Sometimes even a viewer with no clue about filmmaking (that would be me) can sense when the director (in this case, Raj Khosla) is a good one. Such is the case with this film, which has a fairly unremarkable story (until the end, when it plunges into irritatingly stupid) and pleasant but dull music (Madan Mohan). But the romantic chemistry between the lead pair alongside the interesting camera work and the brisk pace keeps everything going, which kept me going too. The sometimes hilarious subtitles helped, although I doubt that Raj Khosla had anything to do with those. I should also say that Asha Parekh looked absolutely gorgeous in this film, and I think our director thought so too, because there are a lot of lingering closeups of our heroine!
The story, as I said, is pretty standard stuff. Rich boy Ajay (Sunil Dutt) meets Poor Girl Asha (Asha Parekh) and falls head over heels in love with her. She’s not enamored at first (since he has driven his sports car into her and her friends on their bikes), but he ropes his friend Tingu (Mukri) into helping him track her down.
Tingu drags him to a college fundraiser, where Asha is performing—and one of her girlfriends, noting Ajay’s interest, gives him Asha’s phone number after the show (I would probably get rid of that friend quickly, although of course this was another more innocent time).
On a side note, Asha P. shows how truly graceful she is by carrying a waterpot with a live crow perched upon it as she dances—in one long single take—across the stage. Impressive! The crow sits completely unperturbed, although Asha herself looks a little relieved as she puts the pot down. (I just hope it wasn’t glued there.)
There’s a little comedy around the fact that the same friend who is so free with Asha’s phone number also persuades her to pretend she’s from a wealthy family, but when Ajay finally takes his mother (Lalita Pawar) to meet Asha’s family and they discover that she’s poor it doesn’t matter.
I’m a little surprised at Gayatridevi’s ready approval (so is Ajay). I think it stems from the fact that she’s desperate to get Ajay married during a short window of auspicious opportunity, and also it doesn’t take her long to start pressuring her new bahu for an heir.
Asha remains unaffected by her newly extravagant surroundings—there’s a sweet scene where her brother (Om Prakash) brings her a sari for Raksha Bandhan and then is ashamed to give it to her because it pales next to her expensive silks. When he accidentally drops it and she sees it, she tells him just the right thing:
This scene—and quite a few others throughout this oh-so-formulaic film—leads me to ponder on the Awesomeness Of Asha P.
Had Nutan been playing her character, for instance, I think I would have swiftly gotten tired of her goodness (nothing against Nutan: she’s a fine actress! don’t send me hate mail!), but somehow Asha manages to portray sweet without being cloying or goody-goody. She has something that keeps her from falling into the sticky saccharine abyss. An entire post devoted to her is probably in order, but this will have to do for now.
Anyway, seven years pass, and Asha and Ajay are as in love as they’ve always been—but Gayatri’s benevolence is wearing thin. When Asha brings her an apple from the tree she had planted after her wedding, Gayatri throws it to the floor in disgust.
Worried that Ajay is just as unhappy over the lack of offspring, Asha prays for a child. Ajay overhears her, though, and puts her fears to rest.
Well…yes, Ajay, you will be, and soon!
On Diwali, a firecracker explodes in Asha’s face, the sparks burning her eyes.
I know I’m not supposed to, but I laugh. Then I quickly sober up, realizing that this is no doubt the end of what until now has been a sweet romance, and the beginning of what will rapidly deteriorate into trauma-drama-o-rama™. I’m not wrong!
I can’t help myself, I start giggling again. DOUBLE Nahiiin Face! There are bits of scenery and hair flying around everywhere.
Asha and Ajay travel to Bombay to see a kindly eye-surgeon (KN Singh) who somewhat surprisingly doesn’t seem to know anything about filmi medicine.
Poor blind, barren Asha and Ajay return to Gayatridevi, who has had enough. Egged on by her munimji, whose agenda is to get his own niece married to Ajay, she begins plotting to separate our lovers—and succeeds by completely destroying all of Asha’s self-esteem and sense of worth after sending her son out of town.
Asha returns to her brother and his wife’s (Sulochana) house, determined not to ruin any more of Ajay’s life and promising not to trouble them either.
Sigh. There are still plenty of twists and turns to go before it ends! Will Asha and Ajay ever be reunited? Will Ajay marry again? Will his family tree be forever fruitless? Watch Chirag to find out—or not, unless you have lots of spare time (like me). The good things about the film are the very sweet relationship between Asha and Ajay—it’s very nicely played out by both actors; and the cinematography and camera angles are interesting as is usual for Raj Khosla’s films. The story, though, is tired and stale, and irritating—and not worthy of his (or anyone else’s) talents!
SPOILER—When it all starts going downhill I pray that it won’t all be resolved simply by Asha suddenly bearing a child, but of course that’s exactly what happens. Ugh, ugh, ugh!!!! END SPOILER