Love is such a phenomena that when a person (or two persons mutually) is hit by it, he / she never knows when it’s happened. However Indian social and family values have always put a premium on brotherhood (and sisterhood) and the love between the siblings has been silently considered as supreme over the romantic love for the opposite sex. Nevertheless, it may happen that two sisters fall in love with the same man or two brothers fall in love with the same woman. In Indian patriarchal social set-up, the sisters’ rivalry in love could be digested by the public but not the brothers’ rivalry for that purpose. Movies like President (1937) and Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966) were made in Bollywood showing two real sisters falling in love with a common male. However the first Bollywood movie showing two real brothers as Raqeeb (rival in love) of each other is, in my opinion, Yeh Dillagi (this joke / this teasing) which came as late as in 1994.
An adaptation of Hollywood movie – Sabrina (1954), this movie has been produced by the prestigious Yash Raj banner of Bollywood and the responsibility of direction has been put on the shoulders of Naresh Malhotra. This story is a love triangle featuring a girl – Sapna (Kajol) who happens to be the daughter of the driver of the household whose two sons – Vijay (Akshay Kumar) and Vicky (Saif Ali Khan) unwillingly and unknowingly become each other’s Raqeeb for her love. The brothers are sons of a businessman, Bhaanu Prataap Saigal (Saeed Jaaffrey) and his wife – Shaanti (Reema Laagoo). Their mother, i.e., Shaanti is status-conscious and wants only the girls of equal status as her daughters-in-law. However the parents are by no means concerned for the life of their younger son – Vicky who has turned into a casanova, philandering with different girls with seriousness for none of them. He also does not pay two hoots for the business and related works also which is completely taken care of by his elder, more mature and sensible, no-nonsense elder brother – Vijay.The real story of Yeh Dillagi starts with the ladies’ man Vicky’s getting smitten by the charms of Sapna and he actually starts feeling to be in love with her. However considering his image of a flirt, Sapna avoids him. Gradually Sapna’s opinion about Vicky changes and Vicky himself also takes steps in transforming his personality and approach towards life. But the trouble comes when Sapna and Vijay fall in love with each other. Now both of them know that Vicky loves Sapna but hesitant of telling this fact to him. Vijay loves Vicky very much and wants to sacrifice his love for him but he cannot force his will on Sapna for that purpose. On the other hand, Vicky, being ignorant of the love of Vijay and Sapna, feels the real trouble as his mother’s high-handed attitude of not accepting a driver’s daughter as her daughter-in-law though she has become an accomplished model now. The day, the extremely painful truth dawns on Vicky, nothing is the same for all three of them. The movie ends on an expected yet very emotional and impressive note. The ending scene brings smile on the lips of the viewers.After Yeh Dillagi, Bollywood movies like Dillagi (1999) and Chal Mere Bhai (2000) were made on the same theme but they could not be as impressive as Yeh Dillagi. Though I did not find anything extra-ordinary with the direction, the screenplay has been written very well (Sachin Bhowmick) plus the touching performances of the lead trio and the admirable music containing chartbuster songs have made it a cut above the routine movies. The movie is engrossing right from the word go to the finale and after it is over, the spectator feels that he has got value for his time and money. There is no boredom anywhere but the fun takes a back seat in the last one hour and gets replaced by a heavy dose of sentiments making the movie a bit heavy. During that part, the fun-loving audience may not find it that entertaining but the spectators liking sentimental drama will still love it.The biggest USP of Yeh Dillagi is the power-packed performances of all the three lead characters. Kajol has always been a class apart and Yeh Dillagi is another showcase of her talent. As a girl with sky in her eyes but feeling the circumstances of hers clipping the wings of her ambitions, a girl conscious of her self-respect and unwilling to be close to a flirt but losing her heart to a sincere and mature boy and a girl caught between the love of two hand-in-glove real brothers but not ready to sacrifice her love for one for the sake of the other, Kajol has marvelled like anything. Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan have always complimented each other well and that’s why the audience was fond of their pairing in many movies during the nineties. Saif Ali Khan had developed the image of a lover boy in the initial years of his career and he has done justice to that in the first half but delivered a highly touching performance in the later part of the movie, playing a heart-broken lover. Today’s birthday boy Akshay Kumar was known as an action-hero during the nineties but though showing his action in a couple of sequences of this movie also, he has delivered a very mature and impressive performance as a loving elder brother as well as a responsible elder son of the business family on one hand and a sincere lover on the other. This performance can be counted among his underrated performances which was a sign that he was fit for various kinds of roles and it was wrong on the part of the filmmakers to typecast him as an action-hero. Other actors are okay.
Sameer has written good lyrics for the songs and Dilip Sen Sameer Sen have composed heart-soothing melodies for them. Jab Bhi Koi Ladki Dekhoon Mera Dil Deewana Dole, Naam Kya Hai Pyar Ka Maara, Dekho Zara Dekho Barsaat Ki Jhadi, Hothon Pe Bas Tera Naam Hai, Gori Kalaai Kalaai Mein Kangna etc. are good to listen and were quite popular in that time. However the two profound songs of this movie which have won my heart are – 1. The title track – Lagi Lagi Hai Yeh Dil Ki Lagi, Na Samjho Ise Dillagi (sung jointly by Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan and Abhijeet), 2. Main Deewana Hoon Mujhe Dillagi Ne Maara Hai (sung by Pankaj Ud-haas). I just loved the latter for Pankaj’s singing, the touching lyrics and above all, the performance of Saif on that. It proved to be a tear-jerker for me when I watched the movie.
Technically the movie is good and the production value is high, quite in sync with the repute of the production house. The cinematography is eye-soothing and quite meaningful in the picturization of the title track. Action sequences are okay. Length (155 minutes) could have been curtailed but perhaps the story-teller needed time to establish the characters properly and wind up the story logically and that’s why I do not think that it is unduly long.
All in all, this more than two decades old romantic movie is a nice timepass which is full of fun as well as sentiments. Both the rom-com loving audience and the audience of emotional family dramas will like it for sure. It was a box office hit and rightly so.
© Copyrights reserved