Sunday 9 April 2017

Movie - Chandni (1989)

Genre – Drama, Musical, Romance
Director – Yash Chopra
Duration – 3 hours 6 minutes
Cast – Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Anupam Kher, Wahida Rahman, Sushma Seth 
Music – Shiv-Hari

My View
I must have been five when Chandni was released. Though I have faint memory of watching this movie with my family in theatre, all I remembered about the movie was Sridevi's "Safedi ki chamkaar" white clothes and the song, "Mere haathon mein nah nau choodiyan hain" 

The song was a rage among girls and I remember, no ladies sangeet function or birthday party would be complete without girls dancing to match Sridevi's steps. So impressed was I with the song that I made mom buy similar combination glass bangles for me!

Those were the times when I would go to theatre not for movies, but for Campa Cola! Yes, you heard me right. A bottle of chilled Campa Cola would be my reward for being sensible throughout the movie! 

While I am sure the movie would have been broadcasted many a times on TV all these years, I never got a chance to watch it. Tried searching on Youtube few years back, but the trailer and paid version was not a motivation enough. 

So, after 20 something years, I finally chanced upon Chandni being broadcasted by Max2. Not wasting the chance, I announced my veto over remote control as I really wanted to know what was the rage all about!

Right from the first scene, the movie presents flavour of typical Yash Chopra movies, as we see a big fat Indian wedding in full swing! The bubbly and vivacious Chandni (Sridevi) makes a heartwarming entry into the viewers' hearts as she arrives for her cousin sister's wedding. Simple girl with a zest for life, this girl next door of the 80s had no frills or air about her. So, when Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) spots Chandni dancing to Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan, it is love at first site. When Rohit stops Chandni's way and proposes to her, somehow I was reminded of the latest buzz around anti romeo squads! Jokes apart, the romance of 80s was simple and a lot about communication with mere  expressions. So, when Chandni agrees to stay back for a few days after the wedding, Rohit understands that his feras (hovering) around his dream girl were finally paying off!

But, like all Bollywood movies, there would be no spice if all went smooth. Hence, comes the great economic divide! While Chandni comes from a typical middle class background, Rohit belongs to an affluent family that views his true love with a jaundiced eye. However, Ramesh (Anupam Kher), Rohit's brother-in-law and surprisingly, the selfless and sensible Ghar Jamai, mediates and convinces the family to accept Rohit's choice. Though, as the movie progresses, one realises the acceptance is only namesake, for the family shows no visible signs of affection for Chandni or her family, even post engagement. 

Life seems like a fairytale with Rohit and Chandni romancing in the Alps (For a moment, I thought the director decided to give the wedding sequence a miss and jumped straight to the honeymoon shot!). Just when you think the remaining story would be about the sweet Chandni struggling to achieve "Hriday Parivartan" (Change of heart) in her in-laws, the smart director leaves your expectations far behind and proves his mettle by dropping another bombshell. In an effort to pamper Chandni by showering her with flowers from a helicopter, Rohit hurts himself and is declared paralysed and bed ridden for the rest of his life. While the middle class values in Chandni transform her from a fiancé to a caregiver, the family grabs this opportunity to insult her by calling her unlucky for their son. Gradually, to Chandni's horror, Rohit's attitude too changes and he rebukes her care in the name of sympathy. Now, one thing about Bollywood movies is that the hero can never be shown in bad light. Hence, immediately after, a sad Rohit is seen confessing to Ramesh that he did all this to save Chandni from spoiling her life with a paralytic. 

Anyway, a heart broken Chandni is forced to move away from Rohit's life to Mumbai, where she tries to gather her life and move on. She finds shelter in her friend's house and begins her job hunt. As luck would have it, on her way to an interview, she bumps into Lalit (Vinod Khanna) who, incidentally happens to be her prospective boss. While all this may have been sounded as a surprise back then, the tactic was used later by directors to display smartness of ambitious girls. 

For a moment, life seems to be giving Chandni and Lalit a second chance as a lonely and heartbroken Lalit gets drawn towards Chandni. But, then the story can't just move on leaving Rohit behind. So, one fine day, the volcano of Rohit's love erupts and he decides to get on his feet to win back his lady love! 

As luck would have it, Rohit and Lalit bump into each other in Switzerland (Yes, how can be a Yash Chopra movie be complete without Switzerland!) and get on like brothers lost in Kumbh Mela! Though I am sure if they knew they shared a common love interest, we would witness a duel in the Alps!

For Chandni, who had been trying to move on, the typical emotional dilemma of a Bollywood heroine begins, with both her lovers trying to win her love. Though she had half heartedly committed to Lalit's proposal to honour his emotions and his mom (Wahida Rahman)'s love, would she be able to forget her first love?

While most of you would definitely know the answer, let me leave this puzzle unanswered for those who are yet to catch up on this popular movie. 

I ain't sure that in 2017, how much would you be able to resonate with the story. But, would definitely recommend this movie as a one time watch for feel of 80's romance, when handwritten letters, romancing around trees, wearing full clothes and no kissing scenes too could express love beautifully!

You will remember the movie for
  • Shiv Hari music. One can't ignore the background score and generous use of Santoor and Flute (with music coming from the maestros Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia)

  • Mere Haathon mein nau nau choodiyan

  • Mitwa (The song still enjoys presence in romantic playlists)

  • The song that is still played by radio stations each time it rains - "Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"

  • The beautiful Sridevi's mascara eyes and vibrant 80's dressing, especially her white suits and bangles, epitomising the title.

  • Lots of red roses (remind me of Silsila)

  • Switzerland locations, though my home sick eyes found happiness to see India Gate, Dandi March statue and ridge.

What kept me wondering...

  • Why would someone sing a song like "Main Sasural Nahi Jaungi" (notice the complete lyrics) at her own engagement, that too knowing the hostile nature of her in-laws?

  • Why would a shy Chandni wear a Chiffon saree and dance in the rain in her boss's lawn, that too when she hardly knew him! (Lol!)

  • Sridevi is shown to share accommodation with her friend when she lands up in Mumbai. However, once she finds job as a secretary in Vinod Khanna's company, we see her graduating from a paying guest accommodation to a swanky duplex bungalow!

  • In one sequence, both Lalit and Rohit are seen trying to reach Chandni on her landline. In the age of letters, when social media and internet were non existent, how come Rohit knew Chandni's Mumbai address and contact number, especially when he had lost touch with her?
Did You Know?
Chandni was the first movie in which Sridevi dubbed her own dialogues. She even sang the popular number "Chandni, O Meri Chandni"



  1. Some parts of the movie were good..the vinod khanna bit... I didn't like the first part of this movie.... But nice you brought back the emotional drama it was...

  2. अच्छी फिल्म थी। और आपने अपने लफ्जो से इसे और सुंदर बना दिया।


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