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~~~ Phir raat kati aur din nikla ~~~
Sep 03, 2008 09:01 AM 6510 Views





Love is blind, it makes the world go round and it has no boundaries”.  *There are numerous such quotes on or about love which we have heard time and again. Majority of us have probably also tasted this fruit called ‘love’ whether in the form of a teenage crush, an adolescent infatuation or as a more serious attachment that can be classified as love.

The point I want to drive home is that anybody & everybody can fall in love and once we do, then come hell or water lovers leave no stone unturned to get united. So what happens when a ghost falls in love. Mind you not with a fellow ghost but a “jeeti jaagti insaan”. This forms the backdrop of “PAHELI”, a film directed by yesteryear’s talented and sensitive actor ‘Amol Palekar’. For this he roped in some big names:

Anupam Kher -  Bhanwarlal Seth- a miser

Shahrukh Khan – Kishen Lal  - Bhanwar Lal’s younger son & The Ghost

Rani Mukherjee – Lachchi - Kishen Lal’s bride.

Juli Chawla – Bhanwarlal’s Elder son's wife

Amitabh Bachchan - The Shepherd

The story goes like this… Lachchi a bubbly, cheerful girl, full of dreams and life gets married to a rich ‘wyapari’(businessman) Kishen lal. Accounts flow in his veins or so it seems since on his wedding night also he’s putting 2 and 2 together.  The day after his marriage he sets out for ‘wyapar’ for 5 years shattering his new, beautiful bride's dreams. A ghost in love with Lachchi takes Kishen's form and comes to stay in his house. The ghost or ‘behrupiya’ is unable to hide the truth from his love and lets her decide whether he should continue to stay or leave. This is a big moment for Lachchi who has never ever been consulted for decisions regarding her own life. There is a poignant dialogue here something like, “Agar main jaane wali to na rok saki to aane wali to rokne ka mujhe kya hak hai”. The ghost stays and their love blossoms. There also runs a parallel track of Juhi, whose husband had also abandoned her 7 yrs back. Right when Lachchi is on the verge of delivering a baby, the real husband comes back. They all are eager to solve the ‘paheli’ or ‘the riddle’ that who Lachchi’s real husband is. Finally a shepherd comes to their rescue & uses 3 tricks to solve the riddle. I am sure you must be eager to know how the dilemma was solved.

Why should you watch it:-

1. Direction:Amol Palekar as an actor has always fascinated me with his simplicity and real-life characterisation. Watch this film to know his directorial capabilities. He's himself confessed that he’s an actor by chance, a producer by compulsion, but director by choice. Do you want more reasons :-)???

2. Cinematography by Ravi K Chandranis a class apart. The first thing that catches the eye is the colourful palette used. The bright and silky Rajasthani costumes have done complete justice to the fairy-tale. The movie is a visual delight. The palaces, the ponds, the shimmering desert have all been captured so aesthetically that you have to see it to believe me.

3. Music by M.M. Kreemis mellifluous and a notch above what he had composed earlier. The songs have a rustic charm and the lyrics by Gulzar are woven melodiously in the story. The soul-stirring music and use of traditional musical instruments keeps the essence of the Rajasthani folk tale intact.

4. Choreography by Farah Khanis really different from what we have generally seen of her. The steps are simple, elegant and enhance the traditional flavour of the film.

5. Performances by all the actors is very true to life. Shahrukh in a double role as the restrained and business minded husband & the unrestrained, witty and charming ghost is outstanding. Rani is her vivacious self. Anupam Kher as always projects the miser image to perfection (makes me recall Dil, Ram Lakhan etc etc). Juhi as the silent sufferer and abandoned wife leaves you spellbound.

6. Message: Though the movie gives a social message about the general plight of women in our society, but nowhere does it become preachy and that's wins me over hands down.

7. There are light moments in the film too to keep you glued to your seats. The narrators of the story are 2 puppets, the voices provided by Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak. Their conversations are quite amusing. The short cameo done by Rajpal Yadav does lighten the sombre mood of the film. The Ghost's antics are also pleasing and done in good taste.

Why you might want to skip it:-

1. It’s not a fast, racy film. It has it’s own pace which might seem slow at times to some of us.

2. It was not a big commercial success. Most sensitive topics initially don’t appeal to the larger segment and thus draw in fewer collections and result in being termed a flop. But for me a film is not a hit or a flop, if it appeals me it's good.

3. At some points in the film the music is louder than required since that makes comprehending the dialogues a bit difficult, more so because the dialogues are not in simple day to day spoken language.

  1. Most importantly since there are portions in the film we can't relate to, for the simple reason that there is a Ghost and above all it falls in love so there are bound to be things which are unexplained.


1. Paheli is based on a legendary short story "Duvidha" written by Vijaydan Detha.

  1. It was India's nomination for the 2006 Oscar Awards, though it didin't make it to the final five nominations in the foreign film category.

3. The director Amol Palekar wasn’t sure if Farah Khan would be able to pull off the choreography, but since she was recommended by Shahrukh who’s also the producer Amol had to give in.

  1. On Koffee with Karan, Shahrukh termed 'Paheli' as the biggest mistake of his life, if I can recall correctly.

5. Amol Palekar and his wife-cum scriptwriter Sandhya Gokhale, researched for the costumes and jewellery to create just the right look for the 19th century Rajasthani tale. Tata’s Tanishq Jewellery Brand Designer Tushita Kurien designed the sets worn by Rani.

*To conclude, I would say that 'Paheli' is a beautiful love story, a fairy tale which brings to fore:-

  1. The dilemma of the wife, who has to choose between her insensitive husband or a Ghost who loves her madly.

  2. The dilemma of the Ghost, who has taken human form to be with his lover but cannot be dishonest in love.

  3. The dilemma of the real husband, who is not being recognised by his own family and wife.

  4. The dilemma of the near and dear ones, who want to get out of this dilemma.

So, all of you who have reached this point do give it one shot. Watch it for the sheer recommendation. If you have a heart at the right place, I am sure you are gonna love it :-)

*Feel free to rate and comment.


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