Saajan (1991)

saajan

If ever you have an urge to ask your hairdresser for a mullet, watch this film to help kill it dead. Also watch it because it’s a surprisingly not-too-melodramatic and sweet love story-slash-bromance, especially if you are a Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit fan. There is a lot of abominable early 90s styling (poor Madhuri!—her career was at its height during a truly awful time for clothing, hair and heroes) and plenty of evidence that money does not buy taste:

saajan_decor

But it’s good fun if you like light romantic fluff and can at least tolerate the cheesy excess.

Aman is a disabled orphan befriended (and defended) by young rich boy Akash Verma when all the other orphans torment him with his own crutch.

saajan_friends

Akash’s parents (Kader Khan and Reema Lagoo—who is gloriously allowed to look her own age, and is beautiful) adopt Aman and treat him with the same love as they do their own son. Aman (Sanjay Dutt) grows up to be a sensitive poet while Akash (Salman Khan) grows up to be a happy-go-lucky womanizer, but they are still as close as any real brothers could be. Aman is shunned by the ladies because of his deformed leg and ugly face (this is all a little unbelievable since Sanjay—despite the unfortunate hair—is upright and tall, and very handsome if you ask me).

saajan_sanjay

There are of course hair continuity issues throughout too. It wouldn’t be a) the 90s or b) a Sanju Baba film if there weren’t.

saajan_hair

Aman pours his sad feelings out in his poetry, which is published under the pseudonym Sagar and has won him legions of fans. One such fan is Pooja (Madhuri Dixit), who writes letters to Sagar. We know she is special because his publisher tells us so, and also because when he writes back a wind machine blows his hair and papers about.

saajan_windmachine

Also, when Pooja plays piano and sings, another machine swirls fog around her.

saajan_fog

It doesn’t get any more 90s-special than that! Well, maybe this headboard tops it. Takes the wedding cake, so to speak.

saajan_headboard

Anyway, they fall in love through their extremely flowery correspondence, although Aman/Sagar doesn’t send Pooja a photo of himself when she asks for one, fearing that she’ll be repulsed by his hideous aspect.

Then Aman is sent to Ooty to work on a building project for his father; guess who owns a bookstore in Ooty with her Ma?

saajan_pooja

After the usual initial sparring, Pooja and Aman become friends but Aman is still too scared to tell her about his feelings, or that he is the poet she is so enamored with. It doesn’t help when some goondas who are after Pooja beat him up until the police arrive to rescue them. But just as he is about to screw up his courage and tell her all, Akash arrives and falls (literally) head over heels for her.

saajan_fallsfor

Once he has convinced Aman that he’s serious for once in his life, Aman decides to sacrifice his love for the sake of his brother.

saajan_alas

saajan_alas2

Okay, so there IS some melodrama. Aman tells Akash that Pooja loves a poet named Sagar and convinces him to pose as Sagar to win her. To be fair, Akash is a bit resistant at first.

saajan_peak

But brotherly persuasion prevails, and we’re off and running. What could possibly go wrong? Will Pooja fall for the faux Sagar? Will Akash discover Aman’s sacrifice? What will he do if he does? Will Aman’s ugly face and hopelessly crippled body ever stop repelling all of womankind?

I know it sounds dreadful, and to be honest I do feel like I shouldn’t like this film as much as I do. But the characters are well drawn, and Sanjay Dutt is a good actor (especially when contrasted against Salman’s chest-thumping emoting), which lends credibility to Aman’s insecurities and makes you want to root for him. Madhuri is good too as clueless Pooja, clinging to an ideal so tightly that she can’t see the true love right in front of her, and as sparkly and beautiful as she usually is. Laxmikant Berde as servant Lakshmi is a huge improvement on Johnny Lever for comic relief too.

If you can tolerate all the wind and fog machine nonsense, and a fairly steady dose of eye-searing decor and hair, you might like this too.

saajan_harvest

No, no, no! The hair, Sanju—harvest the hair!

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77 Comments to “Saajan (1991)”

  1. I’m glad to have you watch these for me. I never thought of Sanjay Dutt as handsome but I can see it here.

    Is this a similar plot to Mujhse Something Karoge? or is it a common plot anyhow?

    • I remember reading an article early on where all the leading ladies of Hindi film were asked whom they would pick as the sexiest co-star they’d ever had, and something like 75% of them picked Sanjay Dutt. I didn’t really get it until I watched Dushman (a dreadful film with Kajol)—when he came onscreen he took my breath away. Very charismatic! I have come to admire his acting skills a lot too, I think he is a very natural actor. (And it’s not that similar to Mujhse Dosti Karogi.)

  2. LOL i love the terrible mullet sanju had back in the day with the spikes at the top and rats tails at the bottom! I remember my mum telling me she went to a midnight showing of Saajan at the fancy Bollywood cinema in her pyjamas with her friends and Salman Khan turned up there too to a swarm of squealy girls at the Harrow Cinema!

  3. Oh my God…you drove out all my student blues with this sentence: “Will Aman’s ugly face and hopelessly crippled body ever stop repelling all of womankind?”

    :D :D :D :D :D

    Even when this movie came out, Madhuri WAS criticized for her lack of fashion (sense), especially with the shocking pink-and-green salwar kameez, it was sheer injustice to her own self. But these were before Manish Malhotra arrived, and the local “darzi” used to dominate the scene. I’ve seen bollywood heroines wearing tights, skirts and “dupatta” and a cap, all in the same outfit with no colour-coordination whatsoever. Check out Tabu’s dress in her initial movies like “Vijaypath” and “Prem” and one would wish they had much better to start with!

    Sanjay Dutt had this hairstyle in “Sadak” too, and all my classmates in school started growing their hair (the boys) and this wouldn’t go too well with the teachers. For some reason, they used to call this the “punk” haircut…though I don’t see the connection fairly well.

    • Yeah, the attempt to make him out as a total loser and unattractive prospect would have fallen very flat if he hadn’t somehow managed to endow the character with some of that pathos. And I can just picture a classroom full of mullets. Nahiiiin!

      • :D

        Madhuri looked good in “Sailaab”, and somewhat in “Sangeet” too (though not in normal outfits but she gets to play two characters in the movie and on of them is older). In “Sailaab” she wears the round, ordinary, “bindi” and she looks really cute! Can’t remember many movies where she wears the bindi too often…

        And did you know that Aamir Khan was supposed to play the character of Aakash? He refused and Salman lapped it up!

        • I did not know that, but am not surprised Aamir would turn it down. Akash didn’t have all that much to do.

          I haven’t seen those two Madhuri movies :)

        • Aamir Khan was offered Sanjay Dutt’s role (Aman), not Akash. Apparently he refused because he “did not like the script”. I wonder how he liked script of trash like Tum Mere Ho but not Saajan!

  4. I saw this about a month ago. Like you, memsaab, I enjoyed it, and Sanjay Dutt removed all doubts about his likeability here. I loved him in this role and look!! He looked so young and handsome . Didn’t for one moment go along with the story of an ugly cripple.

    As for Madhuri Dixit! How lovely she would have looked either in the 50s or now or even early 60s. Not that she didn’t here – but those clothes!
    Just watched a song of hers with Aamir Khan in an unknown film, with something pink and plastic in her hair and a matching pink and plasticy thing round her neck.

    • I always think the same thing when I watch Madhuri—she looks gorgeous in Dil To Pagal Hai when she finally gets to wear some normal looking outfits and sarees. But earlier she generally seems to be dressed up like some sort of doll, with puffy sleeves and strange little-girl hairstyles and accessories, and it is just awful. Don’t really think it was her fault, because nobody else looked good through this period either.

      Glad you liked it too. It’s good clean fluffy timepass.

  5. I do love this movie, it’s one of my all-time favourites. When I first saw it I wondered whether Madhuri had run over the costume designers pet dog (I wasn’t too familar with the nineties back then), but somehow the story and the acting manages to transcend all the awful clothes.

    • Ooh yes, I forgot to mention that it was thanks to you that I rewatched it! Thanks for reminding me of its existence :) and glad you made it home safe and sound!

  6. Despite my dislike of Salman and Sanjay, you make me actually want to see this movie, Memsaab!

  7. I can’t believe I find Sanjay Dutt in a mullet attractive… but..;)

    This looks really cute! Plus I love love-letter romances…and who can resist Madhuri? Gotta love that screencap of her defending “Sagar”! Stand up for your man, girl!

  8. I saw this one back when it came out and thought Madhuri looked gorgeous and stylish (*blushing furiously at my lack of fashion-sense*) – but then its Madhuri and she can never look less than gorgeous! As to Sanju and Salman – even back then I thought poor Madhuri had to choose between the devil and the deep sea. But then the early 90s really hadnt much by way of male charisma or beauty to offer! And I second the Sangeet recommendation. She plays a very un-Madhuri-like role there.

    • Sanju was about the only good looking or charismatic hero from the late 80s through the early 90s when Aamir and SRK thankfully appeared on the scene. I will definitely look out for Sangeet!

  9. I adore Sanjay Dutt and the songs in this film were good too. I agree SD is a great actor and a gorgeous hunk. I remember going to see Mission Kashmir for Hritik (who was the STAR at the time) and came back salivating for SD. wooh !

    The cable channels here used to show Sadak and Saajan all the time.

    For some reason, I thought this was the earlier Sajan with Asha and Manoj Kumar. That had lovely bouffants.

    • I don’t usually write much about the 90s since I saw all the ones from that decade that I want to early on…but have been rewatching some of them lately :)

  10. its funny looking back at it now but the whole look and feel seems really odd and awkward when compared to today’s movies with actors and actresses in tuxedos and gowns flaunting a million dollar wardrobe. But I think what really connects once you get beyond the initial strangeness and treatment is the story and the way the characters connect to you. Anyway, I just watched the movie for Madhuri. I’m not a big fan of Sanjay or Salman. Although Madhuri’s performance was decent in the movie it is definitley not her best. Anyway, I’m a big Madhuri fan and have a blog dedicated to her so would love it if you guys come over and leave your comments on how you like/dislike it. Thanks. The blog is called Madhuri Dixit Photos

    • We were all flogged by padded shoulders and sprayed to death hair in that period of time :) I always like Sanjay and Madhuri together onscreen though…

  11. Hmm. I’ve never thought of Sanjay Dutt as handsome, but those screen caps (if one blanks out that awful hair) are making me think otherwise. And Madhuri Dixit, despite the horrid clothes, was (still is) beautiful. And if, as you say, Salman Khan hasn’t much of a role, I can pretend he isn’t there… that’s one guy I can’t bear.

    Okay, am watching this the next time it comes on TV!

    BTW, have you seen the earlier Saajan? Asha Parekh, Manoj Kumar, Om Prakash and Madan Puri. It’s a crime story, about a murder to which three people confess… good one.

    • Yup Madhuri is still gorgeous, hopefully will avoid the face-skewing plastic surgery route too. And Sanju was one of the first “heroes” I drooled over :-)

      Will look for the earlier Saajan, sounds v.v interesting despite Manoj!

  12. I dont think Madhuri had a great sense of style. She was pretty no doubt, but here dress sense was quite ‘chalu’, ie, pedestrian. Karishma was her cntemporary, and maybe aslo Neelam, they were much better turned out. Madhuri though was the prettiest of the lot. However, Madhuri was a bit of a ‘behenji’. …. Dont hate me for this ….all you Madhuri lovers, i know there are millions….. I did say she was pretty and beautiful…..

    • Did actresses back then choose their own wardrobes for films? Cause I don’t think they do anymore if so…Karishma always looked awful IMHO too—giant curly sprayed to death hair and puffy sleeves. Oy. Painful. And LOL at ‘behenji’…

  13. late 80s, 90s! those plastic earrings and accessories that were So in! Loads of people wore stuff like that, and looking back now, it is truly horrid.

  14. I didn’t like it when I saw it some 17 yrs back, everybody got on my nerves, even Madhuri.
    And like you I like Reema Lagoo. She did lots of Marathi plays on Doordarshan in the early 80s.
    But I remember the girls swooning over Salman and Sanjay. And I never understood it and also why Sanjay had to have his hair done like a rainforest bird.

  15. Somebody should screen this movie for Twihards. This is basically their Pattinson fantasy.

  16. Thank you for this review :)

    Sanjay Dutt, despite loving his Munna Bhai character, just does not do it for me as a man. I have seen Sadak and wanted to slap him not only for the awful film but also the beyond awful performance. He to me will remain MunnaBhai and flawless in my memory/mind.

    This film apparently is not for me. I love Madhuri but Sanjay and Salman together would be too much!

  17. Sorry forgot to add

    What is a ‘behenji’?

    • ‘Behenji’ means sisterly type. And agree that Sanju’s best roles are as Munna—nobody else could be Munna like he has been. I just watched Lage Raho again and it’s FAB.

  18. Speaking of Reema Lagoo, did she go straight to playing moms? Why wasn’t she a heroine? I just watched a crazy snake movie in which she played Akshay Kumar’s mother, and she was, as you say, BEAUTIFUL. According to the Wikipedia, the too-early-for-serious-research source, she’s only 9 years older than Akshay and Juhi Chawla, and 7 years older than SRK. And she’s played all their moms! I want to see her star in a grown-up Shah Rukh romance! With, obviously, fabulous musical numbers.

    • I’ve never seen her as anything but a mother (or older bhabhi)…that would make her the same age as Sanju, two years older than me! Love the idea of her opposite some of those guys :-)

      • Aakrosh and Police Public are the only Hindi movies I can think of where she isnt playing the role of a mother. In Kalyug she is a mother(i think) but not the lead actor’s

  19. Harvest your beard and get dressed!! Sometimes I really wish to get these subtitled Hindi movies…. They can make any sad movie a laughing riot..

  20. Reema Lagoo, I think, played the heroine in a few Marathi movies, but I’m not sure. She is a good actress and the plays in which I saw her offered her much more variety than the hindi movies could ever give her.
    And although she has the same surname as Dr. Sreeram Lagoo, I think she is no relative of his’.

  21. Substitute limp for nose, and I would guess you have Cyrano de Bergerac.

    I never did like Sunju till recently : he looked either retarded or spaced out on drugs (and quite possibly was both). His avatar in this period has been far more watchable. Salman, on the other hand, was quite good viewing, while making no pretensions of acting.

    Madhuri. Aaah. You had to be Mad or Sribaby, and I guess I was all for Sribaby. Even given that, this is the movie I quote most often to show up her absolutely atrocious sense of makeup and dress. One of the most irritating songs of the 90s was “Dekha hai pehli baar, saajan ki aankhon mein pyaar”, heard on most taxis as their reversing tune. With Madhuri wearing a purple flouncy skirt and enough paint for a couple of ships. I was hoping for a screencap of that.

    Ah well. When you do “100 days”, please don’t miss the heart song.

    Extremely pleasant read, as usual : )

  22. Memsaab, you blame Madonna while I see a serious conspiracy by oil companies to make even more money out of their by-products;)

  23. Even before I read the first words of this post I though, “OMG – the hair has got to go!”, then I realized it was the 90’s. I’m trying to be a Sallu fan(but am failing) and have yet to see Sanjay in anything (I still feel like a Bollywood greenhorn!), but I’d give this one a try simply for Madhuri – who is always fantastic!

    • You really need to see the Munna Bhai films for Sanju, although he’s getting old in the tooth by then…also Khal Nayak and this one for the Sanju-Madhuri jodi.

  24. EEEEE! I want to see this now! I’ve been feeling the need to catch up on some 1990s “classics” and now that I’ve read your write-up I feel like another friend has recommended this one to me.

    And thank you for capturing the glory of Sanjay Dutt with that backlighting on the mullet in the wind machine… XD

  25. i saw sajaan years ago and i really enjoyed this wonderfull love story!
    and…yeah…madonna…of course! i was wondering what the madhuri style in this movie reminds me of… ;)

  26. I love Saajan. All three actors are favorites of mine..The music of this film was insanely popular and its still refresshing to hear..atleast to me.

  27. It’s not just the awful 90s clothes, but the fact that nobody ever thinks about how they will look placed in front of the similarly overdecorated decor. There’s one scene in Saajan where between the patterns on the walls and ceiling and the clothes you almost have to look away. For 90s Sanjay-Madhuri bliss you must watch Thanedaar.

  28. Hmmm, I’ll keep an eye out for you. I have one, and I may be able to score another at my local haunt to send to you. It’s a Samrat Collection disc.

  29. Aahh Saajan, one of my all-time favourites :-) Since it features 3 of my all-time favourite actors, I totally heart this movie despite some of it’s glaring flaws like the shrieking banshee Ekta (Ektaa?) act.

    But the clincher for me is the music. Undoubtedly one of Nadeem-Shravan’s best – soulful & timeless!

    Lovely post Memsaab :-) Goosebumps happened while reading it.

  30. The fond memories of me watching this on a VHS. Hahaha. Oh, and those were the days, long before Satellite Television invaded our lives. This was the time when we used to wait for Wednesday nights, when the 8pm prime time show on the [only] Indian National Network – Doordarshan aired a show called Chitrahaar, and we could see Madhuri dance to “Tu Shayar Hai, Main Teri Shayari”- with the fingers swirling and twisting, and Sanju Baba with his Bigg Ass Flash Camera clicking pictures. Aah the joy!

  31. I watched this movie in Baroda ( see, I remember the details) and i liked the movie. As for the dress sense and all, I suppose one can criticise the dress sense with the benefit of hindsight, but at that time that kind of dressing used to be the fashion, I suppose. In any case I watch a movie for its content rather than what the actors are wearing, and I liked this movie.

    The music of this movie was a big rage, and I love its music even today. I have been a fan of Madhuri Dixit. She is just the right age for me ( a couple of years younger to me) for me to have a crush on her. And I would love all her movies- be it “Beta”, or “Dil” or “Ham aapke hain kaun”.

  32. I remember the fashions of the 80s and they made me shudder even at the time :) Girls I worked with had hair that was taller than Marie Antoinette’s wigs ever were. Hideous!

    The music didn’t make such an impression on me, I didn’t dislike it but didn’t find it memorable either…Madhuri is a few years younger than I am too :-) and Sanju a couple of years older, making him the perfect age for me to have a crush on (except I am devoted, as you know, to Shammi who is old enough to be my father).

  33. Ooh I love this movie and the songs are divine :-D

  34. Yay for Saajan! And here I thought I would be laughed at for liking this film :) I am in good company though!

  35. I have a feeling that Cyrano De Bergerac has been adapted in just about every language they make movies in. In Tamil cinema, it was Duet, that movie with the lovely Rahman music.

    But yeah, I remember liking Saajan and having decidedly mixed feelings about its soundtrack. The irritating instrumental accompaniment to Dekha hai pehli baar was among the low points of 90s music.

  36. Hi,
    You have the right feel of the main inspirational source of “Saajan”

    Its main story plot was taken from “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1990) & “Roxanne” (1987)

    And the director Lawrense D Souza coudnt deliver any other worth mentioning movie in his career apart from this. The success of Saajan was more due to its immensely famous songs and presense of Salman Khan, who was the upcoming youth icon at that time.

  37. Sorry, I just discovered your blog while looking over at the PPCC. I’m not much for Sanjay Dutt or Salman Khan, but you know, you’ve convinced me to see this one.

    I love wind and fog machines! ;)

  38. saajan was a nice romantic film though nothing new
    well presented
    the characters of sanju and also the conflict was well handled though the film got melodramatic yet it’s forgiven

    Sanju looked good though the mullet didn’t suit him and i like him now more but he was g8 in emoting and i liked the way he showed his romantic side
    his scene in the church is a highlight

    salman was weak in emoting but was sincere something i miss today
    madhuri was likeable too

  39. `Tumse milne ki tamanna hai’ song was the only song playing in Matheran, circa April 1992. Everywhere we went, it was there – Sunset Point, One Tree Hill, probably even in the early morning hours that we went to see Sunrise Point, got lost and were mistaken for apparitions as we rested on a lonely platform (I believe I heard a group of people talking among themselves to not look in our direction). That was the reason I never watched this movie on DD the Sunday evening it aired or maybe, I was at work.
    A dear friend who went mad for `Madhu’ – when she did this snaky shaking movement with her hands, index fingers, particularly (Tu Shaayar hai, main teri shaayari) and I think he still is crazy about her. Another friend began parting her hair like Madhuri after Dil To Paagal Hai. The kid next door wore her hair like Madhuri’s and smiled more often when people told her that she looked like Madz when she smiled.
    Sanjubaba was so handsome in `Do Dilon Ki Dastaan’ – particularly in `Ik Sabz Pari Mere Khwaabon Mein.’ Couldn’t bear his speaking voice in those days.

  40. 2 things that are different in Saajan:
    The hero Sanjay Dutt plays a crippled, Sanju who had an action hero image broke it with this film
    The film was completed on a record of 37 days
    Sanju gave a heartfelt performance though his dialogue delivery was a bit awful those days
    Salman Khan was loud but more likeable then nowdays, much more relatable
    but his emotional scenes have improved now
    Madz was good in her role
    The film was a typical romantic film but was treated beautifully by Lawrence dsouza
    Music by Nadeem Shravan was the silver lining, those days their most film albums were hits
    Every song is beautiful, my fav is Mera dil bhi, Tumse Milne, Pehli Baar Mile Hai, title song.

  41. sanja dutt was the most most handsome and personality men actor in bolly wood ..no other actor can be born like him..liek in previouse films when he makes his first films hits like naam ,imandar ,rocky he looks really great and handsome in that pictures when before doing body building..just when i see him now some times my tears comes from my eyes that he was so handsome and so great actor why he became old too fast because of drugs and of lot of stress in life ..he is looking so handsome liek in movies attish,sadak,sajan.yalgar,khalnayak….god makes young sanju baba with everything gifted ….i also remember his furst fil rocky he is 21 years old in that so slim and handsome ….wow at that time new face comer..and we cannot campare any actor with sanja baba….even i am a big fan oh him my face looks like him and i have a hairstyle like him not mullets but which he used to put hair style like in old movies naam ,imandaar (aur is dil mein kiya rakha hai )most romantic and heart touching song of that time ,,,,,,,love you always sanju baba,,,,,,,,

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