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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
Also, when Pooja plays piano and sings, another machine swirls fog around her.
It doesn’t get any more 90s-special than that! Well, maybe this headboard tops it. Takes the wedding cake, so to speak.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
No, no, no! The hair, Sanju—harvest the hair!