Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya (2000)
Cast: Manisha Koirala, Arvind Swamy
Director: T.T Rajeev Kumar
Music Director: Jatin Lalit
Nutshell: high tedium is far from the fantasy/comedy that the producers intended
The title is taken from a song in Akele hum akele tum and initially I had hopes that this would be a sweet and romantic love story. But banish such thoughts if this is what you thought was on offer. In any event, with all the controversy about Manisha appearing to pull the tail of the elephant in the film (doesn’t happen in the film), everyone knows that this is probably another take on haathi mere saathi. Well, one thing is for sure. They are not going to duplicate the earlier film’s success because this one has nothing going for it.
The film starts off nicely enough. Mohit (Arvind Swamy) lives in a gaon, brought up on stories told to him by his daadi (Dina Pathak). Naturally, there is a story of a raja and a rani!!! One fine day, city slicker Manisha (Manisha) is seen jiving away to Dafli wale at a mela in the village. Mohit is playing a trick on the children in the village by pretending to be holding his breath under water. Manisha takes a tumble from a horse and she ends up in the water too. So Mohit first sets eyes on the rani of his life underwater and brings her to the surface. She swans off to the city without seeing her saviour but after we have had a fantasy song, much of it shot under water!!! Mohit now decides to search for Manisha in the city and goes to stay with his brother’s family on the pretext of locating the gajendra statute which is supposedly missing but in fact has been hidden by Mohit. No one really knows how but Manisha searches him out in the city of Mumbai and on meeting him, inadvertently breaks the statute. Heartbroken, Mohit tells her to leave. Manisha decides to send him a real life baby elephant named appu which Mohit then has to keep hidden in the house.
Up till this point, the film plays like a fantasy and it has its moments although few and far between. But is bearable until “appu” makes an appearance and the film degenerates into a kids film with the elephant getting up to all sorts of antics, meant to be hilarious but actually tedious. The comedy in having to hide the elephant and the consequences of doing so are also tiresome, not amusing in the least. And then the film takes an about turn with the introduction of the villains and we are now back to the usual rubbish that is dished out in film after film.
This is an entirely forgettable film which is bound to sink without a trace. Why did Arvind ever take on a such a role. He does manage a modicum of charm which gives the film a start but this is not enough to sustain any interest beyond a certain point. God only knows why Manisha takes on such awful films. This and Champion were released on the same day and both are appalling showcases for her. And to add insult to injury, someone else has dubbed for her (as Arvind) and the result is pretty disasterous. If she took such an interest in her role as not to dub for it, what interest is the audience going to take.
The only saving grace is the music by Jatin Lalit who after a long time have come up with several good tunes. Jiske Liye, aao suno, dil chura ke chaldi are all good songs. Lazily directed, this film really doesn’t know what kind of film it was meant to be…and tries to be everything and ends up being nothing at all. I was most reluctant to see this one and wish I had stuck to my instincts.