Thursday, September 10, 2009

1942: A Love Story

Today's review to be transferred over is 1942: A Love Story! I still love this film - a classic of my favorite Terroromance genre...

I haven't made too big a habit of re-watching films, as there are so many I have yet to see. In the wake of my (and everyone else's) fresh interest in Anil Kapoor, I though dusting off 1942: A Love Story would be a great idea. I was not wrong.

However, it looks like a much different movie from the one I saw long ago. Instead of a epic romance, I saw a film about the futility of violence and how the lusts of a young man can be channeled right into patriotism (which I caught this time as Desh Prem; thank you, Hindi Class!). Of course, layered on top of the disturbing mob violence is a wonderful love story...

The story takes place in a small hill town in the Himalayas in 1942 during the time of the British Raj. Our hero, Naren (Anil Kapoor), is the carefree son of the local British-appointed ruler. One day, during a demonstration, he spots a beautiful girl, Rajjo (Manisha Koirala), through a broken bus window. He tracks her down and they being a very sweet love affair. Sadly, for everyone involved, and unbeknownst to Rajjo, Rajjo's father (Anupam Kher playing Pita-ji to yet another actress too old to be his daughter) is a freedom fighter. Rajjo's father, along with PRAN, are concocting a plan to assassinate the EVIL British general in charge of the place.

Of course, the plan is discovered. Naren's father sends soldiers to tail Naren to discover the Rajjo's father chooses to become a suicide bomber rather than be captured and tortured. Rajjo escapes into the waiting arms of Jackie Shroff.

The rest of the film follows Jackie and Rajjo's plans to follow through with the assassination while Naren trys to track Rajjo down. Everything comes to a terrible head in a giant orgy of violence at the end, although Naren and Rajjo are reunited - giving the ending a slightly eerie feel.

First of all, the chemistry between Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala is unbelievable!
The first hour or so is devoted to their love story and it is very sweet how they slowly fall for each other. There are some fun call backs to Bobby, as the two love birds meet up in a cabin, which seems to me that certain things are implied.

How sweet is Anil?!

And Manisha is looking beautiful! The woman has the 1990s terrorist romance genre sewn up!

Love song in a library! We librarians don't see enough of this sort of thing...

When the romance is interrupted by outside events, things start to get interesting. Anupam Kher and his band are terrorists. They may be fighting for a cause that we find just, but does that give them a blank slate for their behavior? Anupam Kher has a speech to that effect before he blows himself up. He goes from A man needs to be a patriot to apologizing to his daughter for letting his politics kill all the members of their family.

Rather than take her father at his word, Rajjo takes him at his deeds and does her best to follow his plans. But what does all the violence gain? The orgy of killing at the end was very disturbing and, intentionally or not, drew visually from images of the French Revolution - notably Liberty Leading the People.

The mob did manage to kill General Douglas at the end; mob rule is no better than a tyrant, when it comes right down to it. I couldn't help but see similarities to Aamir Khan's Mangal Pandey: The Rising. Although 1942: A Love Story is a better film, Mangal Pandey is more responsible in its message. 1942 doesn't lay out the crimes committed by the British the way Mangal Pandey does, leaving us with the impression that Naren's sudden love of his country has more to do with thwarted romantic love than anything else - an impression further helped by the references to that famous play of juvenile passions: Romeo and Juliet.

Also, knowing a little more Indian history, it is a little shocking to see the celebration of the mob violence during the Quit India movement in 1942. I kept waiting for Munnabhai to show up...

Finally, it was lovely to see Pran-saab. I may have actually squealed out loud at my TV when I saw him.


Faizan said...

I love the music of this movie! Still play the songs... they have such a feel-good factor.

Rum said...

I'm soo happy for the Anil love, since being the leader of the Anil State in the Masala Pradesh, I insist to everyone i meet that they have to see this movie because its got ANILLLL! though the Anilackie jodi wasnt much in this movie the scenes that they had together were wonderful! And lol somehow i still remember watching this when i was a toddler!
What a great babysitter Anil was for a soon to be Bollywatcher!

rossywar said...

This DVD is sitting waiting for me to watch it tommorrow night!

I have a soft spot for Anil Kapoor ever since I saw Mr India and your review means that I am really looking forward to this film now :)

Anonymous said...

Ah! So you escape from the world of books to the world of cinema! :)
But seriously, when I was 14 or so I KNEW for a fact that my ultimate fantasy job was as a librarian - only thing is doing what I already did not appeal to me. :)

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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