Shogun Films Ltd.'s RAJA KO RANI SE PYAR HO GAYA, scripted and directed by T.K. Rajeev Kumar, starts as a fantasy, deviates to a love story and ends up becoming a typical masala film.
Mohit (Arvind Swamy) is the son of a village Thakur (Goga Kapoor). His life revolves around the children of his village and the fantasy stories told to him by his grand-mother (Dina Pathak). Mohit keeps dreaming that he is a 'Raja', who will one day meet the 'Rani' of his dreams.
Manisha (Manisha Koirala), a city girl, visits the village fair. When Mohit sets his eyes on her, he starts believing that she is the 'Rani' of his dreams. He hides the auspicious statue of 'Gajaraja' and on the pretext that it is stolen, he goes to the city to search for it. He teams up with his brother's three children and succeeds in searching Manisha. But despite his best efforts, he is unable to express his love to her.
Manisha accidentally breaks the statue of 'Gajaraja', but she gifts a live baby elephant (Appu) to Mohit. Mohit and the children keep Appu in their flat and through him Mohit conveys his feelings to Manisha. Mohit and Manisha's love blossoms, but Manisha has a past that catches up with her.
What happens next? Is Mohit successful in tracing Manisha? Can Appu be of any help in Mohit's quest?
RAJA KO RANI SE PYAR HO GAYA is a fantasy and its target audience are the kids. Director T.K. Rajeev Kumar has chosen an elephant as the central character who does everything that a human does ? laughs, crys, plays, writes and in the climax, even bashes up the villains.
The premise of the film is indeed novel, with the portions of the baby elephant bringing out the child in you, but the moment the story shifts to the love story between Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala, things get messy. The outcome is as scrumptious as a dish minus salt.
Worse, the love story has been stretched to such an extent that it deviates from its main plot and ends up becoming a typical masala potboiler. Besides the love story, the fault also lies in the fact that the film has several unwanted sequences and it is portions like these that take the graph of the film downwards.
Besides some scenes, the film can also do without at least two songs in the post-interval portions, for they hinder the flow of this mish-mash plot. Things get complicated in the pre-climax with the emergence of the villains' (Shahbaaz Khan, Nawab) track, which was just not required.
Manisha's past ? her marriage to Shahbaaz when she was barely three ? sounds far-fetched and equally implausible is the way this track grows till the climax. Why does Manisha bow to every whim and demand of Shahbaaz Khan, remains unexplained till the very end.
RAJA KO RANI SE PYAR HO GAYA has a glossy look throughout, which is commendable, but director T.K. Rajeev Kumar should've honed his writing skills too. The impact of the baby elephant in the plot should've been long-lasting, akin to the contribution by the elephant in Devar's Rajesh Khanna-Tanuja starrer HAATHI MERE SAATHI in the 1970s. Unfortunately, the outcome here is bland.
Jatin-Lalit's music is a mixed bag, ranging from good to below average tunes. 'Dil Churake Chaldi' and 'Aao Sune' are two numbers that stand out. Ravi Chandran's cinematography, like always, is remarkable. The special effects look tacky at places.
Arvind Swamy is reasonably good, but looks too mature for the character. Manisha Koirala does well in certain portions, but since a professional dubbing artiste has dubbed her voice in portions of the film, the impact is lost. The film has a host of character artistes, but it is only Dina Pathak whose performance is worth mentioning.
On the whole, RAJA KO RANI SE PYAR HO GAYA is neither a fantasy, nor a love story. A film that will neither appeal to the kids, nor the grown-ups. Its ride at the box-office will be bumpy and thorny. All directors should
watch this film -- what not to make!