June 7, 2002 
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Meet Bollywood's Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan
In the much inspired Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai.

Sukanya Verma

Recycling seems to be the sacred mantra of the Karan Johars, Subhash Ghais and Yash Chopras.

Sad that top rung filmmakers like these repeat their own formulae film after film. And so, Yash Raj Films' Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai religiously treads the oft-beaten path.

Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai opens at Mumbai's Gateway of India with Sanjay aka Sanju (Uday Chopra) and Ria (Bipasha Basu) discussing why a man and woman can never be friends because 'love' always enters the scene --- a la Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.

Of course, Crystal blamed sex and not love, but this is a Hindi film, remember?

Things are going fine for roomies Sanju and Ria until the former receives a call from his childhood best friend Anjali aka Anju (Sanjana), about her forthcoming marriage. Startled, Sanju realises, thanks to some prodding from Ria, that he has been in love with Anjali all his life. A go-getter of sorts, Sanju resolves to break this wedding. He packs his bags and sets out for Dehradun.

Uday Chopra and Sanjana in MYKSH
Sanju starts playing his cards immediately to win the favour of Anjali's large and overtly affectionate clan, comprising a Vastu Shastra crazy aunt (Bindu), depressed bachelor uncle (Saurabh Shukla), caricaturish grandmother (Dina Pathak), hoity-toity sister (Tanaaz Currim), and ideal mommy-daddy (Alok Nath, Neena Kulkarni).

Sanjay's worst fears come true when he comes face to face with Anjali's fiancι Rohit (Jimmy Shergill). NRI Rohit is handsome, God-fearing and a doctor by profession. In short, a complete antithesis of the manipulative and mischievous Sanju.

Sanju attempts to tarnish Rohit's squeaky clean reputation by baiting him into a bachelor party, where Anjali finds her would-be hubby, shaking butt with the sultry Shamita Shetty (in a guest appearance). Sensing that Sanjay is scheming to wreck his marriage, Rohit confronts him. A brief 'she is mine' match later, the duo decides to keep pursuing lady Anjali and let her decide who she wants.

Ria arrives on the scene and convinces Sanju to pose as couple in love, to make Anjali jealous. So far so good.

Then, 12 hours before D-day, matters come to a head.

Who gets Anjali? Is Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai worth finding out?

If you thought Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai was an Indianised version of the superhit romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney and Rupert Everett My Best Friend's Wedding, think again.

While the basic plot derives inspiration from the Hollywood flick, here are a few other creative prods: the made-for-each-other concept of Dil Toh Pagal Hai; the winning-over-the-family idea from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge; the underdog sympathy from Rangeela; the guy-and-girl-cannot-be-just-friends philosophy from When Harry Met Sally; the we-are-a-happy-joint-family motto from Hum Aapke Hain Koun; the Anjali-is-mine attitude from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; and the cat and mouse game played by Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) in the television sitcom Friends.

Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai borrows too much for its own good.

Sanjana and Jimmy Shergil in MYKSH
But the spontaneous performances of Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai's exuberant cast makes up for the above mentioned non-originality. Owing to his author-backed role, Uday Chopra has an obvious advantage over the rest of cast. Chopra is sincere and excels in comic sequences and his onscreen camaraderie with Bipasha Basu.

Bipasha in a special appearance does not disappoint either. Till now seen only in dramatic roles (Ajnabee, Raaz), Basu has a flair for comedy.

Jimmy Shergill as Rohit is an extension of his Karan in Mohabbatein. Shergill seems struck with a prominent Shah Rukh Khan hangover.

Newcomer Sanjana exudes confidence and poise, but lacks a captivating screen presence.

For director Sanjay Gadhvi, this film is a step ahead from his eminently forgettable debut, Tere Liye. Composer duo Jeet-Pritam's lilting score, especially tracks like Resham si hai yeh hawaayen and Sharara are soothing. Crisp editing (V Karnik, Ritesh Soni), smooth cinematography (Sunil Patel), and innovative art direction (Sharmishta Roy) make for a visual feast.

Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai is good, lighthearted, clean entertainment. It might just prove a welcome break from the two films on Shaheed Bhagat Singh releasing the same day.


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