anand, and has dissociated herself from the restoration and re-release of her movie. Chashme Buddoor will cheekily be reissued on 5 April, the same day as the remake.

Real deal: The movie poster.
Real deal: The movie poster.

Anand decided to produce Chashme Buddoor because he was impressed with Paranjpye’s previous effort, Sparsh, says Makhija. One of the movie’s original titles was “Dhuaan Dhuaan", which Anand rejected because “he didn’t want his film to go up in smoke". He nixed another title, “Bhimaswapna", and finally suggested Chashme Buddoor, which was inspired by the popular song from the 1961 movie Sasural. Anand also persuaded Paranjpye to change the original ending. She had envisaged the romance between Sheikh’s Siddharth and Naval’s Neha as a figment of Siddharth’s imagination. “It was a clever thought, but Gul thought that nobody would watch the film, so in the end, the third guy gets the girl," Makhija says.

It had become necessary to restore the film even without Paranjpye’s involvement, she adds. “The negative was going to die. Tomorrow, I want to be able to take this film to any festival and show it in its original form." Cinematographer Virendra Saini has been involved with the restoration.

“I really respect her, and I wish she had reacted in a more positive manner," Makhija says. “This is one of the most iconic films of the 1980s, which has been restored in the centenary year of Indian cinema. For the remake and the original to be released in the same time—look at it as a wow."

PVR Director’s Rare will release Chashme Buddoor on 5 April.