About 19 years ago, a Bollywood comedy starring Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal became a cult-classic with fans of the film still watching and enjoying it till date. Hera Pheri united clever dialogue with broad comedy and slapstick gags. And while Akshay and Suniel were still the younger actors in the film, it was Paresh's role as Baburao Apte that garnered a lot of fame, leaving viewers in fits with his impeccable acting skills - one that no one else could have performed better, reported The Scroll.
Inspired by the Malyalam original Ramji Rao Speaking - which was released in 1989 - Paresh added a sense of physical comedy and a dash of amusing madness to his character that gave birth to one of Bollywood’s most favourite comic characters - Baburao.
Baburao is an irritated old man, who runs a garage out of his house that does not earn him too well. When his phone line gets mixed for a fishery company, Baburao greets the callers with a bag of insults and a whole lot of sarcasm that is exhibited as pure comedy on screen. Paresh adds a little bit of melodrama to his acting while portraying the character. His larger-than-life mannerisms and accent creates hilarious outcomes. Moreover, his comic timing and his character’s tendency to take things literally result in some uproarious additions as well.
While essaying the role, Paresh also decided to improve the look of his character by putting on chunky spectacles with a thick, black frame. Once again playing with physical humour, Baburao's short-sightedness and bug-eyed look serve as a constant source of laughter in Hera Pheri. This addition not only helps with the look, but also becomes a prop on its own - by getting misplaced at the wrong time or peaking through helmets and other disguises.
By being played by Paresh, Baburao evolves into a lovable character that stands his ground for Raju and Shyam - essayed by Akshay and Suneil, respectively. But more often than not, it is Baburao who needs taking care of. Throughout the film, he tries assert his authority by being older, wiser and also being their landlord, but the two never take him seriously. Towards the second half of Hera Pheri, plot twists tend to shift the focus away from the comedy and turn to the haphazard confusion. But even at this point, it's Paresh's acting prowess that helps the film maintain its humour without going awry.
With the third installment of the film returning to the silver screen soon, let's hope that Baburao is back with his signature glasses - the same ones that he traded in Phir Hera Pheri with golden frames - and the same kind of comedy that lacked in the 2006 installment.