All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

Remember this from James Howell’s proverbs?

And we can predict that the adage is a right fit for the masses as the sorrowful dearth of comedy films and content in the contemporary media landscape, precisely OTT is on the rise and is indeed lamentable.

James Howell’s timeless words remind us of the necessity for balance, for a sprinkle of levity in the midst of our daily toil.

On a poetic note:

A life bereft of laughter is akin to a colourless canvas, lacking the vivid brushstrokes that bring it to life.

And it’s the crisis we feel lurking on our destinies as content consumers, for it is so much ‘serious’ out there.

You might say that there are comic elements in the series available, but my friends, it’s more of a ‘comic relief’ than ‘comic’ in totality.

The Culprits:

One likely is the pursuit of profit that has permeated the entertainment industry. In this cutthroat world, studios and production houses are driven by the relentless desire to fill their coffers.

Unfortunately, comedy, with its whimsical nature and subjective appeal, has become a risky bet in the eyes of those chasing financial success. They prefer to play it safe with genres that promise predictable returns, leaving comedy high and dry.

Oh, the irony of laughter becoming a victim of capitalism’s clutches! (A silent tch…)

There’s another dimension to it! Enter the digital era, where streaming platforms rule the land. While they offer an endless buffet of content, their sneaky algorithms have a mischievous side. They analyse your preferences and feed you more of the same, creating an echo chamber of comedy-less wonders.

It’s like being stuck in a never-ending loop of serious dramas and action-packed thrillers!


But there is another element that weighs heavily on our hearts—the rising tide of political correctness. In this era of sensitivity, comedians find themselves walking on a tightrope, afraid to cross boundaries or offend anyone. The fear of backlash and controversy has stifled their creative freedom, leaving us with a sanitized version of comedy. We yearn for the days when comedians fearlessly challenged societal norms, daring us to see the world through a different lens.

It’s a tragedy to witness the fading of such bold and irreverent humour.

We recall when Sharman Joshi, who’s been an epitome of comedy, told IANS how comedy’s been missing from OTT. He said, “Comedy is on top of my mind right now. I want to make people laugh with my films. Also, during the lockdown, I have realised that there is hardly any comedy happening on OTT platforms. There’s only a stock of old comedy movies and shows. I tried to find out comedy projects to watch, but hardly got anything new and exciting. So, I started watching ‘Friends’ again. So, I really feel more comedy films and shows should be made,”

And we concur! We recall the thrillers that swept the digital landscape, captivating audiences during the trying times of the pandemic. But you know, a little bit of adrenaline rush is fine, but too much of anything eventually breeds boredom.

Some sources of bright:

Films such as ‘Badai Ho’ delve into the intricate dynamics of modern families, exploring the shifting values and lifestyles of the middle class. Similarly, ‘Tumhari Sullu’ (2018) portrays the story of a housewife whose remarkable achievements often go unnoticed, yet she dares to dream big. Even when presented with significant opportunities, she maintains her identity despite entering the glamorous world of media. These films, reminiscent of the urban ‘middle-class’ cinema crafted by masters like Basu Chatterjee and Hrishikesh Mukherji, offer a relatable universe to audiences, reflecting the conflicts surrounding progress, development, and nostalgia in provincial North India (Rao, 2019).

In addition, there is a distinct breed of comedy films that skillfully incorporate contemporary social issues, shedding light on the hardships faced by marginalized individuals, the identity struggles of women, and the plight of the dispossessed, which were traditionally the domain of parallel cinema. One such example is ‘Hindi Medium,’ a comedy-drama that raises a pressing concern—how attending a prestigious school that teaches in English has become a defining status symbol in today’s consumerist society. It reinforces the prevailing belief that money can purchase social standing. The film garnered appreciation not only from Indian viewers but also from the diaspora, thanks to its universal appeal. One respondent from the United States mentioned the concept of neighbourhood schools, where quality education is often found in affluent areas, reflecting a reality familiar to them.

“While parallel cinema has historically infused political undertones into its realistic storytelling,” as observed by Gokulsing and Dissanayake (2012).

However, the new wave of comedy films, while still rooted in realism, has developed its distinct style and techniques by cleverly blending humour and laughter. This evolution has broadened the film’s viewership, particularly among the vibrant and socially conscious youth frequenting multiplexes. These audiences can engage with social issues without the need for excessive intellectualization.

Among the masses, the film resonated deeply with their host culture, as the commodification of education and the dilemmas surrounding private versus public schools are intrinsic to their lives.

By reimagining these narratives through powerful and sophisticated storytelling, these films manage to captivate and engage audiences, ensuring that critical societal issues are neither trivialized nor overlooked.

But while we definitely indulge highly in these movies, what we feel that the mass craves for the commercial comedies in the crowd, like Golmaal, Hungama (the first one), Andaz Apna Apna and more.

What we inferred:

The discourse surrounding the evolution of comedy films in popular Hindi cinema elucidates a profound metamorphosis among post-liberalization cinephiles. People now harbour immense pride in the films they partake in and the entertainment they indulge in. They ardently crave diversity and seek pleasure through a plethora of multimedia avenues. In this epoch of Bollywoodization, comedy films have blossomed into a distinct genre with an idiosyncratic identity, effectively catering to the didactic demands of the Bollywood industry.

This is evinced by the burgeoning number of comedy films that consistently achieve remarkable global box office triumphs. The soaring popularity of comedic cinema has triggered a ripple effect across other media platforms, culminating in the ascension of comedy as the favoured format of amusement in India.

Broadcasting, advertising, social media (in the form of stand-up comedy), and now OTT platforms have all enthusiastically embraced comedy as an indispensable storytelling tool. Consequently, the realm of comedic content has transcended its superficial, stress-alleviating, and frivolous origins to encompass a much broader spectrum.

Comedy films have adeptly diversified their narratives, delving into profound social quandaries and confronting the predicaments of small towns and the middle class, all while steadfastly retaining their humorous essence.

What do we miss, you ask?

A belly-shaking laughter!