Yaadein (Memories)

Director: Subash Ghai
Music: Anu Malik; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Year: 2001
Running Time: 2 hours 57 minutes

Everything goes better with coke. Or so director Subash Ghai would like us to believe. It is difficult to tell whether this is a film or a three-hour commercial for coke. Product placement takes on new meaning in this film as that darn can of coke shows up everywhere like Zelig. After a while it takes on amusing dimensions as you try to figure out how the can of coke is going to make an appearance in this scene.

There were two moments in particular that should be voted into the Product Placement Hall of Shame. Jackie Schroff is called upon to sing at his daughter’s wedding and so he picks up a can of coke and sings a love song to it – or to his dead wife – it was difficult to say which had more affection in his heart. But that is even a minor league effort when compared to the flashback of the death scene with the wife. She has been run over by a car and the doctor tells Jackie she has three minutes to live (no more, no less) and as she lies dying in the hospital bed she somehow manages to find the keys to the house and hands them over to him – a coke key chain of course. Now the question is can I get some endorsement dollars if I mention coke often enough in this review. Get coke, it refreshes.
Jackie, Kareena, Himani and Avni
Melodrama may seem like a blunt instrument at times, but there is a real art in getting it right. As manipulative as it can be, it has to reach deep into the sentimental recesses of your heart and connect with something there that often surprises you as much as anyone. Sometimes though you find yourself snickering at faux melodrama – all the right elements are there but the mix and sincerity is all wrong. That is certainly the case with this film. Ghai throws everything at you – a dead wife and mother, two weddings, a father and his three loving daughters, a misbegotten love, a “heroic rescue” and lots of lovely images of coke – oh, can’t you just taste one now – the sound of coke running over ice sends chills down your spine doesn’t it.
Hrithnik and Kareena
But none of it works. There isn’t a true feeling in this entire film. It is utterly soulless and thoroughly bankrupt of true human emotion. It is all melodrama by the numbers – every time we need a jolt of emotion they show a portrait of the dead wife and have Jackie shed a tear or have a flashback to when the girls were young and their mother was alive. Remember that day she died Jackie –sniff sniff -  just you and her in the grocery store – all that coke lined up on the shelves – just waiting for you to pop open that lid – hear that phsssh sound – Jackie can you recall just how good that coke tasted right before your wife died?
Kareena and Himani
So he is left alone to raise his three little cokes – I mean daughters – though they are already quite grown up in the forms of Kareena Kapoor, Himani Rawat and Avni Vasa. Jackie takes them to India from London to get them married to good Indian boys. Considering that they are living out in the middle of nowhere and have to listen to dad talk to the portrait of his dead wife a lot, they are only too ready to move out. Avni finds her love through an introduction, Himani marries her boyfriend from London (much to the consternation of dad) but Kareena is in no hurry and just says sweetly “I will marry whoever you want me to papa. Love is not important”. Hey Jackie – I have coke in my fridge – the big 32-ounce bottles – just send Kareena my way and I will keep you supplied with coke in your old age.
Coke, Jackie and Kiran
Somewhere along the way to no ones surprise, she falls in love with a friend that the family grew up with, Hrithnik Roshan, and he can’t help notice that she has grown up into a rather luscious crumpet – soft and silky like a down comforter. Of course just as love strikes, they find out that Hrithnik has been promised to another, Kiran Rathod. Both are from rich families (as compared to poor Jackie who only owns two huge houses and is considered middle class) and after the parents see them drinking coke together at a soirée (honest) they agree to marry them off. Tears follow.
Though this was a high budget affair and Ghai brought in two of the hottest young actors around – Kareena and Hrthnik – the film sank like a stone at the box office. Not that the film is really all bad – in fact it has a few guilty pleasures. A game of who can spot the coke can first should provide loads of fun for people of all ages. The women are all lovely and beautifully photographed, Kareena is kool, the island rescue is laughably bad and the music has a couple good songs. In particular Eli Re Eli in which the three girls wake up literally and sexually and dance around the house in their sheets and towels is terrific and Chanakti Shaam is simply a great song that will get your whole body moving in rhythm. Just remember, coke is the one. Now send me a check.

My rating for this film: 5.0

Song 1

Song 2