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Upperstall Review


Main Prem ki Diwaani Hoon


Hindi, Drama, 2003

Sanjana (Kareena Kapoor) is an outgoing college girl settled with her parents in Sundargarh. Her sister is married and settled in the United States and is trying to forge an alliance between Prem Kumar, owner of the Prem Group of Industries. He has just started a project in Sundargarh and would be visiting them soon. Prem arrives and soon sweeps Sanjana off her feet. Even the parenst approve of this alliance as the two find themselves falling in love. Just when all is hunky dory, it is found out that this Prem is Prem Kishen (Hrithik Roshan), the business manager of the Prem Group of Industries while Prem Kumar (Abhishek Bachchan) is due to arrive shortly. Prem Kishen leaves for Delhi to attend to business when Prem Kumar arrives at Sundargarh and finds himself falling for Sanjana. Due to the machinations of Sanjana's materialistic mother (Himani Shivpuri), Sanjana's and Prem Kumar's marriage is fixed. Prem Kishen returns and on hearing of this impending marriage, retreats in favour of his boss and best friend. But as soon as he realizes the truth, Prem Kumar backs out and Sanjana gets her true love after all.

Considering that he is regarded as a director who has been much aped in Bollywood, it is astonishing to see Sooraj Barjatya ape the Karan Johars, Aditya Chopras and Sanjay Leela Bansalis and none too successfully at that. Maybe he felt the overdose of sugar sweet huge joint families singing together at every conceivable function possible was wearing too thin to last and turned his attention to the it young crowd today but whereas Karan Johar and Aditya Johar belong to that crowd, Sooraj, a lot more traditional in his values, fails miserably with what he considers as hip and trendy. On top of that to try and put so-called traditional family values Rajshri style and you have a film that is a total mishmash.

After striking gold when he turned an earlier Rajshri rural hit Nadiya ke Paar into a more up market urban Hum Aapke Hain Kaun...!, Sooraj again turns towards recycling an old Rajshri film Chitchor (1976). While the former, directed by Basu Chatterjee, is still remembered as a sweet little romantic comedy with winning performances of Amol Palekar, Zarina Wahab, Vijayndra Ghatge and Master Raju, this romantic melodrama has little to recommend it.

While Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun...! had several romantic moments that struck instant chords with the viewers (particularly in the latter where Salman's growing romance with Madhuri against the backdrops of the big family wedding was extremely well handled with several cute little scenes) Main Prem ki Diwaani Hoon is, by and large, totally shorn of memorable moments. OK maybe the bit of Abhishek learning to cycle or Kareena's reaction to Hrithik when he declares Pankaj Kapur to be like his own father but perhaps that it! To compound things further the film is itself treated on a most unrealistic level with New Zealand being passed off as Sundargarh including river rafting and bungee jumping. C'mon! Add to that it's stagy scenes, one dimensional stereotypical characterizations and you are treated to a pretty torturous experience of viewing the film.

The film is basically Kareena Kapoor's story - She, to quote herself on her role plays, "a girl of today but whose thoughts and values are very Indian!" Spare us please…However to be fair to her, she does give the role all but remember having Indian values means being quiet and suffering thus leaving her a doormat for much of the film. And why do characters of today not open their mouths to express themselves about what they are feeling - they are pretty verbose in every other scene. Surely Kareena could have spoken to Abhishek or tried to instead of keeping quiet. And is Hrithik so dumb that he cannot understand Himani's change of attitude towards him? Hrithik meanwhile overplays the cool dude - A horrible, horrible piece of overacting. Was Sooraj trying a Shah Rukh or a Salman with him or what? Abhishek plays the other guy with the same name as Hrithik - Prem and thankfully in the midst of all the overacting he is admirably restrained. But his character seems most unbelievable. Can a young business tycoon of today's time in the United States have no friends, live in a private cocoon and not even have had a normal conversation with a girl???

Among the supporting cast, Pankaj Kapur seems to be most awkward as Kareena's ever supportive, buddy father while the less said about Himani Shivpuri's raving and ranting, the better. The four bimbette friends of Kareena fare even worse. The comedy track with the dog and Johnny Lever having the same name and the digitally created parrot with a penchant for Hindi film titles are puerile to say the least. Speaking of the effects, the parrot and the comic like faces added to the dog every time he gets into a barking fit are bizarre and tacky to say the least. In fact, the entire comedy track including Hrithik's brushes with the bimbettes is a big no-no.

The music is adequate enough with a couple of catchy songs but not winning enough. Other technical departments too don't deserve a special mention as nothing really stands out. Without doubt a terrible film and a horrible disappointment from the man who made Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun...!

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

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