Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) | Movie Review

It has now been over 30 days since I was quarantined. The quarantine had taught me (and hopefully, everyone else) to appreciate little things in life - to find beauty in them and to be thankful for what I have. One day, I was talking to my grandmother. She told me that she was matching the movie Maine Pyar Kiya on television. Somewhere I heard that the movie had recently celebrated 30 years of release. In my childhood, I had seen huge posters for the movie hung on the billboards for a very long time. It was watched by my family every time when it was telecasted. "What made this movie so great? It should be that because of family appeal, the movie was so popular", I thought. Three days later, I decided to watch this movie. I had already watched the movie hundreds of times in my childhood, but, I was not able to comprehend (I was far more interested in cartoons back then). I searched for the movie online. Amazon Prime had the rights to stream it online. There was also a low-quality version on YouTube. There were several more versions of the same movie (of variable running time too). Mostly they were distinguished by the region in which the film was released. I decided to take the Prime subscription which had the longest version of the movie. I was certain that the movie would be a one-time watch for me. And I ended up watching it over 100 times.

I am now addicted to the movie. What was so good about the movie that I watched it every day after work? Well, here is my take:

Characters

Sooraj Barjataya has done a brilliant casting. Each character fits completely into their roles. The two leads - Khan as Prem and Bhagyashree as Suman were both newcomers, but they did complete justice to their respective characters. This movie is the best film of Khan's career. He fits more into the romantic character of Prem than the rowdy boy Chulbul. Bhagyashree looks innocent and  Reema Lagoo is excellent as Prem's mother Kaushalaya. Alok Nath has well-handled the jolly & iron-hearted character of Suman's father. Mohnish Bahl fits well into the negative role. The only character that I felt was not developed well was Gulabiya. It looked more like she just had a cameo appearance. Out of everyone, it is Suman who steals the show.

The relationship between Prem and Suman is beautifully portrayed. It is pure and innocent (which makes the movie memorable). The father-son relationship between Kishan and Prem is another important one. Finally, the friendship of Kishan and Karan which is retracted and restored lacks certain depth but does well enough. A bit weak portrayal was the relationship between Kishan and Suman. There should have been at least one scene to establish a bond between the two.

Story

The story is well-paced. I wish to draw some serious contrast to other Bollywood movies released during this time. They lacked good story-telling. Everything seemed to be rushing. Scenes used to have little-to-no buildup. The directors mostly ended up making another Masala Flick! But this was not so with Maine Pyar Kiya. Barjataya took out a good amount of time to write the storyline. There is enough buildup for each scene. The plot is simple - just another cinematic love story in which everything gets fine in the end. But the narration steals the show. The beauty is in its simplicity. I have seen several movies that try to take up a complex plot and fail to write a good narration out of it. I always believed in a simple storyline converted to an excellent narration that touches the heart of the audience.

This movie should be Barjataya's best work as a director, story & screenplay writer. Hum Aapke Hain Koun (which I feel is very much overrated) might have overpowered, had it not been a remake of Nadiya Ke Paar.

Screenplay & Dialogues

The movie has some iconic dialogues like Dosti ka ek usool hai - No sorry, No thank you! (Friendship has a rule - There is no sorry, no thank you!) and Ek jawan ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte! (A young boy and a girl can't be just friends!). The movie is the directorial debut for Barjataya who wrote an excellent screenplay for the film. The dialogues are rather simple as compared to other films that came out during that time which had lengthy and complex dialogues. The dialogues were so famous that it was separately released as record cassettes. You could laugh away now hearing those cheesy lines but believe me if you watch the complete film, the screenplay and characters set the right buildup for those lines to come up. The only silly thing was the final action sequence when Kishan comes asking for Prem to Karan's village. I felt it was overdone and a simple confrontation where Jeevan admits his mistake should have worked better.

Production

During that time, Rajshri Film (the production company) was seriously limited by the funds that they could have spent. Most of the scenes were shot at the studio's own set. Outdoor scenes were entirely shot at Ooty. I think this fund shortage, kind of, did greater justice to the film.

While the other directors during that time were busy getting their crew to a foreign location (mostly Europe) to shoot an imaginary musical sequence and hire foreigners to dance in the background, Barjataya decided to stick to the Indian customs. If you observe closely, the movie doesn't try to shadow the country (the real India during 1989) by only showing you the good parts. Instead, it shows you both - the rich and the poor and asks you to seek beauty in both. The outdoor scenes are left the way they are. There were no over-decoration done to make them look beautiful. Similar movies released later like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge relied heavily on fancy things like shooting in a foreign location to gain popularity (it is a statement and not blame).

Music

Rajshri has been known for putting excellent music to their films and they left no stones unturned this time as well. Aata Jaate Hanste Gaate is a beautiful adaptation of Stevie Wonder's I just called to say I love you. The song plays in the intro part and features a couple - Raghu and Babli performing a dance. It is remembered and sung by people till date. My other favorites are Dil Deewana, Kabutar Jaa, and Aaya Mausam Dosti Ka. The song Dil Deewana has an excellent Violin solo. Kabutar Jaa has an excellent riff that Guitar lovers can try. Dev Kohli had penned down beautiful lyrics for the songs especially for the song Aaya Mausam Dosti Ka. All songs (except one) were beautifully sung by legendary singers - Lata Mangeshkar and S.P. Balasubramanium. Lastly, I would like to mention the song Kahe Toh Se Sajna - a romantic ballad beautifully sung by Sharda Sinha. Each song fits completely with the storyline. For the song Aaja Shaam Hone Aayi, however, I felt that it was a bit misplaced.

Technicality

The movie had some very dodgy editing. If you watch the movie over and over again, there are tons of mistakes that you can clearly make out. The only thing that present-day movies are definitely good at is editing. Filmographers have learned a lot from the past. Technically, the films have got better and better. Being a directorial debut of Barjataya, he did make some clear mistakes in this movie.

The Magic!

Bhagyashree refused to wear a short skirt for a scene in the song Mere Rang Mein Rangne Wali. She also refused to do any intimate scene (not even a kiss was acceptable). Throughout the movie, she is mostly seen in traditional Indian costume. Barjataya has to think of several alternatives to everything.

My favorite scene in the movie is the one when Suman gets a sprain in the ankle and Prem applies balm on her ankle - wait for it - with his eyes closed because she was wearing a skirt. Childish! Isn't it? What else can one expect from a family movie by Rajshri?

For me, this was the magic. It is this innocence of their relationship that worked for me. Nothing works better, anywhere than grace. The film proved that you don't need intimacy to express the depth of love. What Khan and Bhagyashree did actually made the film work. It worked for me at least and a million others who were a big fan of the movie during the 90s.

Conclusion

Maine Pyar Kiya was an All-Time Blockbuster. It stayed at theatres for almost 5 years. It is now my All-Time favorite too. I am not a movie critic. I am just a blogger who decided to write a review of the movie that I loved. I know this movie has now become a meme material that people can have a good laugh at. New generation movies have taken over our mindset enough to think that only fools could have loved this movie. It is nothing less than a MASTERPIECE for everyone who values all generation of movies. Remember that this movie actually paved the way for Bollywood to come up with Non-Masala Flicks! If you see good movies today, it was a result of some person taking the road not taken by others. A lot of courage is required for that. It is a must-watch for people who wish to pursue a career in film-making.

Hopefully, I justified the movie well enough to make you watch it at least once. Give it a try, watch it with all your heart and I am sure you would like it!

PS: Reviews on movie aggregator sites like IMDb or Metascore are mostly based on favoritism of the audience. Sometimes the audience prefers to judge an act by whatever that makes them look "cool" in the most recent context. It's not them actually. When was the last time you actually judged something that was not affected by other's thoughts?

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