The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, October 27, 2002
Lead Article

On the sands of time: 1989
Year of spell-binding films
M. L. Dhawan

Maine Pyar Kiya came like a breath of fresh air
Maine Pyar Kiya came like a breath of fresh air

VIDHU Vinod Chopraís Parinda revolved around a pyrophobic underworld don Anna (Nana Patekar) who killed his victims in cold blood, kept his men on edge and went hysterical at the sight of fire. Kishan (Jackie Shroff) was Annaís henchman. To keep his younger brother Karan (Anil Kapoor) away from crime and gore, he had sent him abroad. Karan loved Paro (Madhuri Dixit), whose brother Prakash (Anupam Kher) was a cop. When Prakash was killed in front of Karan, he came to know of his brotherís involvement with Anna. Karan joined Annaís gang and played one gang against the other. When Anna learnt of Karanís double game, he ordered his killing on his wedding night. Kishan then steps in and sets Anna ablaze. Nana Patekar earned admiration, fear and revulsion for his performance. His dialogue delivery had a whiplash ferocity that fascinated viewers. Parinda become one of the best gangster films.


Sooraj Barjatiya made his debut as a film maker with Maine Pyar Kiya ó a pristine love story set against the backdrop of a bustling family where the patriarchís word is law. Karan (Nath) goes abroad to earn money for the marriage of his daughter Suman (Bhagyashree), leaving her with his old pal Kishan (Vachhani). Suman and Prem (Salman Khan), Kishanís son, fell in love. But Kishan wanted Prem to marry the daughter of his business partner. Kishan then insulted Karan by calling him a gold-digger. Karan took Suman back to his village, but a distraught Prem follows Suman. Karan placed a condition before Prem that unless he earned a respectable sum on his own, he wonít be allowed to marry Suman. The film then showed Premís struggle to earn money. The film brought filial bonds, fraternal camaraderie, kinship and tradition centrestage once again. It came like a whiff of fresh air when violence and vulgarity ruled the roost in films.

* Subhash Ghaiís Ram Lakhan was a typical Bollywood masala movie apotheosizing the mother. Sharda (Rakhee) vowed not to immerse her husbandís ashes in holy water until her two sons took revenge of his death from the machiavellian Amrish Puri and his brood comprising Paresh Rawal, Raza Murad and gang. Ram (Jackie Shroff) who becomes an honest police officer, and Lakhan (Anil Kapoor) launched a fight-to-the-finish against the killers. Laxmikant-Pyarelalís numbers O Ramji, My name is Lakhan, Tera naam liya, Mere do anmol rattan and One two ka four were chartbusters. Jackie with his subtle performance vowed critics and the audience.

Yash Chopraís Chandni caused a lot of excitement among moviegoers. While showering flowers on his beloved Chandni (Sridevi) from a helicopter, Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) fell and was partially paralysed. He then rejected Chandni. Heartbroken, she left the city and took up a job elsewhere. She endeared herself to her new boss Lalit (Vinod Khanna). After an operation, Rohit was cured and re-entered Chandniís life when she was about to marry her boss. The O meri Chandni and Mere hathon mein nau nau churian became hits.

Pankaj Prasharís Chalbaaz was inspired by Seeta Aur Geeta but the film acquired an identity of its own on account of the double role by Sridevi. Sridevi dazzled with her daredevilry. It was her film all the way.

* Aparna Senís Sati portrayed the barbaric custom of sati. Uma (Shabana Azmi) was shown as a mute and orphaned young Brahmin girl whose horoscope predicted immediate widowhood for her in case of marriage. Thus, she was married off to a banyan tree. Later, she was seduced by a schoolmaster and became pregnant. She was ostracised by the villagers. One night, while taking shelter from a storm under the banyan tree, lightning struck and she was found dead at dawn by the side of the half-smashed tree, blood on her forehead like Sindoor. Thus, the film was a comment on the practice of Sati.

Tinu Anandís Main Azad Hoon was an unconventional film which did not fall into commercial trappings. Amitabh Bachchanís dialogue: Kitne bazoo kitne sar gin ley dushman dhiyan se became a hit.

Girish Kasaravalliís Ek Ghar was his first explicitly urban film. Rajanna (Naseeruddin Shah) and Geeta (Deepti Naval) moved into newly rented room in a compound, which also housed a motor mechanicís shop, not allowing them even a wink of sleep. Rajanna worked in a factory manufacturing bulldozers and earth-moving vehicles. As the harassed and hapless couple decide to move into a slum, these very vehicles produced by his factory are pressed into service to demolish their slums. Shahís natural performance was a complete break from the acting styles that were in vogue at that time.

Mani Kaulís Nazar was about a middle-aged antique dealer Shekhar Kapoor, who was left alone after the death of his wife, Shambhavi. He travelled back in time to examine their relationship.

J.P. Duttaís Batwara depicted Rajasthanís communal wars, the feudal lifestyle of the zamindars, the scant respect for human life and the powerful role of a charismatic leader Bade Thakur (Shammi Kapoor).