Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kya

Director: Sohail Khan
Music: Jatin Lalit, Himesh Reshamiya, Sajid Wajid
Year: 1998
Running Time: 162 minutes

If you look with some persistence, there are moments of charm hidden here among the wreckage of a poorly constructed and edited film that drags itself like a one legged dog to the finish line. But not many. Almost everything but Kajol’s performance feels awkward, uninspired and out of synch with reality. In particular, Salman Khan plays his role like a spinning top that won’t wind down. If anyone out there were really as irritating as his character, he would have been banished to another part of the planet long ago. In what no doubt was an attempt to be charming and boyish, Salman makes it impossible to believe that anyone could possibly be attracted to him. Put this guy on Ritalin. This total lack of chemistry between the two rather defeats the purpose of the film.

Kajol and Salman Khan
Kajol lives off in the countryside with her Thakur uncle (Dharmendra) and her brother (Arbaaz Khan – actually the younger brother of Salman in real life – as is the director). Her protective brother swats off Kajol’s suitors like annoying buzzing mosquitoes, but to such an obsessive extent that one has to wonder if there is something more than just brotherly love going on here. The fact that he seems completely oblivious to the flirtatious hints thrown at him with the subtlety of a right hook by the lovely Anjala Zhaveri only reinforces this perception. If so though, it is all kept as subtext.
Dharmendra,  Anjala Zhaveri and Abaaz Khan
Kajol convinces him to let her go off to college in Bombay where she soon runs into the brick wall charms of Salman. To get her attention, he steals her purse and has her chase him through the school, but instead of having him arrested for trying to impersonate a juvenile at his age, she falls in love with him. Salman is the school star athlete and when he is not baring his chest he hangs out with a group of friends that would be the “losers” in any American film – the gay guy, the fat guy, the tomboy girl and the nerd – but amazingly in this film they are the “cool” group. Big brother shows up to check on “Baby” and upon seeing this state of affairs drags her back home. Salman follows her back in an attempt to win the respect of her brother and various tedious plot points ensue.
The music isn’t too bad but it is accompanied by choreography that is lackluster and uninteresting. The first number, Oh Jaane Jana, appears to be primarily an excuse to get Salman out of his shirt and strutting his ego. The best song among the bunch is Teri Jawani – with a near religious fervor it is danced to by Anjala as a mating call to Arbaaz (unfortunately the dvd transfer is very murky during this scene). The final number Odhie Chunariya is a nice ballad with a catchy refrain.
Kajol does what she can with this material and her co-star to keep this sinking boat afloat as best she can, but Salman’s antics keep puncturing holes in it. The film has a fair amount of action – the brother beating up everyone in sight and a sub-plot about some neighbors trying to steal their land – but with sound effects out of a video game  it is difficult to take it seriously.

As a note, I should mention that this film did quite well at the box office and that both Kajol and Anjala were nominated for ZeeTV Cine Awards.

My rating for this film: 4.5