TVM International's KAROBAAR is the story of a middle class man, Amar (Rishi Kapoor), who has just finished law and lives with his step-brother and sister-in-law, who always complains about him being a burden on them.
Amar meets Seema (Juhi Chawla), who is also a middle class girl. The two fall in love and all seems to be going well till they meet Rajiv (Anil Kapoor), a rich businessman who believes that everything and everybody can be bought at a price.
Rajiv is Amar's schoolmate who helps him secure a modelling job in the advertising company he owns. Rajiv, with the show of his wealth, has always had girls swarming around him. When Rajiv meets Seema, he tries to impress her too, which she rudely rebuffs, stating that she is in love with Amar, and as a friend he should respect and accept this fact.
Rajiv, who has never been turned down by a woman, retreats with injured pride, but only to emerge determined to possess Seema. He pursues her and even throws a challenge to Amar that he will one day prove to him that there is no such thing as love.
Threatened and angry, Amar and Seema get married, thinking that they will escape from Rajiv's designs, once he hears of it. Rajiv continues his pursuit of Seema and the day comes when fate compels her to approach Rajiv.
Rajiv helps Seema, only to learn that it has caused a misunderstanding between the husband and wife, who later separate.
KAROBAAR is obviously inspired by the Hollywood flick INDECENT PROPOSAL. The story holds no novelty whatsoever, for a Hindi film had already been attempted earlier ? SAUDA ? which was rejected at the box-office since the still-orthodox Indian audience couldn't identify with the idea of the wife agreeing to barter her body for money.
KAROBAAR also moves on the same path, although the writers have tried to make a few changes in the script to justify the heroine's actions. Unfortunately, what goes against the film is the period it took to reach the theatres. The film bears a stale look throughout, which is its biggest drawback.
Another factor that goes against the film is Rishi Kapoor romancing the heroine. He looks grossly over-weight with a receding hairline and doesn't look like someone who has just graduated from a law college (in the initial reels!). The songs picturised on him hammer the fact that you are watching a product that should have hit the marquee a decade ago.
Director Rakesh Roshan has handled a few scenes admirably, but the climax is a big letdown. The writers and the director should've thought of a novel ending, instead of opting for a clich?climax. A film-maker of Rakesh Roshan's stature shouldn't have wrapped up the film with such detachment.
Nowhere in this enterprise can you see the genius of Sachin Bhaumick-Ravi Kapoor (screenplay) or the magic of Sagar Sarhadi (dialogues) at work. Either their work has been tampered with heavily, or they were equally disinterested in this film.
Another drawback of the film is its music by Rajesh Roshan. Ordinary by all standards, the music hardly contributes in moving the story ahead. Of all the numbers, just one stands out for its meaningful lyrics ? 'Aarzoo Ki Raahon Mein' ? though it cannot be termed as a hit number.
However, the locales of South Africa are a visual delight, but not sufficient to help save a predictable script.
Rishi Kapoor does not look the character he portrays. A dedicated actor like Anil Kapoor tries hard to infuse life into the film, but in vain. He suffers heavily on account of a mishmash script. Juhi Chawla prancing around like a teenager (in the initial reels!) doesn't befit her age, though she does manage to impress in certain emotional scenes. Tinnu Anand is passable.
On the whole, it is difficult to expect the viewers to swallow this subject with stars who are no longer in their prime. At the box-office, its fall is inevitable.