Why did “Lamhe” flop? I have still not known the reason. I feel the movie was way ahead of time. Released in 1991 and a modern India, the audience was still not ready to grasp the concept of love between an aged man and a young girl.
I first saw the movie when I was in school. We brought the videocassette after contributing one rupee for the rent and watching in our neighbor’s VCR (Yes, we had those in the good old days). The first 30-45 minutes, when Sridevi and Anil Kapoor roamed in the desserts of Rajasthan, we were ready to trash the boy who had selected the movie for that afternoon. The same feeling we had when we saw Aamir Khan’s “Raakh” (Anybody remembers that movie with Supriya Pathak released after QSQT).
But everybody was glad that we didn’t return the movie. Because the first 30 minutes form the base of a wonderful, emotional and beautiful movie. The movie as its name describes is moment of love, passion, emotions, and feelings.
The story is of Anil Kapoor playing Viren who returns to his hometown in Rajasthan to visit her nanny who he fondly calls Dai Jaa played by the talented Wahida Rehmaan. Viren falls for his next door neighbor, Pallavi played by Sridevi. But the problem is Though Viren comes from a liberal London, union of Viren and Pallavi looks unlikely because Pallavi is elder to him and an elder wife is not accepted in traditional rajasthan. Before Viren could confess his love for Pallavi, tragedy strikes and Pallavi’s father dies. Viren comes to know about Pallavi’s love. In a few days Pallavi gets married to an Air Force officer. Both Pallavi and her husband die in a car accident leaving a small daughter, in the care of Viren. Viren cannot get over Pallavi’s death and lives a life of pain and sadness when he comes face to face with Pallavi’s daughter, Pooja again played by Sridevi. Pooja is in awe and in love for Viren and vows to marry him in her childhood.
Viren cannot forget Pallavi and at the same time cannot look beyond the face of Pooja who has the same face as Pallavi. The rest of the movie is how Viren comes in term of Pooja’s love and accepts pooja’s love as Pooja and not as Pallavi’s lookalike.
“Lamhe” was one of Yash Chopra’s finest creation. He decided to make the movie as it is even when even his crew was opposed to the ending.
The movie had an entertaining story. Yash Chopra never losses the grip of the movie. All the scenes in the movie were for a purpose. Recent movies from Yash Chopra like “Veer-Zaara” lack that magic. The reason it did not succeed was probably due to the suggestion of a almost incestuous relationship between Anil kapoor and Sridevi..
The cast, the music and the story, everything was beautiful about “Lamhe”. Anil Kapoor plays Viren and plays the character with dedication. His transformation from a irresponsible youth to a mature, brooding man who is still in love with the girl he meets in his teen is excellent. This is one of Anil Kapoor’s best roles.
Sridevi playing the mother and daughter is really good. However she hams in the daughter role sometimes. First playing a traditional woman of Rajasthan to a bubby teenager, Pooja. She caries the role on her shoulder perfectly.
Waheeda rehmaan as Dai Jaa plays the motherly nanny with restraint. Not too emotional and yet effective. Her relationship with Viren in the first half is as beautiful as her relationship with Pooja in the second half.
The story was very serious and could have dragged if not for Anupam Kher who plays Viren’s friend, Prem. Anupam Kher is at his comic’s best here. Making the movie lively in the otherwise serious movie.
The music of “Lamhe” is another plus point in the movie. The music directors were Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pandit Hari prasad Chaurasia popularly known as Shiv-Hari. The songs capture the rustic smell of the dessert. The movie sets the mood with the indroductory song of “Yeh Lamhe, Yeh Pal” sung by Hariharan.
The movie shows why Yash Chopra is a master of emotions. Saw the movie again yesterday after long time. And all memories came back. It still felt great watching the movie for the nth time.
Scenes like the no-mustache look of Anil Kapoor, Viren breaking down after hearing of Pallavi’s love to another man, Anupam Kher’s comic timing, the first time Viren sees Pooja, the song parody by Anupam Kher and Sridevi, Waheeda Rehmaan dancing on the tune of her own song from “Guide” “Kaato se kheech ke yeh aancha”lPooja gifting a sweater to Viren, Pooja’s confrontation with Viren’s girlfriend, Anita, Viren telling Pooja that she was in love with her mother and not her and the final climax were a gem.
And I still don’t know why “Lamhe” flopped.