I had never expected much from Aur Pyar Ho Gaya (APHG) because the trailer made it look dead boring. Thankfully, my low expectations enabled me to enjoy the film for its several positive aspects.
An adaptation of the English film Only You pre-interval, the story of APHG suddenly turned into the hackneyed, parent opposes marriage tale during the second half. Aashi┬┤s (Aishwarya Rai) marriage has been arranged to a rich, international, garment businessman. Since Aashi┬┤s friend just died, supposedly due to her arranged marriage, Aashi, with the help of her grandfather (Shammi Kapoor), convinces her over-bearing father (Anupam Kher) to let her spend some time in Switzerland. She will assume a fake identity and verify that her to-be husband has no bad habits which could potentially ruin her life. Ensues a tale of mistaken identity and deception, but as expected, Aashi eventually falls in love with Bobby Deol┬┤s character. After the interval, Anupam Kher┬┤s character causes problems in the couple┬┤s wedding plans.
One of the remarkable aspects of APHG is the performances by all of the actors in the Kapoor (Aashi┬┤s) family. Aishwarya Rai is confident, yet she possesses an extremely fresh innocence. (Not to forget her obviously drop-dead good looks.) She excelled at both dancing and comedy. Of course, Miss. Rai is still young so Aashi┬┤s stubborn, childish character is perfect for her.
Anupam Kher, Shammi Kapoor and the character actress who plays Aashi┬┤s grandmother (What is her name folks?) are all apt foils with which we view the heroine┬┤s personality. Aashi┬┤s grandfather (Shammi Kapoor) spoils and supports her endlessly, Kailashnath (Anupam) is over-protective and strict, and the diabetes-stricken Dadi helps Aashi express her childishness. All three actors are given wonderful roles, and in turn, they provide amazing performances to the audience. Watching the family interact is certainly a treat.
Of course the reason we like the Kapoor family scenes so much is the great dialogue written by Rumi Jaffrey. This gentleman usually writes the dialogue-baazi for David Dhawan┬┤s dhamakas, and his talent at meshing natural and intelligent speech with comedic punch lines is more than praiseworthy. One example is the scene where Aashi is asking a crowd of Swiss people for spare change. In true filmi style she desperately drops to their feet, and just as the audience is thinking that these foreigners are cheap, Aashi also spits out "Kanjoos Bhikari Log". This witty scene (along with several others) had people rolling in the aisles.
Now for the other side of the coin. Bobby Deol does perform well in the comic sequences, but he is still very annoying to watch in other parts of APHG. Just to sum up his awful dancing skills I have created a song that could be added to the film. Aishwarya would be singing while Bobby dances to "Pakaw, Pakaw, Zara Zulf Jhatak, Zara Kamar Matak, Pakaw, Pakaw..." Okay, so I have no lyric writing talent, but you get the point.
The songs of the film are also just a bit above average. (I hope that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan┬┤s yet to be released Hindi film scores will enable him to leave a brief, but immortal impact on Indian cinema┬┤s history.) Aishwarya Rai dances well and succeeds at keeping our feet tapping in her solo song "Thodasa Pagla". But face it, the choreography is uninspired and Bobby Deol still has little dancing talent. And Manmohan Singh┬┤s cinematography is nice, but we┬┤ve seen all of these locales before. So what happened during the songs? I ended up reading the subtitles. Did you know that "Jaagi Hui Fizaayen Hai Tere Liye, Mere Liye" translates to "The fog is for you, and for me too"? You┬┤ll agree the line sounds better in Urdu.
Rahul Rawail does a competent job with the direction, but like his last film Anjaam, everything goes awry at the end. Rawail might have thought that his final scenes were innovative, but the special effects are not even remotely realistic. The airplane sequence is a forced and fake, happy ending.
Aur Pyar Ho Gaya is good to watch once, or at maximum twice... for its dialogues, Aishwarya Rai and her film family. Film to dekhi... par pyar na hua.