I am reviewing Mohabbatein (2000) because it is the favourite movie of someone who loved me very much. I also liked the movie upon first watching and still love to watch it again. However this movie provoked some very serious thoughts in my mind and after assessing and analyzing the three hours and thirty-six minutes long stuff presented by Aditya Chopra, I came to the conclusion that the very concept of this romantic movie is a flawed one.Mohabbatein (love sagas) is the story of an educational institution bearing a name as pious as Gurukul, run by a strict disciplinarian and man of principles, Narayan Shankar (Amitabh Bachchan) whose daughter Megha (Aishwarya Rai) had committed suicide some years ago due to her father’s NO to her love with a student of Gurukul, Raj Aryan Malhotra (Shah Rukh Khan) and thereafter his expulsion from Gurukul. Raj re-enters Gurukul as a music teacher and starts inspiring the male students (it is not a co-educational institution) to go for romance. He finds three such students, falling for their respective sweethearts and through their activities, he takes on Narayan Shankar. In the end, Narayan Shankar realizes his error (of opposing his deceased daughter’s love) and brings Raj at the helm of affairs of Gurukul, relinquishing the charge himself.While discussing the pluses of the movie, clearly these are the melodious music of Jatin Lalit (lyrics written by Anand Bakshi) with the songs sung beautifully by Lata, Udit Narayan, Ishaan, Manohar Shetty, Sonali Bhatawdekar, Shweta Pandit, Udbhav, Pritha Mazumdar, Jaspinder Narula etc. and the towering performances delivered by Big B and SRK. In fact the confrontation scenes of these two stalwarts are the USP of this movie and not the romance. Choerography is also worth praising, especially for the song – Pairon Mein Bandhan Hai. Cinematography is admirable though the moviemaker set the Indian Gurukul in England for his shooting. The movie carries a high production value as expected of a YRF movie.Minuses are too many. Love or romance can’t be made alive on the screen just by flying palm leaves. The love stories of the three young pairs (Uday Chopra-Samita Shetty, Jugal Hansraj-Kim Sharma and Jimmy Shergill-Preeti Jhangiani) are not very impressive and look superficial. Even the SRK-Aishwarya romance looks devoid of soul. The females seem to have no choice but to fall into the arms of the guys who are falling for them. The performances of the young pairs are not worthy of praise, barring the exception of Uday Chopra whose zeal seems to be coming straight of his heart in his debut movie (made by his father and brother). Aishwarya looks beautiful but her acting disappoints. Actors like Amrish Puri, Helen, Saurabh Shukla and Shefali Chhaya have been wasted. The movie is excessively long and should have been trimmed by dispensing with the characters of Anupam Kher and Archana Pooran Singh and their unnecessary comedy track. Justice to the storyline chosen could have been done very smoothly in less than three hours. And there are numerous errors of storytelling and character-building, scattered in this movie.
Now I come to my biggest objection on this movie which is its boosting indiscipline in educational institutions. The discipline (which is a must in any educational institution ) established by Narayan Shankar is time and again mocked by not only Raj but also the director terming it as an opposition to change. Will Mr. Aditya Chopra clarify whether he has studied in any such educational institution (or he has seen somewhere) where romance takes the front seat and everything else takes the back seat ? What do we mean by change when opposing the discipline which is mandatory for any school or college to flourish as an ideal educational institution ? Should teenagers be taught how to love or romance instead of concentrating on their studies and extra-curricular activities, besides respecting their teachers and the school discipline ? Under the pretext of bringing about a change, Raj is shown to spread wilfulness and unruliness in the reputed educational institution. Is it acceptable ? Love (or romance) cannot be an excuse for indiscipline or disrespect for the head of the institution as well as the rules and regulations prevailing there. By default, Aditya Chopra has depicted SRK as a villain who has entered the institution to settle his vendetta agaist Narayan Shankar under the camouflage of spreading love.
Further, neither committing suicide upon parents’ disapproval of love nor going your own way without any protest when unjustifiably expelled from the school (only to come back after a few years to seek revenge from the head of the school) can be supported. This is cowardice and such lovers cannot be called true lovers.
And can love be forcefully aroused or developed ? Definitely not. Love just happens, on its own, at any life-stage of a human-being, if it is destined to happen. In the movie, Raj pushes the students to go for loving (say romancing with) anybody of opposite sex. This is not love in the true sense Mr. Aditya Chopra. Would you like to share with us whether your love for Rani Mukherjee had developed on its own or you had made some special efforts for its development ?
I recommend this movie for light entertainment in general and for diehard AB and SRK fans in particular. But the question remains, when already our educational institutions are facing the brunt of indiscipline among the students, do we need more such movies ?
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