Freitag, 31. August 2007

Sanam (1997) - Review in English

About the story: Gaurav (Vivek Mushran), son of wealthy Seth Yashpal Anand (Anupam Kher), gets his military training near the border to Pakistan. Near the camp there’s a village whose inhabitants are hostile to India, seal themselves off to Indians and let terrorists from Pakistan store weapons and ammunition there. In this village, Gaurav meets pretty Sanam (Manisha Koirala). She falls in love with him, but he rejects her advances. One day, he explains to her the reason for his behaviour: All his life, Gaurav has been overshadowed by his elder brother Narendra (Sanjay Dutt), aka "Hero", a perfect winner in life who means the world to his father. Gauram’s only desire is to finally become equal to his glorious brother, and he can’t allow anything to distract him from this purpose. Only when Sanam later in a tempestuous night saves his life, he admits that he loves her, too. When Sanam’s village finally decides that it, after all, belongs to India and therefore is threatened by the terrorists, the moment has come for Gaurav to prove himself...

To be honest, Sanjay’s role in Sanam is not very much more than a special appearance. The leading role this time is played by Vivek Mushran who unfortunately is rather mousy and unimpressive, even in the action packed climax where you’re desperately longing for Sanjay to appear. But poor Vivek doesn’t have an easy stand against a squad of splendid co-stars, among others Manisha Koirala who hardly ever was more charming and clearly dominates the first half of the film. The Zero Hour strikes after one hour and sixteen minutes when Sanjay enters the scene and, together with Anupam, grasps the film for the following 37 minutes.

What a glorious father-son jodi! Anupam and Sanjay are like mischievous little children and pranksters who feed each other lines and surpass each other in wit, humour and delightful mimics. Want some examples? Sanjay lets his fingers glide through his long mane, Anupam imitates the gesture which of course is completely useless and saves himself with the bold allegation that "once I had such hair too". Or: Sanjay pretends to be his slightly inebriated father’s mirror image (both dressed in funny pyjamas and jelly bag caps *g*). Or: Anupam, sporting a "Mr Universe" shirt, boasts about training weight-lifting for the Olympic Games – until Sanjay discovers that the weights are only wooden and secretly applies him with real weights. Both of them permanently challenge each other, be it jeep and motorbike races or table tennis matches on the office desk – with books instead of rackets. I especially love the scene when Anupam claims that anything his son can do, he can do too; and when Sanjay, souvereignly smiling, draws a big comb out of his pocket and starts combing his mane, Anupam draws out a tiny little comb and combs his moustache... (And just don’t think that I’ve already given away everything! *g*)

Sanjay got just very little screentime in Sanam but makes hundred per cent use of it. He and Anupam are the film’s highlights, alongsides with Manisha who really is terrific. Unfortunately some comic sequences typical for Hindi films of that time prevent me from recommending the film without any reservation, but the two pranksters Sanju and Anupam with their splendid chemistry make the film absolutely worth a watch – I hardly ever similarly laughed myself to tears with them like in this film. And when Sanju at a college function floors the house with a song in which Narendra dreams of having romances with nearly every actress and model of his time (Rekha, Karisma, Raveena, Sridevi, Juhi, Urmila, Tabu, Kajol, Shilpa, Sonali, Aishwarya, Sushmita, Madhuri etc) and you see "Hero, we love you" written on the wall – then what else can you do than approve to it?

Produced by Hanif-Samir; Directed by Aziz Sejawal
152 Min.; DVD: Time, English Subtitles (including songs)
© Diwali

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