That's the basic premise of Puja Films' love story REHNAA HAI TERRE DIL MEIN, directed by Gautham Menon.
Maddy (Madhavan) and Rajiv (Saif Ali Khan) are college students, who simply can't stand each other. Maddy is a complete rogue ? crude in his behaviour and up to some mischief all the while. In sharp contrast, Rajiv is suave, stylish and has the girls swooning over him.
Saif leaves for the U.S. to pursue a career, while Maddy joins a software firm.
One rainy night, Maddy chances upon Reena (Diya Mirza) and falls in love instantaneously. He spots her again at a wedding and realises that his love for her is not mere infatuation.
But there's a problem! Reena is all set to get engaged to a boy living in the U.S. Maddy's father (Anupam Kher) comes up with an idea that Maddy could impersonate the boy, whom Reena hasn't seen yet, and win her heart before the actual guy sets his foot on the Indian soil. And Maddy does just that.
Maddy succeeds in winning Reena's heart, but the bubble bursts when Reena meets the guy she is about to be engaged to.
Remake of the Tamil blockbuster MINNALE, REHNAA HAI TERRE DIL MEIN is motivating in parts. The film begins on an exciting note; the college sequences in the initial reels are stylishly shot and raise expectations for what is about to unfold.
But the pace drops as the story moves ahead. Reena is shown reciprocating Maddy's love in the five days that they spend together, but there's not much that the boy actually does to woo the girl.
The narrative gets interesting when Saif returns on the scene and the two enemies ? Madhavan and Saif ? come face to face again, albeit in entirely different circumstances. The sequences that follow are interesting, but unfortunately, the love story is stretched to such an extent that it tests the patience of the viewer.
Director Gautham Menon has handled certain sequences with aplomb, like a strict vegetarian Madhavan consuming a chicken delicacy to impress Diya or the sequence in the pre-climax, when Madhavan confronts Diya in the latter's office.
Even the reunion of the lovers at the airport in the climax, although witnessed in so many films in the past, is well handled. The saat-pheras before the reunion also keeps the viewer on tenterhooks. Also, the final scene in the film, when the girl tells the boy that he possesses all the qualities that she doesn't look for in a guy, but yet loves him, is life-like.
Director Gautham Menon has chosen the right script to remake in Hindi, but the presentation is not absorbing in entirety. Perhaps, the director and editor had fallen in love with the product, not realising that what could be conveyed in 15 reels has been unreasonably stretched to 17 long reels, in turn diluting the overall impact of an otherwise attention-grabbing screenplay. The film needs to be trimmed by at least 20-25 minutes for an enhanced impact.
Harris Jayaraj's musical score is amongst the assets of this enterprise. The sound is modern and the youth will instantly take to the music in the first hearing. 'Zara Zara Mehakta Hai', 'O Mama Mama' and 'Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana' are the pick of the lot. In fact, the last composition has a mesmerising effect on the viewer.
Cinematography (Johny Lal) is inspiring. The lush locales of New Zealand are a visual treat. Dialogues are pleasant.
Madhavan makes a confident debut. The actor seems comfortable in the role of a brash youngster who falls in love at first sight. Be it the dramatic sequences or emotional ones, Madhavan essays this complex role with extreme ease. However, he needs to take care of two aspects that are very crucial in the eyes of an avid Hindi filmgoer ? his choice of outfits and physique. He is grossly overweight and needs to shed a few kilos.
Diya Mirza looks like a doll and goes through the mandatory dance movements gracefully, but needs to polish her acting skills. She also needs to work upon her dialogue delivery.
Saif Ali Khan is outstanding yet again. After a winsome performance in DIL CHAHTA HAI, the actor delivers a bravura performance once again, although the length of the role is short.
Vrajesh Hirjee is loud at times, but does play to the gallery. Anupam Kher is, like always, efficient.
On the whole, REHNAA HAI TERRE DIL MEIN is a well executed love story, but it will have to face stiff oppositions in the coming days. The on-going Navratri festival will make a dent in its business (the 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows are always affected in several parts of the country!) and of course, the clash of the two biggies ? INDIAN and ASOKA ? in the immediate week will suffocate it further. Word of mouth can boost the prospects to an extent.