This might be the shortest Khanna-related film review I ever write. What I learned from watching Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (apparently a remake of Aniyathi Pravu) is to be careful what you wish for: I'd been looking forward to seeing this for years because of its beautiful early vintage Akshaye Khanna, and on that front it did not disappoint,
but that is one of only two aspects about the film that are noteworthy in any way. DSKR is a late 90s spin on young lovers (Jyothika as Pallavi and Akshaye as Inder) whose families do not want them to be together. The little bits of tension along the way to a predictable and satisfying ending derive from wondering
1) how many times Pallavi's brothers (Mohnish Bahl, Paresh Rawal, and Tej Sapru) will beat up or otherwise bully Inder and his family (Anupam Kher and Moushumi Chatterjee),
2) whether Jyothika, about whom I have heard great things but who here does very little of interest, will employ any facial expressions other than this one,
and 3) in what exact proportions and order our leads will balance their love for one another and their respect for their families' wishes.
It reminds me very much of director Priyadarshan's later film with Akshaye, Hulchul, on the same basic structure. Hulchul has a lot more oomph, thanks definitely to the presence of Kareena Kapoor in a feistier role and performance, as well perhaps to merely being late enough (2004) to escape the fog of vaguely lower quality that lingers over so many 90s films. Doli Saja Ke Rakhna is not nearly as Priyadarshan-y as it could be, and for that I am grateful, but I cannot give you any reasons to watch it, either.
Above even Akshaye looking super dreamy, the best thing about the film is undoubtedly A. R. Rahman's soundtrack. It's glorious! Choreographers Saroj Khan, Raju Sundaram, Kala, and Farah Khan make the songs look as great as they sound. "Taram Pum" shows Inder cavorting with his friends, establishing him as a confident, exuberant young man, just the kind of boy you'd want pursuing you if your family is going to put up any resistance.
Fun, no? You can tell they're not truly bad-ass because of the positive nature of the graffiti.
And again we get basketball foreshadowing conflict!
The parallel song for Pallavi, "Jhula Bahon Ka Aaj Bhi Do Na Mujhe," shows her cavorting with her family at home.
Cute but not as fun. The Diwali sequence at around 4:35 is lovely, though.
The highlight of the whole film is Pallavi's literature-inspired fantasy sequence
in which she dreams of a star-crossed romance with Inder in a sort of European Renaissance setting. (So yes, the fantasy sequence is similar to the reality of the story except with different clothing.)
I've never noticed someone wearing an architectural white handkerchief head covering in their fantasy life, but hey, whatever trips your trigger.
And if that's what it takes to imagine Akshaye like this, then I'm all for it.
It's a beautiful and very relatable song. Another love song follows Inder's letters to Pallavi; as the breeze catches one of them and sends her scurrying down the halls of her house lest her family catch on she's communicating with Inder, the song transports them to Greece.
The juxtaposition of the leads in set after gorgeous set of traditional Indian clothing with the whitewashed Mediterranean was unexpectedly too beautiful for words. The last song that I just loved to bits (and to recap, I am very fond of five of the six songs in this film) was a lively piece set in a seaside town where Inder and Pallavi have escaped in the face family opposition.
It's a great song, with Aksahye leaping around with his pants rolled up and a plaid shirt tied at the waist
and improved further by Amrish Puri (as a friendly elder adviser type) doing some sort of drunken hornpipe.
But other than those facets - and an extremely cute meet-cute in the extremely Beth-approved setting of a university library -
this film is unremarkable.
Many thanks to Filmiholic for recording this for me off of tv a few months ago! Though the movie was lackluster, I loved getting to see the commercials aimed at the North American South Asian market, including the tear-jerker by Walmart showing the young desi boy heading off for college with a car full of loot for his apartment - that's the American dream, right there. And look how Sony Entertainment TV wishes people a happy Thanksgiving!
I have never, in the 30-odd Thanksgivings I have spent in the United States, noticed it being coupled with the Statue of Liberty, American flags, or a giant white cloud. Awesome!