Producer: Rajiv Shah & Ravi Doddi
Director: Joy Augustine
Starring: Karan Nath & Aarati Aggarwal
Music: Raju Singh
Lyrics: Sameer

Released on: June 8th, 2001
Approximate Running Time: Appx. 3 hours
Reviewed by: Rakesh Budhu
Reviewer's Rating: 7.0 out of 10

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In the time span of a year we usually see at least one low budget film introducing new stars to the film scene. Needless to say with the influx of star’s kids joining the bandwagon that number has marginally increased. Well, star’s kids have to make room now because star’s secretary’s kids are making their way into the scene and so are the newcomers from overseas. Aarati Aggarwal is a sixteen-year-old native of New Jersey and Karan Nath is no other than Nene’s secretary’s son. One might have low expectations from them judging by their backgrounds, but fortunately these expectations are surpassed with surprisingly flying colors.

Being very skeptical about Paagalpan, I still walked out of the cinema somewhat satisfied. With a below average music score, walking in I thought to myself, this movie has absolutely nothing going for it, except accredited director, Joy Augustine. Ironically, direction is definitely not the high point of the film as both halves of the film falter minimally with the first half suffering more.

Karan Nath plays Sameer Malhotra who is the son of a big shot businessman. As with any Bollywood masala movie, he falls in love with Roma (Aarati) on first sight. Continuing with the trend of masala movies, he is ignorant to the life that Aarti lives, which includes living with five brothers, who needless to say are protective of their only sister. The first half of the film is nothing original as it revolves around Sameer’s struggle to first win over Roma (who doesn’t give him much of a hard time), and then wins over her five brothers. Nothing big, really. Entertainment value? The acting talent possessed by the main characters helps the poorly directed first half. They both are a refreshing change from the faces we’ve seen. Karan Nath does a good job in a role that displays a great deal of effort on his part. It is no different for Aarati. Their above average looks also help. In fact, Karan Nath comes dangerously close to the now over-rated Tusshar as far as acting ability and looks go.

After the interval the story and direction pick up and pleasurably so. Without revealing the ending, the second half, especially the well-directed climax, inhibits a certain amount of suspense, thrill, and action that will keep your attention. The story, which is only partially original, rises above  average Indian film like say Zulmi (I guess that would be considered below average…), and manages to capture attention and keep a solid grip on it until the film is over. Our newcomers do a good job of expressing the struggle of departures and separation from each other (though it really is just puppy love…) and the toll that takes on one’s emotions. The supporting cast does a decent job but nothing more than that. Surprisingly, the supporting cast was a group of new faces as well, no Anupham Kher or Himani Shivpuri or (I suppose this is a good one) Johnny Lever. The film appeals to the youth, with twists, turns and actors that will succeed in grabbing a young viewer’s attention.

The music is a major, major drawback of the film. Had there been a decent chartbuster in the soundtrack, the film would have been a notch above the rest. The music is dull, and too familiar to the ears. Songs like Dil Hai Deewana sound too much like Anu Malik leftovers (which he will probably pick up on soon…), and Kahin Na Kahin , probably the most decent, won’t stay in your head too long. Had there been a livelier, more extensive soundtrack, the film would probably be more entertaining than it already is.

Paagalpan was a surprise, especially since I was very pessimistic about it since its music release. The film has managed to prove me wrong. Hopefully the next ‘newcomer project’, Tum Bin… will do the same. One thing is for sure, teenagers will surely be crazing over Karan Nath as he has a number of films in the works (sadly, the same can’t be said for Aarti), and he can safely join the line of “successful newcomers” like Aftab, Abhishek, Fardeen and even Tusshar. Retrospectively speaking, Aftab’s launching pad Mast, and Fardeen’s Prem Aggan all bombed at the box office with arguably little to offer. In contrast, Karan Nath can honestly say Paagalpan has something to offer: a decent entertainer.