FLASHBACK | 25 November, 2022
(From our issue dated 29th November, 1997)


Baba Films’ Ishq (UA) is, as the title suggests, a love story. Two boys — one, filthy rich (Ajay Devgan), and the other, poor (Aamir Khan) — are the best of friends. Two girls — again, one extremely rich (Juhi Chawla), and the other, poor (Kajol) — are great pals. The four meet, and the rich boy falls in love with the poor girl, and the poor boy falls in love with the rich girl. The two rich fathers (Sadashiv Amarapurkar and Dalip Tahhil) are against these alliances and they hatch a conspiracy to separate the lovers by creating misunderstandings between them. Their aim is to get the rich boy married to the rich girl so that the poor boy and girl are out of the scene. They almost succeed in their evil designs but better sense prevails over the rich boy and rich girl (courtesy Johny Lever who plays the sensible uncle of the rich boy). The rich boy and girl are shocked to learn of their fathers’ dirty games although they have earlier been shown as being victims of their games.

The first half is simply a laugh-riot. Almost every scene is hilarious and keeps the audience in splits. The best part is that many of the comedy punches are fresh and novel. Among the scenes which bring the house down with laughter are the nude statue (of a lady) scene, Aamir Khan’s pipe-walking scene, the first meeting of the two boys and two girls, the bank scene, Johny Lever’s scenes with Sadashiv Amarapurkar etc. The film changes tracks soon after interval and then, there is melodrama at its peak. An attempt is made to make the audience cry but the emotions are not half as effective as the comedy before interval. For one, the base of the misunderstandings is not too strong, and secondly, the misunderstandings get too complicated and compounded. The starting point of the climax, where the misunderstanding is sought to be resolved, is not exciting enough to evoke thunderous applause from the audience. It should have been so. Harping on brother-sister relations between Aamir Khan and Kajol, showing a deglamourised Kajol, and an Ajay Devgan who surrenders to fate/circumstances rather than fighting back (as is his image) also dilute the impact of the drama. Climax is routine and one misses Aamir Khan in it. What a love story of this kind needed was a super-hit music score, at least one memorable song. But while the film’s music (Anu Malik) is very good, that hit score is missing and its absence is sorely felt.

Aamir Khan is extraordinary in all the comedy scenes in the first half. His sense of timing is absolutely fantastic. He endears himself to the viewers so much in the light role that despite an equally able performance after interval, he somehow does not create the same impact in the serious role. Juhi Chawla is superb — she looks gorgeous and acts with great aplomb, especially in comic scenes. Ajay Devgan acts with all the sincerity and comes out with flying colours. But his fans may miss his action, and not appreciate his crying. Kajol gets more scope in the second half and lives her serious role with a praiseworthy performance, especially in emotional scenes. Sadashiv Amarapurkar and Dalip Tahhil are effective. Johny Lever has several good punches and he makes the most of them, leaving a mark whenever he appears on the scene. Deepak Shirke, Tiku Talsania and Anant Mahadevan lend very good support. Shweta Menon looks sexy in a song-dance. Mohan Joshi, Sunil Dhawan, Razak Khan and the rest are fair.

Indra Kumar is in his elements in the light first half and deserves more than distinction marks for that. But he falls short of that in the drama portion where he takes recourse to too many cinematic liberties and seems to have run out of ideas.

As said above, Anu Malik’s music is very nice but the absence of a super-hit/haunting number is a sore point. ‘Mr. Lova Lova’, ‘Ishq hua’, ‘Neend churayee meri’ and ‘Humko tujhse pyar hai’ are well-tuned. Song picturisations should have been much more eye-filling. ‘Mr. Lova Lova’ is the best picturised number. Camerawork is good. Production values are very nice. Action scenes have been well composed. Dialogues are of a good standard.

On the whole, Ishq should keep its distributors smiling on the strength of an extraordinary and entertaining first half and despite an ordinary second half. Business in Bombay, Maharashtra and South should be the best, and in Bihar, comparatively lesser.

Released on 28-11-’97 at New Excelsior, Plaza and 17 other cinemas of Bombay thru Devgan’s Entertainment. Publicity & opening: excellent. …….Also released all over. Opening was not up to the mark in C.I. and a few stations in other circuits.


Rohitasha Movies’ Dhaal (A) is a purposeful film asking the hands of law — police and lawyers — to work in tandem to protect the people and the nation. An honest police officer gets disheartened due to the machinations of a reputed criminal lawyer who specialises in fighting in court, for criminals, and who succeeds in getting every criminal booked by the police inspector, released by the court. The lawyer is none other than the inspector’s brother-in-law and he has, as his biggest client, the topmost underworld don of the city. The lawyer hates his police officer brother-in-law because of his poverty. A friend of the police officer, who is studying law to become a defence lawyer, changes his mind and decides to become a public prosecutor instead, to work against the defence and to support honest police officers like his friend. But both the friends are put behind bars due to foul play of the don and his lawyer. The lawyer-friend escapes from jail to save the innocent police inspector and plans in such a way that the world can witness the don’s confession. The don is ultimately also prevented from fleeing. The defence lawyer is made to feel guilty for his wrongs.

A usual story is complemented by a routine screenplay and a slow-moving, dull drama. Except for one clapworthy scene before interval (when the friend helps the police officer in the court and embarrasses the defence lawyer), there isn’t much to look forward to. Some action scenes in the climax are thrilling. Comedy scenes entertain at places. Dialogues are simple.

Vinod Khanna is very good as the police inspector. Sunil Shetty excels in the climax action and in a jail fight scene. He is fair in dramatic scenes but ill-at-ease in song-dances. Gauthami is alright. Anjali Jathar does an average job. Danny Denzongpa is good. Amrish Puri lives the don’s role. Laxmikant Berde is entertaining, Kunika, Arun Govil, Sanjay Shah, Ramesh Goel, Pinky and the others lend ordinary support.

Sameer Malkan’s direction is ordinary. His selection of a routine script and even a climax that’s not new limit his chances all the more. The film has taken quite a long time in the making. Songs and their picturisations are average. Camerawork and other technical values are okay.

On the whole, Dhaal is a dull fare with its low price being the only real advantage.

Released on 28-11-’97 at Novelty and 22 other cinemas of Bombay thru Tridev Movies. Publicity & opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was poor at most of the places.


A carpenter, Hari Shankar Singh, was killed on 23rd November when the set of producer Nazir Ahmed’s untitled film he was working on at Bandra Reclamation, Bombay, collapsed. Nine others were injured and were rushed to Bhabha Hospital and are out of danger.

The police on 24th arrested producer Nazir Ahmed, art director Nitin Desai, assistant director Ashok Kadam and production manager Brij Chopra for the collapse and charged them with negligence while constructing a film set, which resulted in the death of the person on the spot and injury to nine others. They were later released on bail.

The set of police headquarters was a two-storeyed structure which was nearing completion on 23rd. It suddenly caved in in the evening.


Distributors of C.P. Berar have also informally decided to release films on Fridays instead of Thursdays, as at present. But unlike in C.I., where it has been made compulsory to open films on Fridays only, in C.P., it has so far been left to the discretion of the distributor concerned. He is free to release his film on Thursday or Friday, as he desires.

The release day of new films is being changed in the circuits following pressure from producers to have a uniform release day in all the circuits.

Ishq opened in C.P. Berar (as also in C.I.) on Friday this week. Dhaal, however, opened on Thursday in C.P.


The Supreme Court on 26th November cancelled the bail granted by the Bombay high court to Ramesh Taurani, a prime accused in the Gulshan Kumar murder case. Taurani has been directed by the apex court to surrender before the police by 3rd December, and he will be remanded to judicial custody.

A bench of Justice M.K. Mukherjee and Justice K.T. Thomas passed the order after hearing arguments from both sides. If Ramesh Taurani does not surrender, the Maharashtra government has been directed to take necessary steps to take him into custody.

The court earlier rejected the arguments of Taurani’s counsel that the involvement of his client in the murder, as alleged by the Bombay police, was at the behest of the family members of Gulshan Kumar. The Maharashtra government’s counsel, Kapil Sibal, contended that the high court action in granting Taurani bail on October 25 had created a “dangerous situation”.


The attendance at the wedding of Punit, son of Subhash Chandra of Essel group, with Shreyasi on 25th November in Delhi was phenomenal. All top political dignitaries and socialites of Delhi rubbed shoulders with one another. The reception in Bombay on 28th at the RWITC was also a crowded and very classy affair.


Udit Narayan’s First Private Album

Udit Narayan’s first private album, ‘I Love You’, will be released by Wings Music Co. on 1st December which is Udit’s birthday too, at Ramada Inn Palm Grove.


Is it the opportune time to make a film with newcomers?

– Attempt it only if the lack of face value can be compensated by either extraordinary music or a brilliant story-line or excellent screenplay.

How many films with Dolby/DTS sound are likely to be released in 1998?

– Around 40 or 45.

Who is the busiest actor today?

– Mithun Chakraborty. He has about 12 films on the sets, and another 12 in the pipeline!


* Ram Gopal Varma’s new film, SATYA, starring Urmila Matodkar and a new boy, is almost complete. It went on the sets after the release of Varma’s DAUD.

* Dresses of Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor in DIL TO PAGAL HAI have become quite a craze among ladies and young girls. There are reports of some ladies repeating DTPH for the costumes. Manish Malhotra is the dress designer of the two heroines.

* Except for Smita Thackeray’s HASEENA MAAN JAYEGI, Anu Malik is saying “no” to producers of Nadeem Shravan’s films, who approach him to step into the duo’s shoes.

* Story sittings are on for Rakesh Roshan’s new film. Dad Rakesh and son Hrithik (who will be launched in the film) are “not available” on telephone from 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. every day because that’s the time they have their sittings. And it has been going on like that since the last six months now.

* The management of Natwar Talkies, Jalgaon, permitted free admission to ladies in their cinema in all the shows on 26th, 27th and 28th November for GHULAM-E-MUSTHAFA.

* Savoy cinema in Sri Lanka is screening Mira Nair’s KAMA SUTRA (English) for ladies only in some shows. Womenfolk are patronising the film in these shows meant only for them, in a big way.


** Shilpa Shetty needs to do something about her costumes in films. Generally, her clothes leave a lot to be desired.

** Sharad Kapoor should pull up his socks as far as his acting and dialogue delivery go. He was the pits in Vishwa Vidhaata.

** Pooja Batra has not been half as impressive in her latter films as she was in her debut-making Virasat. Because of her lean and very tall structure, Pooja should be extremely careful about how she dresses up for the camera.

** Sonali Bendre needs to be particular about her dialogue delivery. If she improves her dubbing, her career will start looking up.

** If what people say about Govinda reporting on time for shootings these days is true, it’s really good. But it will be better if Govinda makes this (coming on time) a rule rather than keeping it an exception.

** Mamta Kulkarni should speak her dialogues slowly and clearly. She talks like a super-fast train, thereby losing out on expressions in her dialogues.


Indra Kumars In News

Friday, the 28th day of November, saw Indra Kumars in the limelight. Film industry’s Indra Kumar had a prestigious release — Ishq — on Friday. India’s prime minister, Inder Kumar Gujral, resigned from his post the same day.

What A Comeback!

Rarely does such a thing happen but it has happened twice in 1997. Two superstars, who were down and out, struck back with hits in 1997. Sridevi’s career was moving in one direction — downwards — and one thought, she’d never again give a hit, but came along Judaai. More exciting has been Madhuri Dixit’s comeback, if one may use the term. Every film of Madhuri Dixit, after HAHK..!, flopped and fell like nine pins. But the girl struck back with a vengeance in Dil To Pagal Hai, silencing all her critics with her looks and performance alike. The coincidence is that in both the films, there was a second heroine whose contribution to the films’ success was not small. Urmila Matondkar was Sridevi and Anil Kapoor’s co-star in Judaai, and Karisma Kapoor was Madhuri and Shah Rukh Khan’s in DTPH.

Double Release

It is indeed a coincidence that two star-cast films released on the same day have story and screenplay written by the same team. Rajiv Kaul and Praful Parekh are the story-screenplay writers of both this week’s releases, Ishq and Dhaal. Both the films also have music by the same music director — Anu Malik.