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|April 20, 2001||
Albela is a film about two love stories separated by the interval.
And no, the love stories are not between Govinda (Tony) and Aishwarya Rai (Sonia), and Jackie Shroff (Prem) and Namrata Shirodkar (Nina).
The first story of the film is about Sonia, an Indian who lives in Austria and her first visit to India. She bumps into tourist guide Tony, who promptly falls in love with her. They sing and dance, laugh and cry, all the while making Nina intensely jealous.
Nina is Tony's childhood friend who is madly in love with Tony, but he doesn't realise it. So she is reduced to cooking and cleaning for him.
The second half of the story deals with Prem, a journalist. Sonia and Prem love each other. But Sonia's father doesn't approve of the relationship. Why? Because he hates Indians. Why? Because his wife was an Indian and she deserted him and their one-year old daughter, for no apparent reason.
There starts the tug-of-war between Tony and Prem, with Sonia being the first prize and Nina, the consolation prize.
The film is pleasantly enjoyable. Period. Classic it is not. Don't even attempt to analyse it -- Albela is full of loopholes.
For example, Sonia calls Prem "poor", when he has all the money to frequent Vienna and India, just for a story. And it doesn't seem like the trips are all expenses paid, because no company is ever mentioned.
Tony calls his two-storied bungalow a 'kholi' and 'jhopri'! Strange that a tour guide can afford such a luxurious house in small town Malaga, Goa.
But the one that really takes the cake is when Sonia's father (Sayeed Jafri), who spends 23 years hating his wife, thinking her to be a betrayer believes, in the wink of an eye, that she was actually a very sacrificing woman who deserted them for a very virtuous reason.
Surprising also that Sonia, a rich girl from Austria, gives so much liberty to and pays so much attention to Tony who is, after all, just a tour guide. The only sightseeing they do in the whole film is go to the beach (which overlooks her hotel) and a temple.
Besides, Deepak Sareen can't seem to keep track of the fact that Sonia came to Malaga to find her mother's grave -- she never actually does search for it. She is too busy looking good!
The acting couldn't have been worse!
Aishwarya, as usual, is a visual treat. The film is just another ramp for her to display her exquisite designer clothes. If only she paid more attention to her acting.
Govinda is atrociously overweight, and has a tendency to mouth his dialogues as if everyone in the theatre had lost their hearing. On the other hand, Jackie Shroff steals the show -- no bulging bags under his eyes, and the actor looks good.
Namrata Shirodkar is hardly present in the film. When she is, all she does is cry. So making out whether she can act or not is rather tough.
The music, however, is the saving grace of the film. Jatin-Lalit have composed pretty good music. Haiya hoo kya masti, sung by Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik is one of the best. Pyaar ka jadoo sung by Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan follows suit.
Manmohan Singh's cinematography is really good, though one wonders what all the foreign locales are doing in the middle of the film, when it is supposed to be set in Malaga.
Deepak Sareen (of Aaina fame) probably didn't think of making anything more than a family entertainer, which is exactly what this film is.
Piece of advice: Buy the audio cassette of Albela. More paisa vasool.
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