Doli Saja Ke Rakhna

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!


Anonymous said…
I love this movie. I love Akshaye Khanna and Jyothika Sadanah in this romantic drama. It's so beautiful. Choreography work is awesome and fabulous. It's a beautiful old love story. Old is Gold! I can watch it even today. I've watched this film at least more than 16 times without getting bored!! Actually, it made me sleep soundly, profoundly and deeply just after the film ended. It's a very nice, very sweet and lovely film. It makes u have a very nice 8 hours of beauty sleep. Recommended for insomniacs.
ajnabi said…
Well, the visuals you've taken away from the film are quite compelling! Poor Jo, it's a pity she's so underused. If you have the chance/inclination to watch Kaakha Kaakha, she's in much better form there.
Pitu said…
Hehe this is a decent movie. Love the music though. As sweet as Jyothika is, I can see why she never really made it big in Btown.
memsaab said…
A white cloud, or mashed potatoes?!
I love "Kissa hum" and "Kheva re kheva"- the latter specifically for the outfits, as u mention. I love the album, but have never seen the movie- just never gotten a hold of it. Im v glad uve written about this, since its almost as good as having seen it. Akshaye in in form/period is perfect!
Anonymous - It is a very pretty film in a non-fantastic sort of way. I'm surprised it has held you through so many viewings, but I'm glad you've found something to enjoy so thoroughly. I have films like that too - just not this one :)

ajnabi - I would love to see her in something else - I've read so many great things about her.

Pitu - GREAT music :)

memsaab - Oh! Maybe they are mashed potatoes...a lot of mashed potatoes!

Shweta - You're not really missing anything, but there are certainly worse ways to spend a few hours. He does look gorgeous, it must be said.
It was super-hit film of its time. I love this movie. Pretty good one.Choreography work is awesome and fabulous. Music is too melodious. Quite romantic movie.
EP said…
Sorry for the very late reply to this review, but I saw this movie after a very long time over the weekend. I saw the title, and remembered that years back I enjoyed the movie but could not remember what exactly it was about. So I sat through the movie and rewatched it. The undoubted highlight of the movie was the ending- and its a real pity that they wasted so much time with dragging on the brothers anger for Akshays character.

I have a notorious personal hatred of climaxes. Its a pet hate of mine and something I cannot explain - I will watch 90% of a hindi movie and gladly get up 10 minutes before the end because u know that the writer is going to have to wrap up his story into a neat little parcel for the viewer to get closure - no matter how many loose ends there are.

However the last 10 minutes of this movie deserves recognition i.e. from the part that Akshay kumars family come to greet the girls family to return her chain, and I urge you to watch it again with a specific focus on the way the story is resolved - i.e. common sense over a hash job. Specific things that make me admire this ending is that hardly 10 sentences are spoken in the those last 10 minutes, its all facial expressions capturing the awkwardness of both families realising how their pettiness has gotten in the way of 2 people in love... absolutely brilliant.

EP - Cape Town South Africa
EP - You know, now that you have explained it, I'm not sure why more people don't hate movie climaxes! :D I personally am more annoyed by what comes after, so often just a few seconds of the major characters standing around looking happy or hugging or a few seconds of one of the songs - so perfunctory and tacked on!

I wish I remembered the very end of this film better, but from how you describe it, it sounds very nicely done!

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