Directed and screenplay by Sooraj R. Barjatya
This feels like a newer, poorer version of a combination of Bobby and Kabhi Kabhie, like when they remade the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse at Disneyland into Tarzan’s treehouse—maybe the new thing has some good parts, but it’s just not the same. The twist on the poor girl/rich boy/family refusing their blessing is that the fathers of the lovebirds used to be best friends, but now the father of Prem, the boy, is disdainful of his former friend because he is so rural and without pretension. The love story doesn’t feel like the true focal point of the film, although that is what the film spends all of its time and songs on. For me, the most interesting piece of the story is how the father of Suman, the main girl, and the mother of Prem still feel a deep friendship for each other. The actors playing these roles show the greatest acting (several others overact or just act to stock character standards), especially the mother of the boy. Reema Lagoo has a face that has just the right level of expressiveness. She has a quiet, calm, happy presence until she is upset, and then she is able to show deep soul hurt, still in the same quiet way. I know this movie was very popular, and people liked Bhagyashree, the main actress—it was her first starring role but she never became a big star after that—but I found her annoying. She has huge lips and is over-aware of her own beauty—which always lessens beauty. It’s like she thinks making any expression more energetic than placid happiness might smudge her makeup.
Song Highlights: The main song, “Kabutar ja ja,” is the most recognizable. In it, Suman sends her pet dove with a message of love to Prem—the song goes through the entire message-writing, flying, and sending back of a message. It’s odd how this movie had the same composer as Hum Aapke Hain Koun, yet that movie had 14 great songs (AND song numbers—the song placement is just as important) and this movie barely had one.
Tidbits: This movie has many of the same cast and crew as Hum Aapke Hain Koun—same director, composer, and several of the same stars, most prominently Salman Khan (as Prem). One plot point has Salman’s character working at a quarry, which is a great excuse for him to take off his shirt. Be still my heart. Salman’s at his peak of physical beauty here. Since then he’s bulked up to a sort of disgusting degree (and he’s also pretty enraptured with his own handsomeness: See “beauty, which always lessens”). He still looks amazing by HAHK, but I like him here with just a tad less muscle.
Rating: This movie unfortunately uses several “stereotypes”—when the guys punch each other in a fight, it sounds like a cheap synthesizer gunshot sound. The dancing looks staged and unnatural (see Hum Aapke Hain Koun for how this doesn’t have to happen). Too much overacting. Too many stock characters.
Library Collection: Not really of any historical significance, but could be a good addition to a popular collection if patrons request it.