Freitag, 24. August 2007

Gumrah (1993) - Review in English

About the story: Jagan Nath aka Jaggu (Sanjay Dutt), a blacketeer and part-time crook, has fallen deeply in love with singer and star Roshni Chadha (Sridevi); so deeply that he follows her to every concert to garland her with banknotes. He regards her his future wife, but she clearly tells him that a pauper like him will never have a chance with her. So Jaggu, who is wanted by the police because of several offenses, leaves the country and goes to Hongkong. He wants to make his fortune there, to gain Roshni’s respect. After Roshni’s mother dies of cancer, she, too, travels to Hongkong to search for her father whom she has never seen. She does not know that her boyfriend Rahul Malhotra (Rahul Roy) uses her baggage to smuggle cocain to Hongkong. Promptly she gets arrested at the airport, is thrown into jail and faces a death sentence. Thanks to a newspaper article Jaggu learns of her plight, visits her in jail and gets a lawyer for her – none other than her father Prakash Chadha (Anupam Kher), who had to flee India many years ago after he was falsely accused of treason; this was why he left his newly wedded wife Sharda (Reema Lagoo) and unborn child. Fearing to fail in helping his daughter, Prakash does not reveal his identity to Roshni but nevertheless tries everything to save her from the death sentence – and when everything else fails, Jaggu lets himself be arrested to find Roshni in jail and help her to flee... 

Gumrah (= misled) is a wonderful film. It contains the whole 'masala' range of emotions from exhilaration and humour, to love and romance, and all the way to nailbiting suspense and drama, plus a handful of well made song-and-dance numbers. Sridevi is not only enchanting but intense and expressive, particularly in the jail scenes. I would like to praise Soni Razdan too, for her convincing portrait of Roshni’s fellow inmate Angela who has already been sentenced to death. Sanjay – delicious in his casual outfit with coat and hat – is the thoroughly likeable guy, not least because of the strength he shows fighting for his beloved, standing by her even in (for him, too) most difficult situations. Maybe this is his best positive 'crook' character ever, apart from the later Munnabhai roles, and the Filmfare Best Actor nomination was well deserved. And I was very impressed by Anupam Kher, who could play a serious and fine character role here, for a change. His portrayal of the anguished father, who is torn by remorse, really got under my skin. 

It is a point in favour of Sanjay’s acting skill, and maybe even more for his charisma, that he has the viewer on his side from the first moment, although he plays the character of a real stalker. A weaker actor would probably have lost ground to Sridevi as victim of the stalker, who could be pitied because this annoying guy follows her everywhere. But here Sanjay is the one to be pitied, since Sridevi does not answer his prayers (which I will never understand anyway *g*). If you think I only write this as Sanjay’s gushing fan, then listen and be amazed: At first, Rahul Roy was given the role as hero in this film, while Sanju was considered for just a guest appearance. While shooting, Yash Johar und Mahesh Bhatt soon realized how lovable a character Sanju played in his cameo – posthaste the script was changed, Jaggu became the hero at Sridevi’s side, while Rahul got demoted to supporting actor and got a negative role. His song "Zindagi Ka Safar" which had already been recorded, never made it into the movie. I am sure, this would have been a duet with Sridevi, placed after ten minutes of the film – that whole scene just begs for a song and it’s very apparent that something is missing here. Rahul Roy, understandably, was rather displeased and insisted on being announced as "friendly appearance" in the credits. But I don’t suppose Sanju had a guilty conscience because of this episode. And why should he. 

Produced by Yash Johar; Directed by Mahesh Bhatt

142 Min.; DVD: Eros, English Subtitles (not during songs), regrettably slightly delayed.
© Diwali; Translated by Anamika

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