Once I finished watching HAHK for the first time in 1997(3 years after its original release),I had absolutely no doubt as to why this movie became the highest grossing Hindi film of ALL TIME. HAHK is a case where everything comes perfectly together - direction, acting, music, cinematography, sets, costumes and that extra indescribable "magic" every classic has.
HAHK's story in itself is nothing special. Heck, it doesn't even have much of a plot to talk about. But what keeps us hooked to this 3 hour+ saga is a crisp screenplay, and the charming way in which everything is presented. In a movie where there are barely any conflicts and everybody loves everybody else, the audience could've easily been turned off by the excessive sugar. But HAHK's greatest achievement probably lies in the fact that it NEVER feels fake. The cast's chemistry is so natural and there's such generosity behind the emotions that you can't help yourself but fall in love with this world of theirs. This is something none of the HAHK copy-cats(to this day!) could accomplish. So many movies tried to recreate that magical family atmosphere, but none(especially Barjatya himself!) could really pull of that feeling of genuineness.
Moving on, HAHK doesn't have a single "boring" or "lets fast fwd. this scene" moment in the movie. And that's what it ultimately is - a super entertaining musical dealing with two families and two irresistible characters in Prem(Salman Khan) and Nisha(Madhuri Dixit). These are career performances from two of Bollywood's finest looking people. People forget that Salman Khan started off being a fairly solid actor. Not only could he easily enact the typical Bollywood emotions, but his unique mischievous 'ada' and natural charm went well with his good looks and lean physique(buffing up was the worst thing he did to himself). 1994 was still a time when we could count on him to deliver a likable performance. And Salman isn't just likable here, his infectious energy and charm makes Prem utterly irresistible. I don't understand why Madhuri has always been seen as the show stealer in this movie. Salman matches her all the way. Speaking of Madhuri, she just glows in every frame here. Her charming performance was simply intoxicating. Who wouldn't fall in love with Nisha? Salman-Madhuri share terrific chemistry. One of the best ever in fact. Prem and Nisha's romance develops slowly and beautifully. Every scene shared between them is memorable and believe me, their moments will bring you back to watch this movie again.
The strong supporting cast in HAHK definitely provides the movie with the ideal stability and mood to further enhance our impression of these sweet characters as believable. The casting crew hit gold because every actor looks perfect in the role he/she is portraying. The music is also BRILLIANT and the song picturizations/choreography remains unsurpassed. Barjatya cleverly keeps the narrative flowing with each song. AND that was a HUGE key because 14 songs could've easily slowed the movie's pace down.
Bottomline: HAHK to me is the quintessential Bollywood entertainer. The movie, despite being unrealistically sweet, never feels fake(something no other movie has been able to recreate, not even the director himself). Every actor in the cast adds something to make the movie special. The leading stars to this day haven't given more likable performances. If you look up the word chemistry in a Bollywood dictionary, a pic of Salman/Madhuri from HAHK should be there. Overall, just an incredibly charming movie that you can't help but fall in love with.
Prem, a top student, is learning the ropes of business under his elder brother Rajesh and his uncle Kailashnath, a big industrialist. In another town, Nisha is studying computer science and is the darling of her elder sister, Pooja, and her parents, Professor Choudhry and Kamladevi. Fate brings the two families together and this results in the the betrothal of Rajesh and Pooja. At the wedding, Prem meets Nisha and falls in love with this carefree woman. With Pooja as the woman of the house, joy knows no bounds in Prem's family. Months pass by and Pooja becomes pregnant. Nisha is invited to come and stay with her sister and attend the traditional function before the child's birth. Nisha's arrival is like a dream come true for Prem. Nisha stays there until the birth of the child, taking over the household chores, and becoming very much a part of the family. In soft whispers, Prem and Nisha commit their love for each other and secretly dream of spending a lifetime together. Then fate strikes a cruel blow when Pooja dies after a sudden fall down a flight of stairs. Because of this tragedy, life in the house comes to a standstill. Rajesh worries about the future of his motherless child, and it causes his health to deteriorate. Nisha's father suggests that Nisha should get married to Rajesh and become the mother of Pooja's child. Prem and Nisha decide to sacrifice their love for the sake of the family. Fate intervenes once again when Rajesh comes to know the truth behind Prem and Nisha's sacrifice. Putting his child into Nisha's arms, Rajesh unites and blesses the two lovers, whose hearts long to belong together.—Sujit R. Varma
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