Sonntag, 19. August 2007

Mera Haque (1986) - Review in English

About the story: Prince Amar Singh (Sanjay Dutt) has finished studying in London, and comes back to India - eagerly awaited by his grandmother (Urmila Bhatt) – and to the estate he inherited from his deceased father. While he was away, his step-mother Ranimaa (Bindu) managed the property together with her brother Dhartiprasad (Shakti Kapoor) and secretary Diwanji (Ramesh Deo). For years, the three of them had lined their own pockets with the estate’s profits, at the expense of their poor peasants. Furthermore, Diwanji wants his son (Gulshan Grover), a convicted murderer who escaped from prison, to marry Ranimaas daughter, so they can take over the whole estate. The return of honest Amar, who soon gains the affection of the population – particularly that of pretty Bijlee (Anita Raaj) – thwarts the plans of the villains, and they decide to have Amar killed by planting a bomb in his car. The plan works, but then Ranimaa kicks her greedy brother out of the house, and he seeks revenge. Accidentally, Dhartiprasad meets the crook Amru (Sanjay Dutt), a lookalike of Amar, and he persuades Amru to pretend to be Amar, in order to annex the estate (and then share the loot with Dhartiprasad). Of course, Ranimaa and Diwanji consider Amru a conman, since they had killed Amar themselves – but Amru plays Amar’s role more and more convincingly every day...

Those who remember Sanjay from his early days, as a rookie with wooden performances and sometimes hazy, stoned-looking eyes, will hardly believe their eyes when watching Mera Haque (= My Right*): What happened with Sanjay Dutt? The guy was totally changed: He moved easily in front of the camera, obviously relaxed and having fun; he showed lots of humour, and he had visibly started to improve his physique. No doubt: His drug crisis was over, Sanjay was totally clean again, and ready for a comeback.

He certainly delivers a promising performance in Mera Haque; playing his double role – the adorable fairytale prince and his insubordinate mirror image – exquisitely congenial. Still, when trying to make this Indian case of Martin Guerre as mysterious as possible, some lapses creep into the plot – e.g. the incident about a mole on his back – but that’s hardly Sanjay’s mistake. Ultimately one can forgive that easily, since the whole story does not claim to be serious realism. Otherwise, almost everything works fine, most notably the terrific cast, from Bindu as beastly step-mom to Anita Raaj as Sanjay's confindent partner. So this is always a film to enjoy, since good entertainment is guaranteed.

Produced by Bobby Raaj; Directed by Ajay Kashyap

136 Min.; DVD: Madhu, English Subtitles (including songs)
© Diwali; Translated by Anamika

*according to Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary, Haq/Haque also means 'justice' or 'duty'.

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