Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, or, Ruffly Dresses + Egg-Throwing=Great Movie!

"Is this movie from the seventies?" my brother asked, looking over his nephew's shoulder at Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke on the TV screen.

"No, I think it's from the early nineties," I replied.

"Which apparently is like the seventies in India," he commented, eyeing Juhi's ruffled dress with fascination.

In point of fact, HHRPK came out in 1992. The movie, which translated supposedly means "We Are Travellers on Love's Road," stars Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Sharokh, Ashrafa, and Kunal Khemu. And, all fashion faux pas aside, it's a really cute movie which falls on the kid-friendly side of things for the most part, even though it won the Filmfare Best Film award for its year.

Rahul Malhotra (Aamir) would be a serious young man under the best of circumstances, but currently he's enduring the worst. His sister and brother-in-law died in an accident, leaving him in custody of their three children: Vicky (Sharokh), Munni (Ashrafa), and Sunni (Kunal). They like to make huge messes and terrify the servants Rahul tries to fob them off on. He isn't very good with children, but that might be a small problem compared with his other conundrum. He also inherited a shirt-making sweatshop--okay, sorry, it's a factory--and has no idea how to make it turn a profit, particularly since he owes a past-due order to an unscrupulous businessman: Mr. Bagnini, whose daughter Maya is a real man-eater with an appetite for Rahul.

Into this mess comes Vaiyjanti (Juhi), an impulsive, bubbly girl of South Indian descent whose father just arranged her marriage to a Bharatanatyam dancer about whom she complains, "Every bone in his body is crooked as a camel's!" (He's also majorly effeminate, but I don't know if Bharatanatyam dancers are "supposed" to be that way or if it's just his particular character.) She runs away. At a fair she hooks up with the three children, who have sneaked out of the house after Rahul, at his wit's end, has locked them into their room and left.

Eventually, Rahul discovers that Vaiyjanti is living in his house and, after some highly unconvincing crying on her part, he hires her as a governess/maid. She's excellent with the kids, even though she can't cook, and helps him get along with Vicky, who's at the most awkward stage of puberty. Rahul notices that she's uber-cute (I mean, she's Juhi! who wouldn't?) and they begin to fall for each other.


However, the course of Love's Road never did run smooth, and soon complications ensue. After some broad physical comedy (thankfully, without the crotch-kicking that now seems obligatory for every such sequence now produced in Western film), mad truck-driving, and serious dishoom-dishoom, will all come to rights in Rahul's world? C'mon, it's a rom-com, were you ever in doubt?

This was my second Aamir movie, after Lagaan, and I have to say that I am still totally not "getting" him. Lagaan made no impression on me whatsoever--I saw it back before I became a Bolly-lover, when it was nominated for the Oscar, and thought, "that was...different." Probably not the reaction he was aiming for. In HHRPK his character is very reserved for the most part, although good-hearted and kind. Juhi as Vaiyjanti totally eclipses him. Those big eyes! Those adorable dimples! That fantastic dancing! Still, when he engages in some karate action late in the movie and actually grins (I'm pretty sure for the first time), there's a second where that famed charisma lights up the screen. I haven't given up on finding a movie that does him justice--and since Dil Chahta Hai should make it here sometime next month I'm sure I'll find it.

As I said, this movie definitely caters to children's tastes, with lots of messy action, goofy dancing, and physical humor. Plus the child actors (who are very good, by the way) definitely have a lot to do. Bearing that in mind, I asked my own personal nine-year-old (my son) for his take on the movie:

"It's a sweet story. I like this movie. I think it looks good. My favorite part is when they fly kites together because I practice with my sister's kite too. I laughed a little about the egg-throwing. Munni (the sister) is my favorite person in the movie. That's it, I'm done."

I don't have much to say after that succinct summary, except to apologize for the lack of pictures and say that veracious has some adorable screencaps in her post about the movie, which you can find here. In case my opinion isn't clear, HHRPK is definitely worth its price. Also I would like to add that Kunal now looks like this:

Holy cow. And that's all I got to say about that.

14 comments:

  1. I like this movie! especially the last scene where they get married is SOOOO OTT :D
    I cant get over Kunal turning out like that either- I had heard about it, but it never sank in for me until ur pictorial depiction...:D

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  2. I know, Sweta, and you have to love the scene where everybody and their dog is trying to convince Juhi's dad to relent. SO AWESOME in the best campy way. :-D

    And yeah, Kunal made my jaw drop. Wow.

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  3. This will forever be a favorite because it was the first Juhi movie I saw and I loved her so.

    She's just so awesome. I was tired of giggly. Even Kajol is giggly.

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  4. Memsaab, this was my first Juhi movie too! I had seen her in the behind-the-scenes stuff before Asoka but that's it till HHRPK. And I think she rocks. She can definitely hold her own with the biggest guys in Bollywood. So much charisma!

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  5. ajnabi!
    Loved the kid review within your review, especially the "that's it I'm done," NICE!

    Amir's martial arts at the end of the movie were GREAT! This was also the first movie where I got my "What's up with all those talent shows in Indian movies?" question, since I'd seen it like 10times already in other movies. I should maybe give this another watch and do some screen caps on that talent show.

    I also really liked the part with you and your brother talking about the 70s-90s warp: " 'Which apparently is like the seventies in India,' he commented, eyeing Juhi's ruffled dress with fascination." L to the O to the L!

    OK, I will confees the same to you about Amir, I think I saw Lagaan first and then this movie, which I loved, but didn't quite get the appeal. My "switch" movie for Amir was "Raja Hindustani" which also stars a mini Kunal. I remember thinking that kid looked familiar. Kunal plays a bigger part in Raja Hindustani than in HHRPK. Also, "Raja Hindustani" has a dazzling ending that made me want to call child protection. :)

    All the best,
    Sita-ji

    p.s.
    I had such a love for that movie I did a couple posts here:

    http://bollywoodfoodclub.wordpress.com/2007/12/27/video-of-the-day-pardesi-pardesi-from-raja-hindustani-1996/

    http://bollywoodfoodclub.wordpress.com/2007/12/28/video-of-the-day-tere-ishq-mein-nachenge-from-raja-hindustani-1996/

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  6. Haha, Sita-ji, I thought you would like his perspective. :-) And yeah, I always love to hear people's WTF??? reaction when all they catch is ten seconds of a random BW film.

    I still need to see Raja Hindustani; I've heard something about a papoose pack and flying bullets but can't remember if I got any specifics. LOL I'm going to check out your posts.

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  7. Did you know that this was a remake of a Cary Grant and Sophia Loren-starrer Houseboat? I personally prefer Juhi to Sophia Loren, any day! :-) Cant say I found the kids in HHRPK too lovable, though.

    To get Aamir's appeal, you need to have been living in India in the late 80s and early 90s - he was the only cute looking guy in Hindi movies at that time and as such was a huge success. My favorite Aamir movie was Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin which was a remake of It Happened One Night (I talked about both in this post). But his chocolate-boy good looks havent aged very well and though Lagaan was a great movie, I cant get his appeal anymore, either!

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  8. Bollyviewer--I still think I must be missing something since online friends who've just been introduced to BW are as fascinated with Aamir as long-time fans! LOL I've never seen Houseguest but I've heard of it of course--didn't know this was a remake. I can't imagine Hindi movies with a shortage of cute guys--what a weird time that must've been!

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  9. It was a wierd time and I am sooooo glad that its well past! :-)

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  10. Hi Ajnabi: Really enjoyed your review! Like how you've personalized it!

    This was among the best movies of Aamir's early career years. Its music was great too. That Juhi overshadowed Aamir in a way is a testament to his acting. I've always believed what makes Aamir so good is that he is willing to take a backseat to let the film do the talking. This is characteristic in some of his more recent films too: Taare Zameen Par, Rang De Basanti, Dil Chahta Hai, and others (including Lagaan, I think), where it is not all about him (other actors of his position wouldn't consider taking these roles).

    This focus on the whole, his versatility (e.g. he excelled in being a villager in 1893 and a businessman in Australia in less than two months in 2001!) and his attention to detail, are what makes me a fan at least :)

    Keep watching some of his films, and you will appreciate these qualities (and 'get it') soon enough. :o) I'm with Sita-ji on Raja Hindustani, and you'll see great performances in Dil Chahta Hai and Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin too.

    As for actors in the late 1980s and early '90s...my girlfriends back then (granted, most were in elementary and middle school, given that's where I was too, lol) thought the likes of Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Govinda (I liked him for his good taste -- the wonderful and fabulous Neelam!), Kumar Gaurav, Chunky Panday -- each was very popular during that time -- were all pretty decent-looking in their own right. =)

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  11. bollyviewer--I am too! What would BW be without my chocolate heroes? ;-)

    BollywoodFan--thanks! I figured (because of your profile pic) that you'd have something to say about Aamir. My problem is that I have *so* much to catch up on, given that I only started watching BW movies last...December, I think? It's hard to keep track. Agree with you that it is a testament to his acting that he lets the character stay true to itself rather than hogging the spotlight regardless. His attention to detail, at least the way he talks about it in the (few) interviews I've seen, remind me more of what's expected from an American actor, which is interesting. Not saying superior, just interesting! :-)

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  12. What? My dumb comment didn't go through?

    Thanks for the recap. I need to rewatch this film. Loved it. Aaaah yes, Kunal Khemu!

    I agree with thebollywoodfan above because I watched Bolly films in the 80s and 90s - love Govinda! I need to review some older films. I know I keep reviewing newer films

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  13. Nicki--If you'd review some older Govinda films I'd be forever grateful. I don't know what's worth watching and what isn't, and the only thing I've seen him in is Salaam-e-Ishq!

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  14. Oh yes, Ajnabi, you can count on me to have thoughts on Aamir Khan films! :) Good luck with all the catching up, and enjoy!

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