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15 Years of ‘Phir Hera Pheri’ and We Are Still Laughing

A mad trio, a bag full of money and an unending legacy

Tanushi Bhatnagar Jun 11, 2021

(from left) Sunil Shetty, Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar in a still from 'Phir Hera Pheri' (2006)

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Whether or not you had watched Phir Hera Pheri as a kid, you probably watched it after the ocean of memes that flooded social media. The 2006 comedy film was dug up more than 10 years after its release only to become a viral pop culture phenomena in the country, alongside the first 2000 outing starring Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal. 

A milestone in Indian comedy, it has given us countless iconic moments that we relate to on a good sunny day and even on a rainy one. Phir Hera Pheri and its prequel Hera Pheri literally are flag-bearers of Indian comedy so much so as to make a cult for themselves even 15 years later – and rightly so. 

The making of Phir Hera Pheri wasn’t as smooth going. Priyadarshan, the director of Hera Pheri, refused to create a sequel in fear of dulling its magic, and thus Neeraj Vohra was brought in. The film was punctuated by absurd deadpan humor delivered by the bonkers trio of Baburao, Raju and Shyam sharing the screen once again. Released on June 6th, 2006, they haven’t left our minds ever since.

The charm of Phir Hera Pheri not only comes from the nonsensical comedy but also from its soundtrack. The cult classic becomes even funnier and more dramatic when it is combined with songs like “Aye Meri Zohrajabeen” and “Mujhko Yaad Sataye Teri.” Although the sonic quality isn’t something you’d count as laugh-worthy, the choreography of the characters lends a whole new meaning. 

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Interestingly, the movie Hera Pheri, a huge success, was a remake of a Malayalam comedy film Ramji Rao Speaking. Naturally, one would expect its sequel to follow the same storyline but in contrast, it is loosely based on the 1998 British crime-comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Featuring an ensemble cast — Johnny Lever, Rajpal Yadav, Viju Khote, Suresh Menon, Sunil Pal and more — the movie succeeded in making a half-cocked, disconnected story work wonders. 

Between the two films, there are countless meme pages across social media, viral stills doing rounds in our phones and even Whatsapp reaction stickers in circulation based on the legendary characters. Akshay Kumar led scenes like “Zor zor se bolke sab ko scheme batade” and “50 rupaya kaat overacting ka,” which are just two among numerous oft-uttered dialogues from the movie and now are a part of everyone’s daily lingo. This is just the tip of the iceberg when we look at how deeply ingrained Phir Hera Pheri is in pop culture but it is not going away anytime soon – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Watch ‘Phir Hera Pheri’ on Netflix.

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