Oh, what to do when you have five papers due and two exams to study for?
Pop in Maine Pyar Kiya, of course!
After all, what could be a better stress reliever than a babyfaced Salman and a ravishing Bhagyashree surrounded by an '80s infused Bollywood?
The answer is nothing, except maybe some chocolate...But watching Maine Pyar Kiya was similiar to that, too. It was like binge-eating a box of chocolate covered cherries--the bursts of syrupy sweetness just kept coming, and I kept shoveling 'em in with a big ol' smile on my face.
In what I'm convinced must have been one of Salman Khan's most adorable roles ever, MPK was yet another "forbidden" young love story of its era, one that I to keep wanting to lump together with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. It's interesting that the big breakthrough films of the 3 Khans had similar plots, particularly this one and QSQT. You know the cliche...two young lovers kept apart by their disapproving families...Sound familiar? One would think at least one of these would have been tossed aside as a copycat of the others, yet from someone who's seen all three, I can honestly say each one holds their very own and is well deserving of their individual successes as Hindi cinema classics.
The film was directed by Sooraj Barjatya, and if you disliked HAHK and hated Vivah (or vice versa), don't let that deter you from watching Maine Pyar Kiya. Unlike those two films, MPK is easy to follow and engaging from the very beginning. Also, its super enjoyable--think all the best elements of an 80s teen love story with Bollywood fairy dust sprinkled on top.
Suman (Bhagyashree) and her father, Karan(Alok Nath) live in a modest country home. One day, Karan is offered a job abroad, and sends his daughter to live with his beloved friend, Kishan (Rajeev Verma), whom he has not seen or spoke to in years. Because of the depth of this friendship, however, Karan entrusts Suman's well-being to Kishan and sends her to live with his family without a second thought-he's convinced they will treat her like royalty.
While the family is nice enough to Suman, its Kishan's son Prem (Salman Khan) who goes out of his way to make her feel welcome, and the two become fast friends. Here's the first thing I liked about this movie--I felt like Prem was genuinely interested in being Suman's friend and not just trying to get with her. He was drawn to her because he could tell she was a kindred spirit, respecting her and showing her he cared before the romance began.
Of course, since Suman is a breathtaking beauty with a heart of gold, Prem eventually falls head over heels. And once he does, he's committed to being with her. The sacrifices Prem makes for Suman throughout the film made me love Salman Khan's character!
Sure, one could argue that Prem had his crabby moments--For example, after a fight at a party, Prem tells Suman to fix him a plate rather curtly, which she gladly does in submission. This attitude may be frustrating to some who hate this Hindi film cliche, and while I don't embrace it myself, for some reason I didn't sweat it in this film. You see, it was clear to me that Prem respected Suman so much--and that she treated him with honor because she wanted to, not because she was a woman and he was a man.
Hands down, this performance marked one of my favorites from Salman Khan (the others being HAHK and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam). He was so adorable here!Mostly for the reasons I've listed above. And...wait...in his final scene alone with Alok Nath and Bhagyashree, he proves he can really and truly act! And here I thought he was the worst overacter ever...
Bhagyashree. Do I need to say anymore than that(except maybe COME BACK BHAGYASHREE!!!)? She was awesome! First of all, her name even sounds cool, as most one-part movie star names do. Bhagyashree. Dharmendra. Kajol. Nargis. I've decided that if I ever make it big in Bollywood I'm going to go with a one-part name, and its not going to sound too feminine, either. But getting back to Bhagyashree...how can I describe her? She was something like Nargis--Grace, class, poise, and sensuality all wrapped into one. At times, her facial expressions even reminded me of Marilyn Monroe!
The film is NOT just sugarpie romance scenes like Vivah was, for the most part. There's a twist to this happy tale--You see, Kishan is a very sucessful businessman. In a quest to gain a part of Kishan's empire, his business partner devises a plan to get Prem to marry his daughter Seema. Along with Seema's brother, Jeevan (played by Mohnish Behl), the three make up a trio of scheming villains that bring out every trick in the book to try and keep Prem and Suman apart.
Though all three are far from nice, Mohnish Behl surprised me with his sleaziness as Jeevan. This guy played one of the nicest characters in HAHK and here he was, picking on poor Bhagyashree? But alas, he was perfect for the part, deliciously good at being bad. His dashing handsomeness made him seem all the more dangerous!
Other key players are Alok Nath as the loving father he can portray so well and Reema Lagoo (yay!) as Prem's mother. Rajeev Verma plays Kishan and Laximikant Berde has a small but non-irritating comedic supporting role. AND...
In true Barjatya fashion, there's a crucial animal in the film--a white pigeon that also wants Prem and Suman to be together. And let me tell you, HAHK's little dog Tuffy is no patch on this butt-kicking bird. He even plays a critical role in the climax that will have you LAUGHING OUT LOUD(I sure did!).
As far as the music is concerned, let's just put it this way--My favorite song in the film revolves around a pigeon and a love letter.Doesn't that just sound like a fairy tale? The pigeon carries the letter away to the handsome prince while the princess sings a melody in her nightgown. And the tune was super catchy, too! I've included the Youtube Video for those who want to reminisce BUT if you haven't seen the film, please, please wait! Its the surprising little details like these in MPK that won my heart because I didn't know they were coming.
Don't you just love the climax of this song with Bhagyashree's thick shiny black hair blowing in the wind and the city lights in the background?
There's nothing more I can say about this film except that I loved every minute of it. After my recent viewing of Aa Gale Lag Ja, I seem to be on a streak of guilty pleasures in Indian cinema that have me overusing my exclamation point key. But I'm not complaining, and I apologize if I sound like I'm overdoing it. I just can't help it--I really get that excited about this stuff (hence the blog)!
Would I be a glutton for punishment if I said I loved Maine Pyar Kiya more than Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge? Because guess what...I sure did!