Deepak Shivdasani’s multi-starrer Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke sets out to explore love and relationships in a new light.
Don't confuse this flick with the 1963 film of the same name. Because this one's supposed to be a remake of Khilona.
Ajay Devgan plays Vicky, a swindler who makes his living stealing cars and gambling. Preity Zinta (Sakshi), is his accomplice and sweetheart. They fall ill of a villainous used-car dealer, and a casino brawl results in the accidental death of the dealer’s brother.
The dealer bays for Vicky’s blood, but ends up killing Vicky’s lookalike Rohit (played by Devgan again, of course), as he walks out of a swanky Delhi hotel. The happy-go-lucky Sakshi is completely shattered when she mistakes the body for that of her beloved.
Vicky, on his part, hops on to a Manali-bound bus, oblivious to the drama behind him.
Thus the coincidence of the lookalikes being at the same place at the same time starts off a series of mistaken identities and relationships going wonky.
Actually, Robin Bhatt and Akash Khurana have been a bit lazy with the screenplay, leaving the hapless audience to find its own way around the various leaps of logic and quirks of fate (or is it the other way round?)
A lot seems to happen in the beginning, but things start slowing down as the story moves on.
As for the sets and the costumes, what they lack in taste, they certainly do make up for in colour. The only saving grace is the obviously ageing (yet agile) Madhuri Dixit, resplendent in designer Ritu Beri's creations and tons of jewellery.
The good old dazzling smile and the glowing complexion are still intact, and almost compensate for the extra kilos.
Meanwhile, as Vicky wakes up in Manali, he finds himself being mistaken for Rohit by the whole town – including Rohit’s wife, Neha (Madhuri), who insists on staying stubbornly married for most of the film (even managing to remain dressed like a bride throughout).
Rohit’s billionaire dad (Mohan Gokhale), implores Vicky to stay on and pretend to be Rohit for a while, and thus help Neha get over her denial of Rohit’s death. He tells him (with the help of a convenient flashback), the story of how Rohit had just married his childhood sweetheart Neha, winning her over from an old admirer (a specially-appeared Sunny Deol), much to the chagrin of her family.
Conman that he is, Vicky names his price for the subterfuge. He also makes his exit soon, having pocketed some expensive jewellery on the side. Old habits die hard.
However, once he’s back in Delhi and a reunited with a dazed Sakshi, Vicky realises he owes Rohit his life. He promptly makes his way back to Manali to help nurse Neha back to a better mental health.
One by one, all the characters in the film land up in Manali for no apparent purpose but to add to the confusion. While Vicky and Rohit’s dad wonder how to convince Neha about her widowhood, the used-car dealer shows up to kill Vicky.
Again, the dealer manages to kill the wrong guy. And, finally, himself. Somehow this ends up solving all problems. Though I won’t tell you how.
While YRHPK's not quite the standard formula flick, it's still vintage Hindi cinema -- with the mandatory masala of mass calisthenics (Ganesh Acharya and Saroj Khan), dhishoom-dhishoom, clichés... and all the overstated melodrama of the type that prompted Baz Luhrmann to make Moulin Rouge.
The only thing missing is slapstick.
There are actually very few laughs in the film, except maybe a couple of scenes with Tiku Talsania. Kader Khan is decidedly below par with the dialogues.
The soundtrack has eight songs -- six composed by Sanjeev-Darshan, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi; and the other two by Adnan Sami, with Mehboob. The only ones worth a listen are the bhangra-popish about halfway through the film and the theme song, which returns to haunt you throughout.
Oh, the first song is shot in Malaysia, if that’s important to you. Most of the film has been shot in Delhi, and only some in Bombay.
The film doesn't set out by promising too much. It doesn’t deliver too much either. Devgan has done a good enough job, but he really didn’t have to do much except look either pained or confused most of the time.
Preity Zinta is at her best, acting well and looking good (except for a few weird outfits). But just how much can you do with a bad script?
Here's a film that sets you back to the Eighties (or even the mistaken-identity infested Seventies) -- in form as well as content.
It explores the intensity and dilemmas brought to life by love and human relationships, but one can’t help but wish they’d dealt with it in greater detail. Life’s no longer so black and white. We could do without the clichéd characters, couldn’t we? Especially the all-forgiving, all-sacrificing Indian Woman.
Verdict? Well, if you find yourself home without much to do on a Sunday evening -- read a book.
The Ajay Devgan interview