When you saunter to a theatre screening MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON, the expectations are mammoth. After all, director Sooraj R. Barjatya weaved magic in his first three films [MAINE PYAR KIYA, HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN, HUM SAATH-SAATH HAIN]. So, obviously, you expect Sooraj to recreate the magic in MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON as well.
There can only be two diverse opinions after you've seen the film ï¿½ either you'd feel that you got what you expected from the film OR the film just didn't measure up to the expectations. Either Sooraj would win the game or lose it.
Rajshri's much-awaited, keenly-anticipated MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON, directed by Sooraj R. Barjatya, falls in the first category. To be more specific, Sooraj wins the game for the fourth time!
MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON tells the story of Sanjana [Kareena Kapoor], who lives in Sunder Nagar with her parents [Pankaj Kapur, Himani Shivpuri] and her pets ï¿½ parrot Raja and dog Johny. Her elder sister Roopa [Tanaz Currim] is married and settled in the U.S.
Like it happens in most Indian families, when the girl attains marriageable age, her parents start looking out for a well-groomed and settled guy. That's what happens with Sanjana as well.
Roopa has somebody in mind who'd prove to be an ideal husband for Sanjana and what's more, he's also supposed to visit Sunder Nagar to see her, know her and interact with the family.
Enters Prem [Hrithik Roshan], who's a complete opposite of what Sanjana is. But opposites attract and Sanjana finds herself drawn towards Prem. However, there's a twist in the taleï¿½
Enters Prem's boss, his name is also Prem [Abhishek Bachchan] and he too falls in love with the charming Sanjana. The girl has to choose one of them. Who will it be?
Like his earlier films, Sooraj R. Barjatya's latest film does not have a story that is novel, original or path-breaking. This time too, the story follows the same beaten path, of two guys falling in love with the same girl. But Sooraj's handling of this oft-repeated subject is what makes all the difference.
The Rajshri tradition of wholesome and clean entertainment is evident in MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON as well. But besides the family values and typical Indian emotions, Sooraj gives the film a contemporary look.
Like Sooraj's previous films, MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON has its share of romance, light moments and songs as the story begins. But there's an undercurrent of strong emotions all through.
Some instances: The bonding between the teachers and students at the very outset or the scene when Kareena admits her love for Hrithik for the first time, as she walks out of her college or the intricate sequence between the father and daughter [Pankaj Kapur ï¿½ Kareena], when the father tells her that whatever her opinion of the boy, he's approved of him already or the Valentine Day portions, right till the intermission, have been handled brilliantly.
The turning point in the first half does come as a surprise and the interval point raises the expectations for a dramatic second half. Despite a few deficiencies, the second half comes out a winner, for it is in this half that Sooraj offers what he specialises in ï¿½ emotions.
The second half is a triumph from the director's point of view. That Sooraj is a good storyteller, who caters to the demands of the Indian movie-going audience, is well-known by now. But in MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON, it's the treatment that saves an otherwise routine story from sinking.
The second half also has a few brilliant scenes that have the unmistakable stamp of a genius. The Abhishek ï¿½ Kareena interaction and how their friendship grows or the sequence when Hrithik learns of Abhishek's engagement to Kareena and even the climax leaves you completely mesmerised.
The climax is the best part of the enterprise. In fact, the drama in the last half-an-hour, during the engagement ceremony, is brilliant. The best part is Sooraj cuts off the melodrama and comes straight to the point. The sequence when Kareena confronts Hrithik [no dialogue] is not just novel, but deserves distinction marks for the writing, treatment and execution.
Directorially, MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON is a Sooraj R. Barjatya show all the way. The technique is ordinary, the milieu ï¿½ like all Rajshri films ï¿½ is the same, plus the film has its share of sugar-sweet characters, there's a dog and also a parrot, yet everything looks just right. There're no pretensions to be 'hatke' or to cater to pseudo critics or target the festival circuit. Sooraj weaves a tale and tells it in a fashion that would appeal to the Indian at heart. For that, he deserves a 10 out of 10.
Anu Malik's music has a different sound and the best part is they've been merged beautifully in the script. Yet, one misses a hit composition like 'Didi Tera Dewar Deewana' or 'Kabutar Ja Ja Ja'. Like Sooraj's previous flicks, this one also has a string of songs, but the best ones are 'Chali Aayee', 'Premï¿½ Bani Bani', 'Aur Mohabbat Hain' and 'Ladka Ye Kehta Hain'. Well worded and well tuned, each song has been rendered with a lot of feeling. The choreography [Jay Borade] is apt.
Rajan Kinagi's cinematography is first-rate. The locations of New Zealand and Mauritius are breath-taking of course, but Kinagi has captured them on celluloid beautifully. Bijon Dasgupta's sets are garish at places.
Hrithik Roshan is in top form this time around. The role he's portrayed is of the boy next door and very identifiable, unlike the larger-than-life roles in his past few films. More than anything, his emotional scenes are a revelation. His sequences in the latter part of the film prove that the actor is capable of so much more than just flexing his muscles.
Kareena Kapoor is a delight to watch. She's gotten into the skin of the character and portrayed her part with utmost conviction. The actress is remarkable all through the film. The best part is that she has made an effort to look and perform differently this time around. This is one performance that is bound to be an instant hit with one and all.
Abhishek Bachchan underplays his part well. However, the length of the role doesn't give him much scope to display histrionics.
Pankaj Kapur is fabulous. His contribution to the emotional sequences is tremendous. Himani Shivpuri is excellent, especially in the first half and also towards the interval point. Rima is alright. Johny Lever is okay. Raja [parrot] and Johny [dog] are sure to be liked by the kids. The animation is flawless and will also be liked.
On the whole, MAIN PREM KI DIWANI HOON is a worthy successor to Sooraj R. Barjatya's previous hits. At the box-office, this love story will not only make the youth diwana, but also the family audiences throng the theatres in a big way.