Who would have ever thought that B. Subhash—maker of such spectacularly trashy fare as Disco Dancer, Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki, Dance Dance, and on and on—and Aamir Khan—now justifiably renowned for his perfectionism and serious approach to filmmaking—ever teamed up to make a film? Well, probably a lot of you guys did know that, but it was a bit of a shock to me.
Of course, I could not resist the lure of such a clash of sensibilities, especially since Aamir is paired with Juhi Chawla, with whom he always had great chemistry. So how did it go?
It is loud, it is blinding, it is filled with cartoonish villainy and dreadful fashions, it is poorly dubbed (that brand of loud “click click click” whenever anyone of any size walks on any kind of surface, e.g.); and, well…the music is by Bappi Lahiri (and sounds suspiciously like other people’s disco tunes I was flogged with back in the 1970s). Happily parts of the soundtrack are original recordings by Wham! and others more tolerable in a nostalgic (for me) way.
It is also a VERY sweet love story, and Aamir and Juhi create a pair of star-crossed lovers you just have to root for. And there are other “awwww” moments as well, as when Aamir’s family circles the wagons around him. Is there more “awwww” than “aaaahhh!”? I would not want to make the decision for you, but I will say that I think this is B. Subhash’s best movie (and yes, I am giggling as I write that).
Reema (Juhi Chawla) is the happy-go-lucky daughter of Mr. Goswami (Om Shivpuri). Her father is a close associate of underworld kingpin Sudhirbhai (Raza Murad); the two men have decided to cement their alliance by getting Reema married to Sudhirbhai’s son Vicky (Gulshan Grover), who also likes the idea. Vicky is a mean sonofabitch with absolutely no scruples, proud of being the son of the “sheher ka baap” and he treats Reema like she is his property. Reema herself seems content to be part of Vicky’s “crowd” which includes her brother Mahesh (Anand Balraj), although she is not always comfortable with their criminal activities.
One evening as they are beating up and robbing a man who has just closed his shop for the night, she watches from the sidelines as the shop owner is rescued by a brave young man armed with nothing but his bicycle and a can of mace he snatches from one of the girls in Vicky’s gang.
Amit (Aamir Khan) is the son of a cab driver named Verma (Dilip Tahil—I love him!). He has a shrill filmi stepmother named Shanti (Sarla Yeolekar) who berates him for anything and everything, and a little sister named Munni (Baby Guddu). Dad and little sis stick up for him when Shanti goes overboard on the drama, and it is clear that Amit and his father especially share a wonderful closeness. On Amit’s birthday his father gifts him a new bicycle—a great expense for him, but much appreciated by Amit.
Alas! At college, he runs afoul of Vicky and his friends when they recognize him as the one who spoiled their fun the night before. They smash up his new bicycle in front of the entire school, including Reema. Amit—despite his somewhat stressful circumstances—gets his first look at her and is smitten.
That night (his father soothes him over the loss of his bike, although Shanti screeches about it) Amit heads for a disco:
where Reema is hanging out, waiting for Vicky, Mahesh and company to arrive. Amit romances her with the title song and twirls her around while she pouts and pretends to be offended. Never has true love blossomed in such a hideous environment.
(And of course Amit is beaten to a pulp when Vicky arrives. The person who made Juhi wear that dress should have been beaten too.)
They truly bond when the two of them are sent out of town to represent their college in a debate and win! Plus, Amit bashes up some eve teasers who accost Reema on their way back to their hotel. It is a minor miracle that Reema is such a sweet girl, given the murder and mayhem that she seems to routinely witness. In any case, when they return home and it becomes evident to Vicky that Reema’s thoughts are on someone else he is furious. With the collusion of her brother Mahesh and both their fathers, she becomes a virtual prisoner and is unable to meet Amit.
When he persists in seeing her despite this and many other attempts to sabotage their relationship, Sudhirbhai and Goswami up the ante, and the rest of the film plays out in fairly standard star-crossed-lovers-against-the-world style.
Sudhirbhai is the kind of man who will smash a pretty little bird with a tennis racket and feed it to his Doberman.
Threatening Amit’s family and blowing up Verma’s cab is nothing to him. Small wonder then that his greasy gold-decorated son is such a psychopath.
Gulshan Grover sprays a lot of spittle and pops a lot of veins on his way through this, which effectively makes Aamir appear even cooler (literally and figuratively). I grow very fond of Amit as the story progresses, and fret that it will end in tears or worse for him. It is also oodles of fun to watch young Aamir grooving his way through a party scene in one of what must be his earliest appearances with a bottle of Coke:
and doing Disco Dandiya!
His relationship with his father is genuinely heartwarming too, if a bit on the corny side sometimes. But I like corny.
Juhi imbues Reema—even at her most oppressed and hopeless—with a feisty charm that is adorable. Once Amit wins her over she is fiercely loyal to him no matter what. At one point, her simple act of courage in front of their tormenters makes me *die* almost on a Blackmail level: she totally comes through for him and he meets her courage with his own. Plus they are just so darned CUTE together.
Some people really do elevate the material they are working with (but then we Hindi movie fans all know that already, don’t we?)! I am also pleased to report that several grownups (including Amit’s heretofore unpleasant stepmother) show some compassion and good sense and help out their kids when the chips are down. Good parenting and masala can go hand-in-hand!
I have always particularly appreciated that Aamir sticks up for the type of cinema I love (and *ahem* occasionally love to hate) as well as the more mainstream type of films he also makes. I wish I’d already seen this one when I met him last year—I would SO have asked him what it was like to work with B. Subhashji.
In a nutshell, Love Love Love is a bad movie redeemed largely by the people in it, particularly the lead pair, and by not ending (…um, spoiler alert) in disaster for the people we have come to thoroughly care about. The dvd from Samrat/Music India Collection does it no additional favors, skipping and then stalling in turns throughout, with terrible picture quality and sporadic subtitles which appear when they feel like it but not necessarily when I need them. At least we are spared the superfluous logo. But hey, if you can overlook all that, you can certainly deal with the film’s content flaws.
And look! It’s Bob Christo (goras represent!):
Yes: I feel very confident in saying that this is my favorite B. Subhash movie of all time! It’s possibly a good time to call it quits with him, although I fear I may against better judgment be sucked into his world of flashing lights and “pew-pew” sound effects again.