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|June 17, 1999||
As in innumerable films, the story's about a love triangle. But the subject has been handled well and the actors perform up to par. Ah, before we forget, it's also a tearjerker.
Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) is a daughter of a royal singer (Vikram Gokhale). In the opening scene we catch the heroine engaged in a boisterous game, giving us idea about her temperament. And it emerges that she's playful, hot-tempered, outspoken and a little spoilt. And she believes she has the right to choose her husband since she's the one getting married.
Sameer (Salman Khan) comes down from Italy to learn singing from the father and falls in love with the daughter. He also is picturised as a mischievous type, for whom dancing and singing is all that matters. That seems to exasperate the girl at times.
Then Vanraj learns about Sameer and decides he doesn't want to live with a woman who's plighted her troth to someone else. So he takes her to Italy with the intention of dumping her on Sameer...
The film is replete with festivities. First there's Diwali, then a marriage, and then a kite-flying festival. There is colour everywhere. And it's a happy atmosphere most of the time with people singing and dancing and joking.
Rajasthan and Budapest have been exploited to the fullest here. Even the desert looks beautiful in its starkness and the mud walls of the houses have been livened up with clothes in bright colours.
Salman is endearing. He does tend to ham in the dramatic scenes but looks very comfortable doing comedy and those romantic scenes. He is especially good when he comes to the haveli for the first time and meets the singer. Asked to sing, he does an impromptu jig right there in the dining room and manages to draw some laughs.
Ajay's role reminds you of one he did in another film, Pyar Tho Hona Hi Tha. There he is searching for the boyfriend of the girl he secretly loves. But intense scenes are his forte and he does well here. He's particularly good in the scene where he gets exasperated with his wife's stubbornness and strives to keep his cool.
The surprise in the film is that siren of the yesteryear Helen, who also acted in Bhansali's Khamoshi where she played Manisha's grandmother and Nana Patekar's mother. She plays Salman's mother this time.
The nicest things about this film are the songs and the cinematography. Ismail Darbar's songs are well-researched and he has relied heavily on Rajasthani folk music. The song Aankhon is gustakhiyan is beautifully picturised. Another good song is the title song. Dholi taro, which comes bang in the middle of a serious scene, tends to jar. By itself, again, like the other songs, it's beautifully picturised.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has proved again that he has mastered emotional subjects. This film, like his first one, is sensitively handled and keeps things tight, concentrating on just three characters. The rest just come and go. He has avoided digressing into the cliches other films wallow in -- khandan ki izzat and all that.
There are some cliches on view, like the scene wherein the heroine is in a quandary during the karva chauth ceremony, since she is in love with someone else. Another is the meeting of the husband and the lover, without knowing each other's identity. The husband doesn't even bother to learn the other man's name. There are more but we needn't go on about it.
Throughout the film, the pace is maintained nicely and though it gets heavy at times, there are jokes to relieve lighten things up. Fortunately, there are no bumbling comedians.
The one serious complaint against this film could be that it's too long, lasting all of three hours. But otherwise, it's one nice movie.
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