This film will always have a special place in my heart since it’s the first Hindi film I ever really watched. There’s a lot more on that topic here so I won’t go into it all again, but I was enchanted. From the sweet, funny romance to the lunatic embellishments, I loved it unreservedly. Ajay was so sexy, Kajol so cute; Kashmira Shah was such a vamp, and Om Puri so lovely as a cop with a heart of gold. I loved the scenery, the goofy stunts, the lively songs, the Ajay-Kajol chemistry. Oh Baghwan. It was so much fun!
When it was over, I watched it again.
Now, six years and hundreds of Hindi films later, I still love to watch it. Of course I am not the same wide-eyed novice who saw it that first time, but my deeper knowledge only adds depth to my appreciation. Kajol is still cute, Ajay still sexy—and now I know that they found each other so in real life too. I love Om Puri even more now, and have realized that Kashmira Shah dresses like a vamp in real life too!
Now I also know that the full-of-fun songs were written by Jatin-Lalit. And I know that Anees Bazmee, the director, has gone on to make other films that, against all limits of reason or common sense, I like as well: Deewangee, No Entry, Welcome (and looking forward to Singh is King).
Anyway, enough about me! On to the film (which is a remake of Hollywood’s French Kiss, by the way).
We meet Rahul and Sanjana in Paris, at a party thrown by their benevolent boss (Harish Patel) to celebrate Rahul’s (Bijay Anand) promotion. Rahul will be going on a business trip to India soon, and their boss urges him to take his fiancee Sanjana (Kajol) along as well. She is afraid of flying, and clumsy too.
He agrees when she begs to go too. Before they leave, she has something to show him: her dream house, which she is planning to buy with money she has put aside without him knowing. Sanjana is all alone in the world, and has dreamed of having a home and family for a long time.
She bails out of the trip at (literally) the last minute because her fear of flying overwhelms her. At first they talk regularly, but then Rahul’s calls become less frequent until he phones her one day, drunk.
He’s fallen in love with another girl, and says he’s not coming back. Hurt, bewildered and angry, Sanjana decides to fly to India and get him back. This time on the plane she is seated next to an Indian man, Shekhar (Ajay Devgan) who needles her about losing her fiance when she confides in him.
As she argues with him about her honor, the plane takes off without her even noticing. My heart melts at the realization that he’s got her pegged already, and distracted her on purpose. After a very goofy (and turbulent) flight featuring swamis, Hindu gods, Rastafarians, a Michael Jackson impersonator, and the discovery that Shekhar has stolen a diamond necklace in Paris, we all land in India.
At Customs & Immigration, Shekhar sees his friend and nemesis, Inspector Khan (Om Puri) waiting for him. He puts the plant cutting containing the stolen necklace into Sanjana’s purse, and follows her out of the airport. Inspector Khan intercepts him, and insists on accompanying him home. He is very fond of Shekhar, who once saved his life, and really wants him to give up stealing.
At the swanky hotel where Rahul is staying, Sanjana faints upon seeing Rahul with Nisha (Kashmira Shah).
Little did I know the first time I saw this that this liplock was a pretty rare occurrence in Hindi films! Sanjana’s luggage is stolen as she lies there unconscious. After some car chases and other mayhem, Shekhar gets Sanjana’s handbag back for her, although her suitcase is gone for good. He finds the plant, but realizes after they separate that the necklace has fallen into her handbag somehow.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel Sanjana discovers that Rahul and Nisha have taken a flight to Goa.
Shekhar just misses her, and runs into Inspector Khan, who has found out about the stolen necklace. Another car chase! (I also had no idea that Ajay was the son of a famous stunt director, and known as an action star) and Shekhar finally catches up to her on the train to Goa.
She is suspicious, but puts up with his presence. They are stranded in a village that night when Sanjana gets off the train because she’s ill and it leaves before she and Shekhar can reboard it.
Now comes my favorite part! They go to Shekhar’s home and family. Sanjana is welcomed with open arms, and joins in the preparations for Shekhar’s sister’s engagement party. She discovers that one of Shekhar’s nephews needs a heart operation.
The family’s warmth and love for Shekhar charms her, and she melts enough towards him to dance with him that evening (“Aaj Hai Sagaai”).
During the party Shekhar finds time to slip away and search Sanjana’s handbag for the necklace. Alas! it’s not there. He is heartbroken.
The next morning Shekhar’s father tells Sanjana that Shekhar also has a dream of buying all the family’s land back. It’s been sold off over the years to help pay bills. She sees him standing in a mustard field (shades of DDLJ, which I also had no idea about when I first watched this) and goes to talk to him. He offers her his friendship and his help—genuinely, this time.
She in turn asks about his dreams and jokingly wants to know if he plans to win a lottery. He tells her that he almost did.
Sweet! They head off for Goa to find Rahul and to sell the necklace—with Inspector Khan hot on their trail.
At Palam Beach, they check into the same hotel as Rahul and Nisha. There is only one room available, and Shekhar pays with a stolen credit card.
I didn’t get that little inside joke for a long time, either. Anyway, Shekhar coaches Sanjana in how to act with Rahul and Nisha and they embark on their scheme to win him back. They pretend to be a couple and arrange to “bump” into Rahul and Nisha constantly (another bouncy song, “Aashiq Hoon Main” accompanies these events).
Of course this act brings them closer to each other, too, and they fall in love without really realizing it.
If they do realize it, will it be too late? Will Sanjana get Rahul back? Will Shekhar get caught by Inspector Khan? To see the romance blossom, and for the answers to these questions (plus more silly mayhem that wasn’t in French Kiss, like gangsters in a mall), see Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha. It’s delightfully crazy and sweet, and literally changed my life!