London: Being understated is the last thing that one would expect from the lead characters in a film by Rajshri Productions. The over-the-top characters are the highlight of mushy plots that most films by acclaimed director Sooraj Barjatya offer. Gone are the times, when simple stories with earthy characters were the USP of the Rajshris – one of the oldest banners that has given some memorable films since 1947.
The banner churned out movies such as ‘Chitchor’, ‘Nadiya Ke Paar’, ‘Tapasya’, ‘Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se’, ‘Ek Baar Kaaho’ which are best remembered for its simplistic narratives. Who can forget the one of its kind, ‘Dosti’ that celebrated the life of two physically-challenged friends?
Anupam Kher, Rohini Hattangadi starrer ‘Saraansh’, directed by Mahesh Bhatt was undoubtedly one of the most sensitive films, based on the courageous life of an elderly couple.
Sooraj Barjatya gave a new spin to the tried and tested plots of hits from its own banner to make movies that targeted at the new age market. This began with ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, which gave us, one of the biggest superstars of the generation – Salman Khan. This was followed by glorified wedding video calld ‘Hum Aapke Hai Kaun?’ starring Madhuri Dixit and Salman, which brought back the trend of family entertainments.
The movie was also a precursor for numerous family shows replete with kitchen politics and wedding celebrations on Indian telly. ‘Hum Saath Saath Hai’ was yet another Sooraj Barjatya presentation which can be touted as the mother of all family dramas.
Salman Khan returns to the Rajshri banner after 16 years as Prem while Sonam Kapor plays a traditional princess in Barjatya’s latest presentation ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. As Maithili, Sonam is hopeful of stepping into the shoes of Madhuri’s ‘Didi Tera Dewar Deewana’. Since their fans have pinned a lot of hopes from the movie, we hope that it turns out to be the biggest bonanza this Diwali.
The characters in most of the new-age Rajshri movies have stood apart largely because they were unrealistic and the actors were painfully over-the-top. We take a look at a few such characters, which were sickeningly sweet:
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Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor in ‘Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon’: As Prem and Sanjana, the movie re-created the plot of Chitchor which had Zareena Wahab and Amol Palekar. The backdrop of the plot was unrealistic with Switzerland portrayed as a UP village Sundarnagar, while Hrithik and Kareena went too loud in an attempt to look cute and bubbly.
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Sonali Bendre in ‘Hum Saath Saath Hai’: Sonali Bendre as a medical intern made a fool of herself on screen, as she came across as a bizarrely coy damsel in a joint family. Bendre resorted to blushing and smiling, to prove a perfect choice for a foreign educated rich family boy Prem, again played by Salman.
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Bhagyashree in ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’: As an educated, village belle Bhagyashree was the quintessential good girl who lacked spunk and was irritatingly sweet on screen. Her character, however, was a drift from the usual brazen and bold lead actresses that the 90s movies were famous for.
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Amrita Rao in ‘Vivaah’: Amrita Rao played a perfect simple, traditional, obedient small town girl that any rich business family must approve of, for an arranged marriage. Rao as Poonam barely looked up, her chaste Hindi dialogues and overtly coy demeanour made her unbearable. Starring Shahid Kapoor as Prem, ‘Vivaah’ was one of the biggest hits of 2006.
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Alok Nath in ‘Ek Vivaah…Aisa Bhi’: Alok Nath, the most popular ideal dad of Bollywood, sealed his image of ‘adarsh sanskari babuji’ as a doting dad Bhushan Shrivastava in the remake of Anil Ganguly directed 70’s hit ‘Tapasya’, which again was based on a short story by Ashapurna Devi.
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