A tribute to Yash Chopra, the King of Romance
Yash Chopra passed away. The 80 years old moviemaking maestro whose last directorial venture - Jab Tak Hai Jaan is going to hit the screens shortly, has left for his heavenly abode without seeing its release and public response. As my tribute to the great director who is better known as the King of Romance in the Indian cine-circles, I am reviewing a superhit movie directed by him. It's Chaandni (1989).
Chaandni is the story of a jovial but down-to-earth girl who respects the elders and believes in the Indian social and family values. She is as the title is - Chaandni (Sridevi) who is a simple middle class girl living in Delhi and happens to come across a rich boy, Rohit (Rishi Kapoor). Love blossoms between them and despite his family members looking upon Chaandni in a derogatory way, Rohit decides to get united with her. However destiny has other plans. Rohit meets with an accident and thereafter life is not the same either for himself or for the love of his life, i.e., Chaandni. Adjusting with the completely negative attitude of Rohit's family members on one hand and now handicapped Rohit's depressive mindset on the other, one day Chaandni gets fed up and gets out of Rohit's life as well as the city.
Now in a different city, Chaandni happens to get a job in a company whose head - Lalit (Vinod Khanna) is a widower. Lalit falls for Chaandni's charms and his mother (Waheeda Rehman) is also too happy to see this simple, heart-conquering girl as her would-be daughter-in-law. The thing that they are not aware of is that Chaandni's heart is not hers now. It's Rohit's. And a typical Indian girl cannot love again so easily and so soon. The memories of the first love are still fresh in her heart and she lives with them. However she gets ready to marry Lalit as a compromise with her life and not out of love for him. Here comes another twist in this love-triangle.
Rohit's friend-cum-relative Ramesh (Anupam Kher) elevates his spirits and propels him to come out of his depressive shell. Once Rohit starts seeing the status of the things in a different way, he gets ready for his proper medical treatment and after fully recovering, to search his lost love, i.e., Chaandni. While being abroad for different reasons, Lalit and Rohit cross paths and become good friends. Now both have a sweetheart individually but don't know that it's the same girl. Rohit comes to attend the engagement ceremony of Lalit and stunned to find that Lalit's betrothed is Chaandni only. And Chaandni ? She is at a crossroad now. Whom to choose ? But destiny and heart work in tandem and allow the story to conclude in the desired way.
Yash Chopra possessed the rare knack of portraying male-female romance on the screen in the most realistic manner. We know that real life is quite different from reel life. However Yash Chopra was always able to make the audience believe that what's on the reel was close to the real. While watching the movie, we love the lovers, we love their inner feelings and external romance and we love their union in the end. At the same time, we are also sympathetic towards the loser in love because the King of Romance has made us rely upon his sentiments and feel his grief and we wish that he gets another girl to apply the ointment of her true love on his wounds and heal them in due course of time.
After Silsila (1981), Yash Chopra made three entirely different movies under his banner - Mashaal (1984), Faasle (1985) and Vijay (1988) and all three could not do well on the box office. Hence Yash Ji moved back to his forte, i.e., romance and within a year of the failure of Vijay, came back with a bang through Chaandni. Despite all the cinematic liberties taken, Chaandni effortlessly wins the audience's heart and no wonder, it was a huge commercial success. The story starts hilariously, tickles the viewer romantically and then moves deep within him while heading towards the finale. It's a brilliant love triangle.
With technical superiority and high production value on one hand, the movie scores very high on the music front on the other. Yash Ji availed the services of music maestros - Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the eminent Santoor player and Pandit Hari Prasaad Chaurasiya, the virtuoso flautist who made perhaps the best music album of their career as cine-music directors. The movie contains nine songs and all boast of superior quality. Chaandni O Meri Chaandni, Mere Haathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyaan and Main Sasuraal Nahin Jaaungi became chartbusters overnight. However the relatively less talked about songs viz. Tere Mere Hothon Pe Meethe Meethe Geet Mitwa, Tere Kadmon Mein Saara Jahaan Rakh Doon and Parbat Se Kaali Ghata Takraai are also highly melodious and ear-soothing. Male songs viz. Sheheron Mein Ek Sheher Mila Bhai Sheher Mila Tha Dilly and Tu Mujhe Suna Main Tujhe Sunaaun Apni Prem Kahaani are quite hilarious. My most favourite song from this album is Lagi Aaj Saawan Ki Phir Woh Jhadi Hai which has been sung by Suresh Waadkar (with Anupama Deshpande). Whenever I listen to this song while being alone, my tears refuse to stay in my eyes. The beautiful lyrics of this album have been penned by ace-lyricist Anand Bakshi.
Rishi Kapoor was always at his best when he had to romance. None could beat him in romancing with lovely ladies on the screen. Even after 16 years from Bobby (1973), the romantic skills of Rishi Kapoor are the same as visible in Chaandni. I regard Vinod Khanna as one of the best actors of his time and he has delivered a mature performance in his low-footage role. The supporting cast has also done well.
But Chaandni is Sridevi's movie by all means. Right from the title, the complete story belongs to her and her only and she is at the zenith of her career in this movie. Yash Ji brought the best out of this natural actress whose charms have always been able to knock out the males. She appears so gorgeous that it's difficult for any young male not to fall in love with her.
Chaandni is a heart-conquering love story with immense repeat value. Watch it again and again and you will never feel tired of watching it. It's an immortal romantic story presented by the King of Romance in Hindi cinema, Yash Chopra who had got the love of his life (Paamela Ji) at the mature age of 39 years. May his soul rest in peace.