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Who Pays the Piper (1983)
"Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro" (original title)

8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 5,306 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 6 critic

Two friends, attempting to start-up their own photo studio, come across shady dealings, corruption and murder, and must fight to bring the guilty to light.

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(dialogue), (dialogue), 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ravi Baswani ...
Sudhir Mishra
Bhakti Barve ...
Shobha Sen
Satish Shah ...
Municipal Commissioner D'Mello
...
Ahuja
Pankaj Kapur ...
Tarneja (as Pankaj Kapoor)
...
Ashok
Neena Gupta ...
Priya
Deepak Qazir ...
Asst. Mun. Comm. Srivastav
Rajesh Puri ...
Kamdar
Zafar Sanjari
Ashok Banthia ...
Reporter
Uday Chandra
Harshad Gandhi
Jaspal Sandhu
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Storyline

Vinod (Naseeruddin Shah) and Sudhir (Ravi Baswani) are two professional photographers trying to start a photo studio. The first real assignment that they get, from the activist magazine Khabardar (literally meaning beware), draws them into the shady world of Bombay real estate. They discover that one of the biggest builders in Bombay, Tarneja, is trying to bribe Municipal Commissioner D'Mello (Satish Shah) into giving him a bridge contract. Meanwhile D'Mello is negotiating with Tarneja's arch rival Ahuja (Om Puri). The contract is finally awarded to a third person. By chance Vinod and Sudhir find out that Tarneja has murdered D'Mello... Written by <bagchi@jhu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

12 August 1983 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Who Pays the Piper  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kundan Shah won the National Award for the Best First Film of a Director in 1984. See more »

Quotes

Ashok: You didn't listen to our conversation, did you?
Vinod Chopra: What?
Ashok: You didn't listen to our conversation, right?
Vinod Chopra: What?
Ashok: Aaaahh... Are You deaf?
Vinod Chopra: Yes, indeed!
See more »

Connections

References Blow-Up (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant farce, one of the finest movies ever made !!!
31 December 2005 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

A lot of comments about this movie have centered on the apparently slapstick comedy, ignoring its usage to lend a sense of the grotesque in what is a essentially a masterful farce, and beneath the surface, more of a tragedy.

This movie centers around the two young protagonists, full of ideals and the will to win against the powers of endemic and ubiquitous corruption, a corruption that is so manifestly present that the others do not seem to question its existence, but implicitly assume it and use it to serve their own ends. However, our heroes find the going quite tough.

Although partly inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-up", this movie is in a class by itself, with dark humor reminiscent of Kafka and Gogol. The star cast includes some of the finest actors to ever grace the screens of Bollywood (or for that matter, anywhere else). Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor and many others deliver stellar performances in this tragi-comedy which is one of finest pearls produced by the New Wave movement in Indian cinema.

Regretabbly, comprehension of the movie requires intimate knowledge of the background, something which you would only have if you have lived in India, where corruption is as natural as breathing, and if you are familiar with the turbulent times when New Wave Cinema was taking off, a time of discontent and idealism among youth, a time of unemployment and the times of the angry young man (as typified by Amitabh Bachchan in many commercial films from this era).

However one can still enjoy it for it is a comedy worth watching. Hopefully, the viewer will see the tragedy beneath the humor.

I rate this movie among the finest movies of all time, and in the class of farces, it stands alongside Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove".


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