Remember Sanam Teri Kasam (1982), Jigarwala (1991) and Dulhe Raja (1998) and a plethora of other movies? Be it a romantic, action or comedy flick Guddi Maruti was almost always around as mostly the heroine’s obese side-kick. Tahira, which is Guddi’s real name, took the art of making us laugh in her stride. With the proliferation of the TV Channels, she has taken to the idiot box as well with panache and also entertains us on the small screen. She feels that, while the genres of movies remain the same, trends keep changing.
Currently TV has seen a proliferation of comedy shows like Comedy Circus, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, etc. Some of these comedy shows have been around for some time, but the percentage of the female participation has increased only recently. Guddi opines, “Bharati and Saloni have been there from the beginning. Anybody, who is good, will, of course, be there. There were others, who did not stay, but I guess they were not so good.”
We have comedy movies in India, too. In some of them the heroine herself does comic scenes like Kareena in Golmaal Returns (2008). But that is not a big deal since in a comedy movie everybody has to do comedy. Her take, “Our films are all predominantly male or hero-oriented. I feel that it all depends on the script. And here also male-domination is there.”
Late Tun Tun and late Manorama (Bollywood) and late Manorama of Kollywood have definitely been some comedy artistes to reckon with. Their presence was always felt even in serious, or romantic movies. However, there are no good female comedy artistes, like even Guddi, herself. She says, “Even Aruna Iraniji has done comic roles. Now the whole trend is different. So, there are no specific characters of female and male comedians. Therefore, if required the hero and heroine themselves do comedy. In an action movie there is no requirement, so they don’t have much comedy in it.”
The male comedy artistes like Johnny Lever, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav, etc. still exist. But there are no good female artistes per se doing comedy roles, specifically. She concluded, “Yeah, it again depends on the script and the writers. Their work is done with male comedians. So they don’t create roles for female comedy artists. Previously, in films there would be male and female artistes specifically present to do comedy and their track would go on throughout the movie. Now the current trend has only a male comedian. With the hero and the heroine themselves doing the needful, there is no specific female comedian required.”
This interview was first published in Eve’s Times magazine and has been reproduced here with the permission of the editor, Swai Amar.