The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, August 24, 2003
Lead Article

On the sands of time: 1995
Of NRI love story & tale of riots
M.L. Dhawan

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge marked Aditya Chopraís directorial debut
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge marked Aditya Chopraís directorial debut

IN Aditya Chopraís directorial debut Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) was a pampered son of an NRI, Anupam Kher, a widower. Rajís westernised appearance and Casanova looks were just a facade, deep down he was a traditional Indian. During a tour of Europe, Raj met Simran (Kajol) and fell in love with her. Simran was the daughter of another NRI, Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri). Both NRI fathers were poles apart in their mindset. When Baldev Singh learnt about Simranís romance, overnight he whisked his family to Punjab to marry his daughter to the philandering son of an old friend. Raj followed Simran to India and though she offered to elope with him, Raj refused, insisting that he would marry her with the consent of her parents. He finally endeared himself to Simranís family and the lovers were united in holy matrimony. Melodious scores Tujh ko dekha to yeh jana sanam, Mehndi lagake rakhna, Mere khwabon mein jo aaye, Ho gaya hai tujh ko to pyar sajana etc added flavour to the film.

Ram Gopal Varmaís Rangeela depicted how fantasies can turn into reality when destiny swings oneís way. Munna (Aamir Khan) was a poor guy who sold tickets in the blackmarket. He loved Mili (Urmila Matondkar), a junior artiste who dreamt of making it a big as an actress. Luck favoured her when due to the ouster of a heroine from a film, Mili got an offer to work opposite leading film hero Kamal (Jackie Shroff). Kamal introduced Mili to a world of glamour. Mili now found herself on the horns of a dilemma as to whom she should choose between the two men who loved her. She finally chooses Munna. In Rangeela, Varma experimented with a tapori image for Aamir and the gamble paid off. Tanha tanha, Yaron sun lo zara,etc composed by A.R. Rahman were the filmís highlights.


Mansoor Khanís Akele Hum Akele Tum partly drew inspiration from Kramer vs Kramer in which a chance encounter between a hotel crooner Rohit (Aamir Khan) and an ambitious singer Kiran (Manisha Koirala) was followed by love, marriage, parenthood and then separation. The film was dismissive of the concept of an independent woman.

Mani Ratnamís Bombay set against the backdrop of the 1992 riots in Mumbai was riddled with controversies. Religious fundamentalists made a mountain out of a mole hill, objecting to the depiction of a Muslim girl Shakeela Banuís (Manisha Koirala) marriage to a Hindu, Shekhar (Arvind Swamy). When Tinu Anand led his party to full-scale reprisals against the Muslim population, the couple lost their two children in the riots. The children barely escaped being burnt alive by the rioters. Shekhar made a fervant appeal for communal harmony. Manishaís histrionic brilliance lit up the screen.

Rakesh Roshanís Karan-Arjun was a tale about reincarnation. In their first birth, Karan (Salman Khan) and Arjun (Shah Rukh Khan) were killed by the crooked and crafty Durjan Singh (Amrish Puri), who had appropriated their ancestral property. Durga (Rakhee) prayed to Goddess Kali, who responded to her pleas and her dead sons were reborn as Ajay and Vijay. Ajay and Vijay defeated the evil forces and united with their mother. The film was successful at the box office but was not a cinematic landmark.

In Inder Kumarís Raja, Madhu (Madhuri Dixit), the daughter of millionaire Rana Saheb (Mukesh Khanna), was a mixture of tradition and modernity. She had lost her heart to Raja (Sanjay Kapoor), the rich boy next door. But when by a quirk of fate, Raja lost his riches and turned a pauper, her brothers immediately called off the engagement of their sister with Raja. Years later, Madhu and Raja met again. Now Madhu tried to win back Raja.

Subhash Ghaiís Trimurti reiterated the leitmotif of revenge. Satya (Priya Tendulkar) was sent to jail when she was framed by the Kali-worshipper mystic Kooka Singh (Mohan Agashe). Her three sons grew up, one became an Army officer (Jackie Shroff) and the other two (Anil Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan) were on the pay roll of the villain. After several twists and turns, the sons succeeded in settling old scores with Kooka Singh. Despite Dolby sound and computer-aided special effects, the film was a big disaster at the box office. Critics even remarked that Ghai had lost his Midas touch.