Following the footsteps of many stars of Bollywood, Vinod Khanna also decided to bring his next generation in Bollywood through a movie produced by him. His elder son – Rahul joined Bollywood on his own through offbeat cinema. But for his younger son – Akshaye, Vinod Khanna made a movie. This movie being the launchpad of Akshaye is Himalay Putra (1997). Barely 22 years old Akshaye had already been signed by J.P. Dutta for his ambitious project – Border (1997) but finally Himalay Putra proved to be his first release.Himalay Putra (the son of the Himalayas) starts with the love story of Suraj (Vinod Khanna) and Seema (Hema Malini) and the immortal wall of disparity of status standing between themselves and their union. Seema being the daughter of a rich businessman and Suraj being a police inspector with a modest income, are destined to face the objection of Seema’s father (Amrish Puri) to their marriage who creates misunderstanding in Seema’s heart for Suraj and she starts looking upon him as a greedy person who discarded her love for the sake of money. But the problem is that she has already got pregnant through him and after the demise of her father, she moves to the region of the Himalayas, giving birth to Abhay (Akshaye Khanna).
Abhay grows up misunderstanding his father by learning her mother’s version of the past events. He is a devotee of Lord Shiva and Seema, instead of telling him (and the world) about his father, prefers to call him as Himalay Putra (the son of the Himalayas). He falls in love with Esha (Anjala Zaveri) who is the daughter of their neighbour – Major Mathur (Satish Shah) but love is less important for him. What is more important for him is to locate his father and settle scores with him for his mother’s sorrows.
And then one day, he comes across him. Suraj has now become the Assitant Commissioner of Police and is on trail of a gang of smugglers headed by Rana (Danny Dengjongpa). He saves the life of Suraj and both come on good terms accordingly. When Abhay brings Suraj to his home and introduces him to his mother, both of his parents are stunned to see each other after a long time gap of two decades. However they prefer not to disclose their relationship to Abhay. But as the destiny has it, the activities of the smugglers’ gang create such a situation that Abhay comes to know that Suraj only is his father. The movie ends with the removal of misunderstanding in the hearts of Seema and Abhay about Suraj and the happy union of all.
The USP of this formula-studded regular potboiler is nothing else but the debutant hero – Akshaye Khanna. Akshaye is such a natural actor that he impressed the audience like anything in his very first screen appearance. Despite his tender years, he throws maturity from his looks in this movie and performed really well. He is able to conquer the hearts of the young females with his dashing personality and shows his mettle in handling action, romance, comedy and sentiments with equal ease. This is the first movie of Anjala Zaveri too and she has filled the quota of the romantic female lead. However it’s to be acknowledged that she is beautiful and the fresh pair looks quite charming.Seasoned actors Vinod Khanna and Hema Malini have left no stone unturned in creating a fall of sentiments on the screen. The script-writer has given them ample screen time too and they have taken the emotional quotient of this movie to desirable heights. Danny Dengjongpa is perfect as the traditional villain. Satish Shah has effectively presented good (and healthy) comedy through the jolly character of the ex-major of the Indian services.
Director Pankaj Parashar has handled the sentimental aspect of the story very well and therefore, the emotion-packed family drama is damn impressive. It’s the crime-linked part of the story which is a letdown. The movie keeps the interest of the viewer alive throughout and does not bore. The romance between the very young pair of Akshaye and Anjala has also been presented in a good way. Clean comedy of Satish Shah provides relief moments whereas the intense drama of father, mother and son forms the major part of the movie.
Anu Malik’s music is good. Na Woh Inkaar Karti Hai Na Woh Ikraar Karti Hai (sung by Udit Naarayan and Alka Yagnik and penned by Nida Faazli) is the best song. Vinod Rathod’s solo – I am a bachelor is also nice. Alka and Udit have also given their voices for Kaaga Sab Tan Khaaiyo (the initial lines of the lyric of Dev Kohli has been taken from the classic devotional song authored by Baba Farid) which is also impressive and conveys the true love in the hearts of Seema and Suraj for each other despite their separation. Bam Bam Bhole, a devotional song for Lord Shiva, is also praiseworthy.
Dharam Gulati’s cinematography is very good. The beauty of the Himalayan region has virtually come alive on the screen.
Farhan Akhtar is the assistant director of this movie. Perhaps he developed a good tuning with Akshaye during the making of this movie and that’s why he was able to draw the best out of him in his own debut directorial venture – Dil Chaahta Hai (2001).
Summing up, this confident debut of the birthday boy Akshaye Khanna (born on 28.03.1975) is a decent one time watch. Though it was a box office flop (because the filmmaker could not maintain a proper balance in the script that came on the screen); containing good romance, good comedy, good songs and the prince charming Akshaye Khanna; this movie is recommended by me as an entertaining flick which will appeal more to the audience of emotional movies.
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