Cinevista Eagle Plus Media P. Ltd.'s YEH MOHABBAT HAI, directed by Umesh Mehra, is an apt example of old wine in new bottle.
Shaheen (Akanksha) is the only daughter of Aman Khan (Danny Denzongpa), a respected and powerful businessman of Gulabad. Chand (Rahul Bhat) is the pride of joy of Bashir Khan (Parikshit Sahni), Aman Khan's honest business manager.
Chand gets a fax, which informs him that his team has been selected to participate in an amateur cricket competition to be held in Mumbai. He is ecstatic and thrilled with the idea of travelling there with his friends. But the joy is shortlived.
Shaukat (Mohnish Bahl), Aman Khan's nephew, is the proverbial thorn in the bush. Hand-in-glove with dreaded militant Abdul Jamil (Arbaz Khan), he transports explosives in Aman Khan's assignments.
Chand is misled into carrying a seemingly harmless parcel of cricket bats with him and leaves on a journey, unaware of the road that lies ahead of him. For, the parcel of bats, which they had harmlessly carried with them, is RDX.
When Abdul Jamil's men come to take delivery of RDX, Inspector Chivte (Sadashiv Amrapurkar), acting on a tip off, raids the premises. All hell breaks loose as Abdul's men open fire on the police and one by one, Chand's friends are caught in crossfire. Chand goes mad in rage and grief as he sees his friends gunned down in front of his eyes. The RDX blows the place to smithereens. Chand is framed and believed to be a terrorist.
An uproar takes place in Gulabad as the news of the death of the children reaches the ears of the loved ones. However, Shaheen refuses to believe that her lover is responsible for the deaths of his friends.
Later, Gafoor Khan (Avtar Gill) asks for the hand of Shaheen for his son. Yielding to her father's pleas, Shaheen agrees to be the sacrificial lamb. As Shaheen weeps in her room, the phone rings. She gets to know that Chand is alive. What happens next?
The storyline of YEH MOHABBAT HAI is as old as the hills. Actually, a story like this has been rehashed time and again by our writers and directors.
With Umesh Mehra at the helm of affairs, you definitely expect the film to be a cut above the rest, but the outcome leaves you dumbfounded. The fault doesn't lie in Mehra's direction (the dramatic scenes do keep the viewer's interest alive!), but the script, which abounds in clich?and predictable moments, lets you down completely.
What's more, a couple of portions in the narrative are asinine and make you wonder how the writer could pen something as absurd in today's times. To cite examples, the jail-break sequence, when Akanksha and her friends plant Rahul's remote controlled dummy in the cell, is difficult to digest.
In the climax as well, Johny Lever being made to wear the mask of Arbaz Khan and reveal the truth, looks far-fethched. The formula, straight out of the 1970 flicks, seems unpalatable in today's times. Besides, the Gulshan Grover track seems out of context.
On the plus side, the film has a fast pace. Also, a couple of sequences are well executed, specially the pre-climax, when Danny and Rahul Bhat come face to face. Even the RDX sequence is well shot.
Anand Raaj Anand's music is rich and sounds pleasing to the ears. The pick of the lot are 'Chand Mubarak', 'Bechain Mera Ye Dil Hain' and 'Mar Gayee Chokri'. The background music (Raju Singh) is excellent.
Cinematography (S. Pappu) is alright. The special effects are quite nice, mainly the titles (Eagle Films Graphics Division), which are innovative and stylishly executed.
Rahul Bhat makes a decent debut. Akanksha looks pretty, but needs to work on her dialogue delivery. Danny Denzongpa is dependable, as always. Nasir Khan tends to get loud at times. Mohini Sharma dances gracefully, but needs to polish her acting skills. Johny Lever tries hard to evoke mirth. Shakti Kapoor is wasted. Arbaz Khan is effective. Sadashiv Amrapurkar leaves a mark in a small, but significant role.
Parikshit Sahni, Anjana Mumtaz, Mohnish Bahl, Gulshan Grover, Rakesh Bedi, Dolly Bindra, Avtar Gill, Rana Jung Bahadur and Anil Nagrath lend adequate support.
On the whole, YEH MOHABBAT HAI is too ordinary a fare in terms of content and will therefore find the going tough.