FLASHBACK | 19 January, 2024
(From our issue dated 23rd January, 1999)


R.K. Films & Studios’ Aa Ab Laut Chalen is a love story of two Indians who meet in America. The film also seeks to tackle the problem of brain drain and gives a healthy message to the youth of today. There’s one more track — that of the hero and his father. The hero and his family in India are under the impression that the father was killed in an accident but the truth is that he had survived the accident and had seized the opportunity to flee to America where he got married again and became a multi-millionaire.

The story is about an ambitious boy who leaves India and comes to America to earn a lot of money. He meets an Indian girl there and she immediately falls in love with him. But the boy tries to hook a rich NRI girl so that he can settle there and fulfil his ambition of amassing wealth. After some time, he realises his folly and goes back to the Indian girl. By chance, he meets his father in America and, after an emotional drama, they all return to India.

The film is a visual delight and is almost like a trip to America. It offers breathtaking foreign locales captured beautifully. But its content, unfortunately, is not as exciting as the gloss. The reasons for this are several — one, the script has some inherent flaws/drawbacks (example: the hero hooks the NRI girl even though he is aware that she smokes, drinks and moves around with guys. Although she picks up no new vice, the hero, after some days, fires her for her behaviour and expresses shock over the same. The audience wonders why the hero got into the relationship in the first place if he had to be shocked a couple of reels later.); secondly, too much has been squeezed into a 3-hour drama; thirdly, the screenplay writer has taken recourse to convenience more than common sense to further the drama on occasions; fourthly, since the misery of the family sans the father is not shown, the impact of the emotional climax is diluted; fifthly, the hero’s character is not what it should be (he comes to America because his friend tells him so; he tries to hook an Indian settled in America because another friend tells him so — why doesn’t he use his brains?). Further, there is not much romance in the romantic story! This is not to say that the film has no plus points. It does have several of them. Besides the eye-pleasing locations, its other winning points are: some good comedy (of Jaspal Bhatti), a couple of heartwarming scenes, Rajesh Khanna’s entry and performance, liberal body exposure by Suman Ranganathan, and the mini-India shown in America.

Akshaye Khanna does a fair job. He has not been photographed well in some scenes. He dances extremely gracefully. Aishwarya Rai is plastic at times and wooden at other times. But she looks very pretty. The girl should stop behaving as if she were a kid and should open her mouth fully while talking. Rajesh Khanna acts very well and is restrained. But care should have been taken of his appearance; he looks red. Suman Ranganathan exudes oomph and sex appeal and impresses with a free performance. Kader Khan is quite good. Jaspal Bhatti is cute. Satish Kaushik is not very funny except in one scene. Himani Shipvpuri has been wasted. Viveck Vaswani is alright. Alok Nath leaves a mark in a brief role. Moushumi Chatterjee is restrained and very effective. Paresh Rawal is superb and goes through his role with aplomb. Newcomer Aditya Hitkari does reasonably well. Jatin Sial is okay. Navin Nischol, Sulbha Arya, Achyut Potdar and Vishwajeet Pradhan lend fair support.

In his maiden directorial venture, Rishi Kapoor shows that he has an excellent sense of visuals. But his script sense leaves something to be desired. His direction, though, is smooth. Music does not befit the canvas of the film. ‘Otashi Anata’, ‘Mera dil tera deewana’, the title song and ‘O yaaron maaf karna’ are well-tuned but the lack of super-hit songs is sorely felt. Song picturisations are colourful and eye-filling. Production values are grand. Editing could have been a bit more crisp.

On the whole, Aa Ab Laut Chalen will have to depend upon its visual beauty and the clear field ahead (few major releases in the forthcoming weeks) more than its content to lure the audience (mainly class audience and youth) to cinemas. Its business will vary from circuit to circuit. It may sail safe in some circuits (like Delhi-U.P.) on the strength of business in cities.

Released on 20-1-’99 at Minerva and 2 other cinemas and on 22-1-’99 at 11 more cinemas of Bombay thru V.I.P. Enterprises. Publicity: excellent. Opening: very good. …….Also released all over. Opening was fair in some circuits but poor in others. (1st day Jaipur 79,074/- (50.56%) from 2 cinemas.)


Suresh Productions’ Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain is an unusual story about a boy entering into a one-year contract of marriage with a girl. At the end of the contract period, he decides to call it quits with the girl, although he likes her and finds her excelling in all household work. The reason for his separation is that she is not his idea of a wife. But once the separation comes around, the guy starts missing her and, slowly but surely, realises that she was, in fact, the perfect wife for him. He apologises to her but, having been humiliated by society, she is reluctant to forgive him and go back to him. Not the one to give up easily, he tries to woo her in every possible way. Ultimately, after a game of insults and counter-insults and also a good deal of melodrama, the girl realises her mistake in not overlooking her husband’s mistake. The two are then united.

The best part of the film is the novelty of its subject. Although the point of contract marriage may sound improbable (like the point of the wife selling her husband in Judaai), it is presented in a believable manner and so smoothy (again as in Judaai) that once the contract marriage is solemnised, the viewer doesn’t really mind its improbability. Yes, the reason for the hero agreeing to a contract marriage may be flimsy but that’s not the issue. Secondly, the reluctance of the wife to forgive her husband may look a bit too stretched in the post-interval portion but again, that may make the film seem a bit long but it cannot rob it of its intrinsic worth. The wife’s reluctance, however, could have been made more appealing had the director shown her humiliation in society not once but at least three or four times differently.

If the story is novel, the screenplay is quite consistently well-written. Dialogues (Jainendra Jain) are excellent at several places. Emotions touch the heart at times. Climax should have been more effective.

Anil Kapoor underplays his character beautifully and shines in a film that otherwise belongs to the heroine. His casual handling of the issue of contract marriage makes it pretty believable. He is excellent in the gode bharayee scene. Kajol is extraordinary and lives her role. Before marriage, as the sole bread-winner of a family of five, after marriage, as the caring wife and daughter-in-law, and after separation, as the unrelenting bold lady, she does it all with such sincerity that the viewer falls in love with her. Kajol is so natural that one’s heart goes out to her. Her emotional scene, in which she announces that the entire family would commit suicide together, shakes one to tears as much for its starkness as for the girl’s brilliant performance. Her fiery and emotional outburst against her family members in the second half is also excellent. She also looks pretty. Anupam Kher is good. Johny Lever, Satish Kaushik and Rakesh Bedi evoke laughter with their hilarious comedy. But it must be said here that their comedy track has no relation to the film’s subject. Besides, it gets repetitive after a while. Parmeet Sethi leaves a mark. Shakti Kapoor is wasted. Sudha Chandran, Smita Jayakar, Rajoo Shreshtha, Gracy Singh, Adi Irani, Mink, Sadhu Meher and Dinesh Hingoo lend admirable support.

Satish Kaushik’s direction deserves praise. His narration is smooth and the tense drama and comedy portions have been well-balanced. Anu Malik’s music is melodious but one misses the title song in the film (it comes in bits and parts and, therefore, loses in impact). Another good song, ‘Yehi mera dil hai’, will be added a couple of weeks later. ‘Chhup gaya badli mein chaand’ is appealing. The ‘Dil hai Hindustani’ number is weak. Song picturisations should have been better. Kabir Lal’s camerawork is marvellous. Other technical and production values are of standard.

On the whole, Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain may be a slow starter (except in Bombay where it has opened to excellent houses) but it has the germs to pick up by word of mouth and on the strength of ladies and family audience. It has chances of proving class A.

Released on 22-1-’99 at Novelty, New Empire and 15 other cinemas of Bombay by Vimal Agarwal thru R.M. Ahuja & Co. Publicity & opening: excellent. …….Also released all over. Opening was ordinary in some circuits, dull in some and fairly good in others. (1st day Amravati 5 shows 23,800/-, 2nd day 4 shows 22,803/-; 1st day Jabalpur 5 shows 19,000/-, 2nd day 4 shows 18,200/-; 1st day Raipur 5 shows 22,000/-, 2nd day 4 shows 21,600/-; 1st day Bhilai 5 shows 14,306/-, 2nd day 4 shows 14,635/-; 1st day Chandrapur 5 shows 22,000/-, 2nd day 4 shows 20,700/-; 1st day Bilaspur 5 shows 30,500/-, 2nd day 4 shows 26,300/-; 2 days Indore 1,62,460/- from 4 cinemas; 1st day Jaipur 1,26,155/- (51.32%) from 4 cinemas.)


Time Films International’s Hu Tu Tu (A) is a comment on political dramas being enacted today. It is about the power games played by politicians to further their personal interests which, almost always, are at variance with the interests of the nation. The daughter of a lady politician and the son of a super-rich industrialist fall in love with each other but before they can get married, are separated in a serious accident. Both of them, even when they are together, are disillusioned by the political games and disturbed by the plight of the common man. After the accident, the boy joins a terrorist group to seek justice from the evil politicians and, in one such attempt, has his ex-beloved kidnapped to settle scores with her mother. Ultimately, the two lovers get even with their mother (girl’s) and father (boy’s) who, in the meantime, have joined forces to take care of their personal gains. There is also a commoner Dalit leader who entertains his brethren with his witty and caustic comments while fighting for their rights too.

The subject is unusual but its treatment is so abstract that the narration bores the viewer no end. Continuity has not been cared for and the drama looks incomplete as the reasons for the behaviour of some characters at times are left to the intelligence of the viewer. A lot of the script is in the director’s mind but it never really comes out on the screen. The pace is so slow that viewing the film becomes a tedious and boring exercise. One actually wonders whether the director has made the film as an exercise in entertainment or in trying the audience’s patience. Frankly, not many among the audience would have the patience to see such a slow-moving film. Few among those who have the patience may have the inclination to go through the drama devoid of entertainment and full of tension.

Dialogues are very good at many places. But the Maharashtrian flavour and the Marathi language, used at several places in the film, further limits its appeal. Even the tunes of some songs have a predominantly Maharashtrian flavour. Climax, though predictable, is quite good.

Nana Patekar does well as the Dalit leader. Sunil Shetty is very effective and restrained in his performance that offers no scope for action which is his forte. Tabu is simply splendid. She lives the character she plays and comes up with a performance that’s heartwarmingly natural. In fact, Tabu’s award-winning performance is the best thing in the film. Suhasini Mulay is very natural as also effective. Dr. Mohan Agashe is fair. Kulbhushan Kharbanda does a capable job. Shivaji Satam leaves a mark. Raj Zutshi, Ajit Vachani and the others lend adequate support.

Director Gulzar seems to be under the mistaken impression that the public has plenty of patience and all the time in the world. Although his handling of the complex subject is very good, he adopts such an abstract style of narration that the film ultimately turns out to be a commentary for a very select elite audience. Its slow pace is unpardonable. Vishal’s music is good. ‘Chhai chhappa chhai’, ‘Gaphla hai’ and ‘Itna lamba kash lo yaaron’ are well-tuned. While the first-mentioned song has universal appeal, the second will be liked in Maharashtra. Lyrics are very meaningful. Action scenes are appropriate. Camerawork (Manmohan Singh and Rajen Kothari) is excellent. Other technical values are of a good standard. Art direction is superb.

On the whole, Hu Tu Tu is too slow, dry, dull and drab to appeal to the viewer. Except in Maharashtra and a couple of big cities, where it would fare a bit better, its box-office result would be disastrous.

Released on 20-1-’99 at New Excelsior and 10 other cinemas and on 22-1-’99 at 1 more cinema of Bombay by Time Films International thru Shringar Films. Publicity: excellent. Opening: very good. …….Also released all over. Opening was fair at some places but poor at many others.


Despite Idd festival, none of the new releases could get the benefit all over India. The films did take good starts but that was not universal. However, films like KKHH, CHINA GATE and SOLDIER did record fantastic collections due to Idd.


Soldier 9th week Bombay 8,48,434 (62.51%) from 4 cinemas (3 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 5,12,474 from 3 cinemas (1 unrecd.); Delhi 1,73,445; Kanpur 2,30,446 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 1,80,984, Varanasi (27 shows) 1,45,613, Dehradun 87,555; Calcutta (6 days) 1,42,266; Nagpur 83,954 from 2 cinemas, 8th week Amravati (6 days) 46,627, 9th week Akola 75,601, Raipur (6 days) 39,362, 3rd week Jalgaon (6 days) 92,371, 9th Bilaspur (6 days) 32,300; Bhopal 1,20,000; Jaipur 2,50,434; Hyderabad 3,82,009.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 14th week Bombay 22,62,367 (64.04%) from 7 cinemas (4 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 5,21,682 from 3 cinemas, Baroda 1,61,068, Jamnagar (noon) 16,822; Solapur 1,23,396; Delhi 16,60,371 from 8 cinemas; Kanpur 2,21,673 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,02,475, Dehradun 90,000; Calcutta 3,94,610 from 3 cinemas; Nagpur 1,04,210, 1st week Kamptee 71,316, 9th week Jabalpur 1,58,369, total 17,50,713, 14th week Amravati (6 days) 80,166, Akola 67,246, total 15,49,047, Raipur (6 days) 64,671, Bilaspur (6 days) 45,212, 2nd week Balaghat 80,696, total 1,61,392; 14th week Indore 1,09,490; Jaipur 4,70,492, Ajmer 60,026; Hyderabad 4,74,772 from 2 cinemas (1 in noon); Vijayawada 3 weeks’ total 3,54,052.



Yash Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai completed 100 days of its run today (23rd January) all over. Written and directed by debut-making Karan Johar, the film stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Ranee Mukerji, Johny Lever, Farida Jalal, Anupam Kher, Archna Pooran Singh, Reema, Himani Shivpuri, master Parzan Dastur, baby Sana Saeed and Salman Khan and Neelam in friendly appearances. Its music is scored by Jatin Lalit.


Producer G.P. Shirke expired on 20th January in Bombay. He was president of the Chamber of Motion Picture Producers and the Western India Film Producers Association, chairman of the Film Makers’ Combine and also chief of the Shiv Sena Chitrapat Shakha.

A meeting to condole his death was held at IMPPA House on 21st January.


Pradeep R. Chhabra, son of late Ramchandra Chhabra of Chhabra Film Exchange, Bombay, expired on 22nd January due to heart failure. He was rushed to Jaslok Hospital after he complained of uneasiness. He breathed his last soon thereafter at the hospital.

He was 42 and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.


* The Murad family seems to have a strong affinity for the title APRADHI KAUN. Actor Murad appeared in Bimal Roy’s film of that title in 1956. His son, Raza Murad, acted in Mohan Bhakri’s film of the same title in 1982. Mohan Bhakri is once again making APRADHI KAUN? and has singed up Raza Murad for a role in it. What’s more, Raza was also seen in a television serial of that name in 1985.

* KKHH is the 10th film to celebrate 100 days’ run at Vasant Talkies, Akola. The earlier nine films in the same league are GOPI, PREMNAGAR, KRANTI, DESH PREMEE, MUQADDAR KA SIKANDAR, NAGINA, HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN..!, RAJA HINDUSTANI and DIL TO PAGAL HAI.


‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’ To Roll

Nadiadwala Grandson’s Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega will be shot from Jan. 27 till Feb. 4 in Bombay. A team of experts from America will picturise thrilling scenes (with special effects to be done by CMM) on two Rajdhani trains between Bombay Central and New Delhi. Salman Khan, Karisma Kapoor and Ranee Mukerji will participate. Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala. Director: Raj Kanwar. Screenplay: Rumi Jafri. Dialogues: Javed Siddiqi. Scenario: Rakesh Malhotra. Lyrics: Sameer. Music: Anu Malik. Cinematography: W.B. Rao. Action: Abbas. Editor: A. Muthu.


Who’s The Winner? Nobody!

Four big films were released this week to take advantage of the Idd festival. But the funny part is that no film can claim to have reaped the benefit of the festival throughout India. If one film opened well in Bombay, its opening in C.I. and Rajasthan left a lot to be desired. If another had a decent opening in Maharashtra, its collections in some other circuits were pathetic. If a third opened to full houses in Patna, its opening day’s collections in Gujarat were 40%! Not only did Idd not prove bountiful for the films, the excess number of releases simultaneously also cut into one another’s collections. So there!

Varma’s Ventures

After completing Kaun, which has just one song, director Ramgopal Varma has now started shooting Mast which has — hold your breath — 11 songs! The music is scored by Sandeep Chowta, a well-known name in the South. Sandeep had recorded the background music in Ramgopal Varma’s Satya and has also composed the background score in his current Kaun. After Mast, which is supposed to be a ‘quickie’ (it is scheduled for a June ’99 release), Varma will soon start another film, starring Shah Rukh Khan.

No Difference

Producer Salim has shot a new climax for Mehndi. The new-look Mehndi was released yesterday but the response to the film is said to be not very different from what it was with the old climax.