My five favorite “buddy” pairs

I do love a good buddy film. Redford and Newman in The Sting and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, and James Caan and Billy Dee Williams in Brian’s Song (the most surefire way to get an American man to cry) illuminate those films with friendships that remain vivid long after the lights come back on.

So here are my favorite Hindi movie buddy roles—and brothers are not allowed. So…no Shashitabh here, sorry (Shashitabh probably deserve a post of their own some day).

Jai and Veeru (Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra) in Sholay (1975):
This is of course the definitive buddy movie, as iconic as the Hollywood films mentioned above, and “Yeh Dosti” is the anthem for male friendship. My favorite scene is Jai going to Basanti’s aunt to plead Veeru’s suit and telling her all about his faults instead. It’s brilliant on so many levels, and Amitabh is hilarious. And who doesn’t sob as Jai dies in Veeru’s arms after making a lone stand against Gabbar’s men, enabling Veeru to escape with his Basanti.

Munna and Circuit (Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi) in Munna Bhai MBBS (2003) and Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006):
Two great movies with one great buddy pair. No matter what Munna asks of Circuit, he does his best to deliver. It’s impossible to imagine one without the other. My favorite scene between them is in Lage Raho when Munna asks Circuit to forgive him for slapping him, but it’s followed closely by many many others.

Dr. Banerjee and Anand (Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna) in Anand (1970):
A terminally ill patient teaches his doctor how to live life to its fullest extent, bringing love, joy and laughter into every day he has left. My favorite scene is the one where Anand somberly explains to Banerjee that he sees his approaching death on Banerjee’s face every day—it’s so moving—and then a minute later makes him laugh by acting the clown.

Raja and Rana (Ashok Kumar and Pran) in Victoria No. 203 (1972):
An exceedingly complicated plot and bad wigs don’t prevent Ashok Kumar and Pran from stealing the show as Raja and Rana, two jailbirds who immediately find themselves in trouble again upon their release from jail. My favorite scene…is pretty much any time they are on screen together. They completely overshadow the lead pair of Saira Banu and Navin Nischol.

Vinod and Sudhir (Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani) in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983):
Two hapless photographers struggling to run their own studio take a job for a newspaper editor and are unwittingly drawn into murder, bribery and corruption. These two are quintessential geeks who bumble and argue their way through the mayhem. My favorite scene is their disruption of the Draupadi scene on stage in front of the audience. A dark but funny film.

Who are your favorite dosti?

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27 Comments to “My five favorite “buddy” pairs”

  1. Aamir and Salman “Andaz apna apna”.
    Dharmendra and Vinod in the forgotten “Burning Train”
    Shashi, amitabh in “Do aur do paanch”
    Aamir, saif, Akshay: “Dil Chahta Hai”
    Aamir, Siddharth, Sharman, Kunal: “Rang De basanti”

    After writing my list, i saw that some of these have the guys as rivals more than friends, but it works for me :)

  2. As long as they end up friends! Great list Shweta. I particularly loved “The Burning Train”…what a great film.

  3. Great post Memsaab. Love your selection – hadnt thought of most of these movies as buddy films but now that you point it out its clear! :-)

    Very few movies can match Sholay for buddy-ism. It would make it to the top of my list anytime but here are some who get close:

    Saif and Akshay Kumar in ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’
    Saif and Shahrukh in ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’
    Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty in ‘Hera Pheri’
    Om Puri, Nasseruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, etc., in ‘China Gate’
    Raj Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar in ‘Do Jasoos’

  4. I started off with this not thinking in terms of buddy movies, but just of some of the “buddies” I’ve loved in film. But…called it a post about buddy movies anyway.

    Love your list too, although I haven’t seen several of the films in it! So many movies, so little time…

  5. Although they are three instead of two – the lads of “Dil Chahta Hai” get my vote. I just saw this one recently, but the friendship that grows between Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan in “Jann-e-Mann” is really nice.

    (And now I have to see “Victoria No. 203” – Saira, Pran, AND Ashok! I’m sold.)

  6. In addition to the Aamir Khan films Shweta mentioned, I really liked Aamir’s dosti with Toby Stephens in Mangal Pandey (2005).

    Salman Khan and Laxmikant Berde in Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) were great too. Maybe Salman and Govinda in Partner (2007).

    On an unrelated note…been listening to your Amit Kumar recommendations. I’d listened to the songs to Love Story (1981) before (they’re very popular), just didn’t know it was Amit! Thanks again.

  7. Filmi Girl: I liked Jaan-e-Mann more than most people, I agree! And Dil Chahta Hai I can’t disagree with either. Maybe I should have made this a top 10 list :-)

    BollywoodFan: I’m ashamed to say that I still haven’t seen Mangal Pandey…bad Aamir fan, bad!!!

    Glad to have helped out with Amit Kumar. If you go to Earthmusic.net and do a search of his name, you’ll find lots of songs there (there’s a link to the site in my sidebar)…

  8. I forgot about “Mangel Pandey.” I just lent that out to a co-worker to try to spark a Bollywood interest. Toby Stephens and Aamir’s friendship is a very interesting one in that they are friends but Aamir remains very much in a subordinate position of power – something that Toby Stephens trys to overlook but that Aamir won’t quite let him forget.

    And, yes, “Partner” is a great friendship movie – to a point where the women are really superfluous.

  9. Am confident you’d enjoy Mangal Pandey. Agree with Filmi Girl’s comments on the friendship between Aamir and Toby there.

    What a resource in Earthmusic…thank you!

  10. No Shashitabh?! HONESTLY.

    Though you do make up for it with PRAN (!!!!!) and Ashok Kumar, also together (though not buddies) in Chori Mera Kaam. God, I love Pran so much. He’s so frickin’ awesome.

    Anyway, the PPCC has had no time to think deeply about the male jodi issue, but off the top of our heads:
    1. Shashi and Amitabh in Suhaag. Yeah, yeah, they’re brothers. We know. But they become friends so quickly and so sweetly that it just fills us up with warm honey. And when Shashi goes blind and Amitabh has to take his place as a policewallah, but teaches him – through another great anthem to friendship, Hey Yaar Sun Yaari Teri – that he can still kick ass, even blind, just… guh. And then when they discover they’re brothers – icing on the cute cake! And OMG Shashitabh cuddle way more than Jai and Veeru (see above mentioned song).
    2. Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah in Drohkaal. I was just thinking of this movie today, and this is a great example of friendship when it’s dragged through the worst moral situation imaginable. It’s mostly through Om’s internal struggle that we understand the relationship and what’s happening to it. Very notable, though not really ‘buddy-ism’ per se.
    3. Shahrukh and Shreyas in Om Shanti Om. Pappu clearly adores Om, and first act Om is so cute. Favorite scene: first, when Om and Pappu are playing dacoits on the set, and they begin reminiscing about Shanti’s first movie role. “Salaam, salaam, salaam…!” Also, when the reborn Om recites the previous Om’s acceptance speech, and we cut to an elderly Pappu’s reaction. Sweet!
    4. Vinod and Amitbah in Muqaddar ka Sikandar. I’m surprised this didn’t make your cut, Memsaab! But I guess Muqaddar is the downerest downers in the history of forever. So not really good for buddying. And indeed V and A’s friendship is all spikey with love triangles, but the finale – when Vinod cradles Amitabh in his arms and sings, “Zindagi to bevafa hai…” The PPCC. Guh. We just cries and cries.
    5. Roshan Seth and Ben Kingsley in Gandhi. OK, not really Hindi anymore, I know. But the last time I watched this, my girlfriends and I could not stop hooting at how much love was going on between Gandhi and Nehru. Just, guh! Such good vibes! Such love! And Roshan’s eyes, so big and soulful. Love Roshan. Anyway, favorite scene: when Nehru comes to tell Gandhi that the rioting has stopped, and everyone is just hoping for Gandhi to call off the hunger strike, and even the British soldiers are asking that Gandhi call off the strike. And so Gandhi says, “Maybe I overdid it,” and Nehru laughs and then breaks down and cries. Guh. Best scene in the film.

  11. Filmi Girl: Women superfluous???!!! In a Hindi movie???!!! LOL

    BollywoodFan: yes, I’ve learned a lot at Earthmusic. It’s quite wonderful. Kaustubh.com is equally great, between the two sites every single Hindi movie song must be covered!

  12. ppcc peep: I know, I know, but I did point out that Shashitabh would merit an entire post by itself! I figured if I didn’t eliminate brother love I wouldn’t be able to wade through enough of those to get to actual friendships. Not to mention brothers who are friends without knowing they are brothers! Dear lord.

    And seriously, Pran rules over everything.

    Muqaddar Ka Sikandar is not one of my faves–as you seem to realize, I don’t like to be depressed by films. I will need to look for Drohkaal, I have not seen (or heard of) it before! Thanks :-)

    Everyone has posted such great lists! Yay!!!!

  13. Pran really is awesome.

    Also, re: Partner, perhaps I should have said ‘more superfluous than usual.’ :D

    Even in buddy movies like “Sholay” or “Hera Pheri” (old and new) the ladies get at least one good scene or moment. Katrina Kaif is just a non-entity in “Partner”.

  14. Muquaddar ka Sikandar kills me too- damned depressing.
    I am totally for Bolywodofan’s “Salman Khan and Laxmikant Berde in Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)”- that was some good stuff.Also love ppcc’s “Roshan Seth and Ben Kingsley in Gandhi”- I can watch that movie (and I have) 2 million times, and still love it.

  15. good list! but where are the female buddies???

  16. nice post, memsaab! my top five would probably be identical to yours.

    ppcc peep makes a good point about drohkaal. quite an amazing movie, that one. and watching om and naseer together is ample reward in itself, even if you discount the buddy factor.

    a few other candidates that stood out in my mind: rahul bose and sanjay suri in jhankaar beats, bhiku mhatre and satya in satya, amitabh and pran in zanjeer.

    ~r

  17. Female buddies will be another post…they take a little more thought, sadly. Women are generally in conflict with each other (competing for the hero!). But I’ll put my thinking cap on for it :-) Suggestions always welcome!

  18. Nice post :) (and very nice blog ;)).

    I simply adore Vinod-Amitabh duo, so most of my buddy types will be from their films :).
    First of all – V & A in funny “Hera Pheri” – for me it’s an epitome of friendship. Or something even more then friendship ;]. Then guys in stylish “Khoon Pasina”, mischievous “Zameer” (however Vinod’s part here is very small) and tragic “Muqaddar ka Sikandar” – in all these films there’s pure chemistry between them!

    &
    (obviously) Dharam & Amit in eternal “Sholay”
    Dharam & Vinod in my beloved “Burning Train”
    Vinod & Kabir Bedi in dacoit “Kuchhe Dhaage” (their relation here is quite strange and it’s rather hard to call it friendship, but still it’s very interesting :))
    Vinod & Feroz (& Amjad Khan ;D) in “Qurbani” (although Feroz is not as emotional as he should be)
    Aamir & Toby in “Mangal Pandey”

    And one type from Kollywood – Vikram & Surya in heartrending and totally depressing (but beautiful) “Pithamagan”.

  19. Shammi Kapoor and Rajendranath in Rajkumar!

  20. OMG!!!! What kind of Shammi fan am I???? How could I NOT have put Shammi and Rajendranath in here! They were hysterical together. Thanks for pointing out my grave error :-)

    And more great ones from tao paipai (I do so wish I could read your blog ;-)

  21. Great subject, and I love your picks. I’m definitely with you on Dharmendra and Amitabh in ‘Sholay’. I’m looking forward to the post on female buddies – I can already think of some that I love….

    Other commenters have already mentioned some of my favourite male buddy roles: Dharmendra and Vinod in ‘The Burning Train’, which is my absolute favourite Dhamendra movie; the guys from ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, the guys from ‘Partner’ (I also liked the friendship between Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Fardeen Khan in ‘Heyy Babyy’ – there’s a lot about the film that’s so… wrong, but I liked the ‘realness’ of the friendship), SRK and Shreyas Talpade in ‘Om Shanti Om’.

  22. Ahh, far too many to choose from. :)

    Sholay, DCH, Rang De Basanti (this film reminds of the kind of friends I have and would love to have more of), Hera Pheri (my memories are vague but I remember adoring Akshay-Sunil), Saif-Akshay in Keemat, Dharam-Amitabh in Chupke Chupke, Mangal Pandey, Dharam-Veer, JBDY..

    I didn’t absolutely adore The Burning Train but Dharam-Vinod were pretty awesome in it, yes.

    And I must second tao paipai’s Kollywood pick of Pithamagan. :)

  23. Your list is so perfect. i can hardly add anything.
    close run ups would be Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Varma in Angoor. That makes even two pairs there.
    Amitabh-Rajesh Khanna in namak haram
    difficult to decide between Anand and NH
    The triplets of Dil Chahta hai are great.

    Thank god nobody mentioned the “Dosti” pair.
    How about Dharmendra and Rehman in Dil ne phir yaad kiya? *lol*

  24. Asides from some of the ones you’ve mentioned above, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan in Main Khiladi Tu Anari which i saw quite recently and i’m in love with

    • I haven’t seen any of the Khiladi films (I know! I know!)…I am sadly behind on the Sakshay front, and after sitting through Singh is Kinnnngggggg and Kambakkht Ishq I have developed a violent allergy to Akshay. So I may never get there :(

  25. Dharmendra and Shatrughan Sinha deserve a mention here.

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