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|January 8, 2000||
Aamir is the star attraction
Mela once again proves that originality is dead in our films. It also makes us wonder how many more remakes we will have to see of The Seven Samurai before our film-makers exhaust that particular story. Though director Dharmesh Darshan has tried to innovate by mixing in the story of Caravan, it is still old wine in new bottle.
The similarity to Caravan, though, is retained only up to the point where the girl, who is escaping from the clutches of a bad man, hitches a ride in a truck owned by a golden-hearted duo. At which point, we move on to Sholay. For the golden-hearted duo just stop short of singing Yeh dosti hum nahin chodenge.
The main story is that of The Seven Samurai, with the devastated heroine Rupa (Twinkle Khanna) vowing revenge on Gujjar (fight director Tinnu Verma in his first-ever role), the villain who murdered her brother. And, while on the run, she bumps into Kishan Pyare (Aamir Khan) and Shankar Shane (Faisal Khan) -- the golden-hearted, friendly duo who immediately seem ready to give their lives for her. As for the reason why -- we could not even take a guess!!
Two heroes and one heroine normally mean a triangle. But Dharshan, it seems, has decided to avoid unnecessary complications this time round. So one hero promptly proclaims himself her brother while the other, equally promptly, proceeds to fall desperately in love with her. Nice clean package, that! No tragic sacrifices, no unbearable deaths.
Aamir is the saving grace of the film. He is easy on the eye and is very endearing in his romantic, chatterbox role. Since he is a good actor, you can forgive him his impersonation of Dharmendra. He is the only one who does complete justice to his role and the main reason why one should watch this film, if one wants to.
Faisal is the silent one alright, but the credit goes to his role which is silent and brooding. Those kind of roles always make a good impression. But he still pales in comparison with his brother, who tends to steal the show.
Tinnu's role is similar to Gabbar Singh, so much so that even the names sound similar. But it is a good debut for the fight director, who is convincingly menacing.
Darshan always makes heroine-oriented films, which makes Mela a dream role for Twinkle. Unfortunately, her dubbed voice adds unnecessary drama and aggression to her role. Darshan might have decided to dub Twinkle's voice in order to make the character more authentic, but it is a gamble that has misfired. The dubbing artiste wheezes a lot and the overall effect is rather irritating.
Darshan has repeated most of his cast from Raja Hindustani, including Aamir. Karisma was unfortunate to lose out on this rather important and intense role, but her loss is Twinkle's gain. It is a known fact that Darshan likes working with different heroines. He has never repeated them -- a trend that began with his first film, Lootere, where Juhi Chawla was a big hit with her all-new glamour image.
Darshan has tried to make an entertaining film and he succeeds up to a point. He has repeated many favourite moments, including dialogues, in Mela. And added quite a pinch of masala by including the last-minute appearance of a famous star, a la Yeh Dillagi or Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.
If you think you would want to see a remake of Sholay again, go right ahead and book your tickets for Mela. But let us put in our educated guess -- if this film succeeds, it would mean that the Aamir Khan magic has worked yet again.
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