Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lamhe (1991)

One of the all time best soundtracks to come out of the vaunted Yash Raj Films production house, Lamhe was also one of the biggest box office flops in Bollywood as well. Whether you enjoyed the story of Viren (Anil Kapoor) who falls in love with Pallavi (Sridevi) while on a trip to Rajasthan or found it quite strange like our friends over at The Post Punk Cinema Club most will agree that the songs from the movie are now considered classics. Although it was a commercial disappointment in India, 'Lamhe' became the first movie to make more money in the overseas market rather than at home and is considered a landmark in that regard. It showed distributors in India that there was a huge demand for Bollywood movies with NRI's in the UK and US. Critically speaking it was the most decorated film of the year and swept the Filmfare Awards winning best film, best story, best dialogue, best comedian and best actress.

The film was primarily filmed in Rajasthan which is one of my favorite parts of India and quite the tourist mecca for desis and non-desis alike. Indeed, the scenery and music of that region provide much of the unique flavor of the movie and provided many people not raised in India (myself included) our first glimpse into the enchanting state that translates into 'Land of the Kings'. The movie also introduced me to the dusky and haunting voice of Ila Arun who hails from Rajasthan and whose voice provides a striking contrast to that of Lata in both songs for today. While Lata and her progeny ruled Bollywood for good reason, singers like Ila Arun (and for you old schoolers the late great Noorjehan) are what gives Bollywood it's unique tapestry. The songs for today are sung by Lata & Ila Arun - the videos are below and are necessary viewing not just for the glimpse into Rajasthan but also because they showcase Sridevi at her prime. Incidentally, Yash Chopra cites this film and 'Silsila' as his personal favorites - they were both commercial duds but have actually increased in popularity over the years and are now remembered quite fondly.

Morni Bagaan Maan
(with subtitles)

Megha Re Megha


ajnabi said...

Lamhe's on a roll lately; this is the third review I've read in a month on the blogosphere. I'm looking forward to watching it!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Oh this songs totally rocks the radio in India, to this day- which reminds me- I miss Indian radio so so much. Ila arun was on full throttle during this period I think- lots of movie songs, and some acting bits too.

Bollywood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me of this movie. I saw it only a year back but I had forgotten about "Megha Re Megha" which was my favorite part of the movie. I remember replaying that number a few times. I also remember not being able to get my mind around, "But HOW could he fall for the daughter of his old flame!?!?!" But then Anil's character had even MORE trouble than I did processing this, and eventually I was like, "Bas! Just get your shaadi on already!"

All the best!

Sanket Vyas said...

Ajnabi - looking forward to seeing what you think of it. It's a neat movie that you can enjoy even if the story creeps you out a little.

Shweta - I miss it too! I remember listening to Doordarshan and Binica Geetmala on my first two visits to India (in '77 & '81) with my whole family in the evenings - such sweet memories.

TBF - I agree wholeheartedly about Sridevi and although her initial movies annoyed me, I started to like her more in the later years. I think the story would have been more accepted in India in it's later years but seem to remember it doing great business in India during subsequent re-releases.

BFC - totally with you on the songs and your thoughts about Anil. I tend to suspend belief (or my annoyance with plotlines) much more with Bollywood movies than any other ones. I guess it's because I am so busy enjoying the songs, scenery, Hindi/Urdu language, stars etc. that the plots sometimes are secondary.

a ppcc representative said...

Oh gooosh, now I feel I need to reevaluate Lamhe, since a lot of people seem to get over the freakiness.

Review more Bollyweeeeed!

Sanket Vyas said...

I have learned to get over the freakishness in Bollywood movies a long long time ago in a filmi duniya far far away.

The Bollyweed reviews are my favorite too and my next one will most likely be Amar Akbar Anthony -such fond memories of that one as it is my earliest movie memory and the first Bollywood movie I ever saw in India.

The Comic Project said...

Didn't enjoy Lamhe as much as Chandni .. but what I liked most was Anil Kapoor not shouting :-) and the "Pallo" scene almost killed the film.

The tune of the song "Kabhi mai kahoon" was used in the background in Chandni. Loved the tune, but the song felt like a let down in comparison.

But a good film and Sridevi rocked

Sanket Vyas said...

I grew to have more respect for Sridevi over the years as her acting just got better and better. The first Bollywood movie I saw her in was 'Himmatwala' and at the time her Hindi was so poor she had to have all her lines dubbed after the fact!

Liked Chandini as well as Lamhe about equally but they were very different movies indeed.