Sunday, July 03, 2005
The Paheli Behind Making a Good Movie
Why does it happen that a movie starring Shah Rukh ‘Badshah’ Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kher, including Amitabh Bachchan, directed by Amol Palekar, where the women wear exquisite Tanishq jewelry, and produced by the King Khan still falls flat?
The answer lies in over-confidence. Paheli is a movie that has been made without care or consideration for the art of making films. It is a good story that eventually falls apart because of its reliance on a one-man-show called Shah Rukh Khan. King Khan is a big disappointment in the movie. He looks like Raj of DDLJ trapped in period costume and a humongous ‘pagri’. His dialogues look strained and even the way he woos his woman in the desert reminds you of the way he wooed Simran in Europe.
Badi badi deshon mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain
You are forced to compare Shah Rukh with Amitabh Bachchan and that’s when you realize what a fantastic actor AB is. In the ten odd minutes of screen time, Bachchan grabs our attention as the silly, rustic, ill-literate shepherd who’s bent on doing good. He looks the role, while our Shah Rukh looks exactly like Rahul of K3G when his father disowned him. Sorry Shah Rukh, even the comedy fails to entertain. You’d better go back to acting school and learn how to stop acting the same way in every movie.
Paheli is about Lajjo- a newly wed bride on her way to her new house. A chance stop at a resting place haunted by ghosts is the turning point of the story. A ghost falls in love with Lajjo and cannot get her out of his mind. Meanwhile Lajjo’s husband Kishan Kumar is clearly more inclined towards making money than love and leaves home the next day in search of fortune, not to return for five years. The ghost impersonates Kishan, goes to the house (oops haveli) and declares his identity as well as his undying love for Lajjo. Well, well, wonders never cease in Bollywood and Lajjo agrees to live and love the ghost and to amaze us even more, she carries a child by the ghost!!!! A series of supernatural events powered by our do-gooder ghost occur and all is well till Lajjo’s human husband returns.
Paheli is essentially a love story, but it falls behind its time. Ten years ago a ghost yielding his powers (remember Shah Rukh in Chamatkar?) would have drawn gasps of astonishment, but not anymore. This is not even a movie for children if you consider the emotions expressed by Lajjo and Kishan.
Paheli disappoints because it neither falls into a definite genre of films nor is it timeless. I have been a great admirer of Amol Palekar and I am sure he could have done better than this. Rani Mukherjee acts well, but alas! Not well enough to save the movie. Juhi Chawla makes a comeback after a long time and its good to see her again. Anupam Kher is good as the miserly Seth Ji. MM Kreem’s music is best when he works for the Bhatts. This has been a brave effort at movie making, but the applause must be reserved for something better.