Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (Every Heart that Falls in Love)

Director: Raj Kanwar
Music: Anu Malik; Lyrics: Sameer
Year: 2000
Running Time: 2 hours 47 minutes

Saturated in bright lush colors and good spirits, this film attempts to charm you with dazzling women and dimwitted humor. The women go down fine like a heady champagne, but the humor takes on the characteristics of a recurring toothache. The typical three hour running time of an Indian film can be either a blessing or a curse at times – often it can allow the film to be fleshed out and for there to be complex multiple plot lines, other times it seems that the director is frantically scrambling to fill in the space. This one is rather difficult to pinpoint as the film is broken up into three sections and each one is dominated to some extent by one of the three stars in the film.

The first section is all Salman Khan, the second part receives an injection of the zestful Preita Zinta and the final section is driven forward by the classy Rani Mukerjee – and all three sections take on different moods – comedy, romance and melodrama. The final two sections are quite enjoyable, but the first is a patience test as we get the full brunt of Salman and his goofy antics. Someone has to tell this guy that developing a character is more than putting together a passel of quirks that fall painfully short of being either interesting or charming. There are moments in this film in which he feels real and then inexplicably he will shriek and twitch with some spasmodic arm/leg movement. Fortunately, his two female co-stars are both bewitching and well worth staying tuned for.
After dancing on the shore with a horde of yellow swathed beauties, Salman leaves Goa to travel to Bombay to try his luck at becoming a singer and to find his dream girl. He meets up with his equally juvenile cousin and they try and break into the music biz with numerous attempts at humor, but they are not successful on either count. A car comes crashing through a billboard and lands on a train track – and wouldn’t you know it – a train is headed its way – God I hate when that happens. Salman drags out Rani and rushes her to the hospital where she goes into a coma. Her family assumes that Salman is the husband of Rani’s that none of them have met and circumstances lead to him taking on this role.
Soon Rani’s best friend Preita shows up at the hospital and Salman takes one look at her irresistible dimples and his knees do a double-triple wobble – it’s love – but of course as Rani’s husband he can not declare his feelings for her. Now if all this sounds vaguely familiar it might be because you have seen While You were Sleeping which this film seems to have dipped into liberally but switched around the genders. I am beginning to notice that Bollywood seems to remake a number of Hollywood films, but stamps them with its own cultural imprint which is rather interesting. After getting stuck having to stare into the air for the first two hours of the film  (though she still dances one song!), Rani finally wakes up – is the jig up – will Salman be able to marry Preita – will Rani fall in love – will Salman stop his idiotic antics?
The last two hours of the film will draw you in like a melting slurpy, but you may want to skip much of the first hour (though it contains two good songs). Both Preita and Rani look simply fabulous throughout – Rani could make being in a coma fashionable, as she looks so great. The two of them make a good contrast – Preita full of impish personality and delightful pixie like looks while Rani is the Lexus of Indian actresses – luxurious and smooth with a thousand watt smile that could light up New Delhi or the darkest part of your heart. Look for a nifty cameo of Shahrukh Khan and his daughter from Kuch Kuch Hata Hoi (Rani of course played his wife in that film).
The song numbers are uniformly solid and catchy with eye-catching designs and enjoyable choreography, but three numbers in particular jump out. The first, Garan Chai Ki Pyali, has a lively rock beat, a bevy of knockout strutting females and allows Salman to remove his shirt before the credits are even over – a record perhaps even for him. Piya Piya o Piya is a lively dance number between the two women as they display more chemistry than Salman does with either in a fun Patty Duke flavored choreographed romp. Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega is a visual feast as Rani falls into a spinning reverie of images, passion and music.

My rating for this film: 7.0