Gol Maal (1979)

A simple lie about having a look-alike twin brother turns into an elaborate if risky plan of deception in this hilarious comedy about an employee trying to trick his conservative boss to keep his new high-paying job. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Dir. Hrishikesh Mukherjee
1979 | India | Comedy/Drama/Romance | 138 mins | 1.37:1 | Hindi
PG (passed clean)

Cast: Amol Palekar, Utpal Dutt, Bindiya Goswami, Shubha Khote, Dina Pathak
Plot: A man’s simple lie to secure his job escalates into more complex lies when his orthodox boss gets suspicious.
Awards: –
Source: Shemaroo Entertainment

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate – Lies, Deception
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Mainstream

Viewed: MUBI
Spoilers: No

Like Chupke Chupke (1975), Gol Maal is another entertaining delight from Hrishikesh Mukherjee that relies on an elaborate plot centering on lies and deception. 

This time, a young man, Ramprasad (Amol Palekar), has to trick his old conservative boss to keep his new high-paying job, by inventing a look-alike twin brother who is the direct opposite of himself in terms of attitude and behaviour. 

Using the twin brother as a foil, whom he also plays (but without a moustache), Ramprasad would try to keep up with his various disguises through the day. 

As days turn into weeks, his risky plan becomes messier and difficult to manage, involving an array of people including his family and strangers. 

Gol Maal milks a great amount of hilarity from the absurd scenario, plus the performances are uniformly fantastic, particularly Utpal Dutt, who plays the boss who grows increasingly suspicious but just can’t figure out what is really happening. 

Mukherjee’s comedy classic remains revered today as a solid piece of Bollywood cinema with all the ingredients needed for success. 

At a deeper level, Gol Maal pits conflicting values against each other—one of the running jokes is about how India will go to ruins if the ‘young carefree people of today’ are to lead the country one day, yet on the other hand, it may be that deeply-rooted values of traditionalism are the ones causing harm to a stagnating country in need of fresh ideas. 

Whichever the case, Gol Maal shows us that change while resisted is always needed, even if it is as subtle—or conspicuous—as a fake moustache. 

Grade: B+


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