The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, November 17, 2002
Lead Article

On the sands of time: 1990
Year of filmi masterpieces

M. L. Dhawan

Aamir Khan and madhuri in Dil
Aamir Khan and Madhuri in Dil

LATA MANGESHKAR’S Lekin was about a restless and tormented soul, Rewa (Dimple Kapadia) yearning for liberation in the haunted palace of Raja Param Singh of Jasod. Samir (Vinod Khanna) encountered her when he was deputed to salvage valuables from the sealed palace. Rewa recreated her past and brought alive her tragic story. With the help of Samir, Rewa finally completed the hazardous journey through the desert that had claimed her life on Earth. Lata’s alluring vocals created sheer magic in Yara sili sili, Suniyo ji araj mahari, O babula hamar, Kesariya balma mohe banwari bolen log re and Main ek saddi sey baithee hoon. The film was a celluloid classic and won critical encomiums and five national awards.

In Sai Paranjpye’s Disha, two agricultural labourers, Vasant (Nana Patekar) and Soma (Raghuvir Yadav), uprooted by drought went to Bombay in search of greener pastures. After some time, Vasant went to his village on an unannounced visit and found that his wife Phoolwanti (Shabana Azmi) had become the mistress of the factory owner where she worked. In his presence, the factory owner entered the house as if it were his own. Crestfallen, the cuckolded husband renounced the village to doomed apathy behind machines in Bombay. Soma returned to his village in triumph when his madcap brother (Om Puri) struck water in the well he had been digging for the past fifteen years.

Govind Nihalani’s Drishti was a marital melodrama dealing with the problems and predicaments of an urban couple from an intellectual milieu in Bombay. Sandhya (Dimple Kapadia) was employed by a publisher and her husband Nikhil (Shekhar Kapoor) was a research scientist. Sandhya felt attracted towards a singer while Nikhil had an affair with Vrinda. After eight years of marriage, the couple agreed to divorce each other without making much ado about whose child Sandhya was pregnant with. Years later, the couple met again and Sandhya convinced Nikhil that the aborted child was his.


They became friends — if not a couple — who had learnt from their experience. Shabana Azmi lent a feminist sensibility to her character. Inder Kumar’s Dil was a love story of Raja (Aamir Khan) and Madhu (Madhuri Dixit), who was aggressively modern and at the same time traditional. Ignoring the cold shoulder that Raja offered her after she tried to falsely implicate him in a rape charge, she decided to marry Raja, despite family opposition. Madhuri stole the thunder as a college student who conjured up pranks and ganged up against the boys but Aamir Khan’s mock rape scene had, perhaps, too much studied earnestness.

Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashique was a film without big stars and without popular ingredients but was still a big grosser at the box office. Rahul (Roy), a pop singer fell in love with an orphan girl Anu (Aggarwal) living in a hostel run by warden (Tom Alter). But Rahul’s pride takes a beating when Anu became a celebrity model. Ultimately, true love triumphed when a struggling Rahul cut a disc that made him a star overnight. At a time when beat-oriented scores ruled the roost, Nadeem-Shravan created ripples with Nazar ke samne, and Ab tere bin jee lenge hum.

In Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Ghayal through the character of Balwant Singh (Amrish Puri), who met with a gruesome end at the hands of Ajay (Sunny Deol), a message was conveyed that sometimes people pay for what they do and even more for what they become.

The opening scene of Mukul Anand’s Agneepath borrowed from a poem of Harivansh Rai Bachchan depicting the modern man walking through the fire of hell to redeem this world. Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, alias ‘Bhai’, had seen his father being falsely implicated in a scandal with a prostitute and lynched by the villagers. Vijay grew up to become a gangster and joined the villain Kanchan Cheena (Danny Denzongpa) only to get him arrested. When Cheena managed his release by having an eyewitness killed, Vijay went berserk and killed him. Amitabh Bachchan won the coveted National Award for his portrayal of the fractured psyche of an underworld kingpin. As Bachchan’s experiment to act with a different voice resulted in a —fiasco, some critics called the award as and undeserving honour.

Ravi Raja’s Pratibandh revolved around an honest and upright cop Siddanth (Chirnajeevi), who often became law unto himself to punish the outlaws.