Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pardes (1997)

Pardes movie review Balcony Row

It's hard to criticize your old favorites, you've so loved watching and re-watching as kids. Besides ringing in the changed thought process, they make you realize how old you've gotten in the process :)

I remember watching Pardes (starring Shahrukh Khan, Mahima Chaudhary, Apoorv Agnihotri) in class seven during my winter break on the theatre (like most other films). As I rewatch it today, I'm still trying to figure what worked for the film. [This is not my second viewing. I've seen it countless times between then and now].

Packed with some god-forbiddingly clich├ęd lines and high-pitch melodrama that seemed to perfectly fit in films back then, Pardes went on to become one of the biggest hits of 1997. Some bits in the film are ridiculously un-overlookable.

It's laughable, for instance, to see a Kabaddi match decide the fate of someone's life. And then there's the whole stereotyping of western culture unscrupulous which is as immature and unrealistic as depicting the Indian culture irreproachable. (Aa Ab Laut Chalein on similar lines also came out two years later).

Yes, Pardes had some decent storytelling, cinematography, and strong performances in Amrish Puri, Alok Nath and deb Mahima Chaudhary.

But there's only one reason I would recommend the film. Shahrukh Khan. Nineties ushered Shahrukh in the film industry and how. It was the decade that saw him bloom as an actor. As a villain, as a hero and as the quintessential lover! The decade he really came into his own. The decade that redefined love through his version of characters. The decade that made him a star! Pardes wouldn't have been Pardes without Shahrukh Khan. I don't say this as a fan. I say it because it is one of his most memorable performances till date, and one that managed to stand out even among stalwarts like Amrish Puri, Alok Nath, Dina Pathak.

Arjun (Shahrukh) doesn't overdo it, like most other characters in the film. He needs no words to express what he feels for Ganga (Mahima Chaudhary). He transitions easily from being playful in one moment, wrathful in another; intense in one moment, innocent in the other.

He epitomized love in all its resplendent glory. No one loved like him. No one loves like him. After 'Raj' of DDLJ, 'Arjun' of Pardes girded his image of the ultimate loverboy in my heart.

Have you seen Pardes? Let's talk about it in the comments below. You can also connect with me on facebook or twitter.

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