About the story: Anjali Agrawal (Juhi Chawla) is a modern business woman working in the company of her parents Asha (Tanuja) and Ajit Agrawal (Suresh Oberoi). When a factory in the jungle of Manjira (an island west of India’s southern tip) is planed, Anju flies to Manjira and with a biplane searches for a suitable location – until her aircraft crashes in the midst of the jungle. In this unfortunate situation, Anju gets help by adventurer Captain Kishen (Sanjay Dutt) who obviously has spent his whole life in the jungle and is well-known all over the island. On an adventurous odyssey, Kishen guides Anju back to her tour’s basis from where she returns to Mumbai. As Kishen has fallen in love with Anju, he follows her to Mumbai where he, however, not only is confronted with a civilisation completely unknown to him but also with Shekhar Panchotia (Mohnish Bahl) who proves to be an adamant rival for Anju’s affection...
I frankly admit it: I was so keen on this movie that I didn’t care at all for missing subs on the DVD. In the first place because the DVD cover – Sanju in blue jeans and stripped to the waist – already was enough to make my hormones dance samba. And of course also because Sanju’s co-star in Safari is wonderful Juhi Chawla I’m very fond of, and I simply didn’t want to miss this jodi. Sure, to be prevented from understanding the dialogues en detail was a loss for me, but at least I had no problem to understand the plot, and many scenes are situation comedy which you as well understand without words as Juhi’s and Sanju’s devastatingly funny facial expressions.
When the tough business women in designer clothes in a jungle meets an adventurer in Crocodile Dundee outfit, it’s a recipe for conflicts. And when this adventurer makes a trip to a metropolis where he for the first time in his life meets phenomena like remote controls or water closets, conflicts are preprogrammed too. Juhi and Sanjay visibly had great fun playing all this – watching them is sheer delight. Juhi is a dream – be it with leather cap and aviator goggles, in an appealing native outfit or after an involuntary mud-bath. And Sanjay – okay, I’ll try to phase down my hormone level a bit, but that’s not easy as there was rarely so much "Sanju topless" as in Safari, and with just an open vest or jacket or without both he’s simply a dish. Juhi and Sanjay are a magnificent jodi, even when they’re dancing; I liked most the festival dance in the native tribe’s village (simply hot!) and the rain dance on Kishen’s boat (beware of Sanju’s hip swing!).
As the film is dedicated to the Indian jungle, you’re even treated to some beautiful pictures of landscapes and animals. The more you get annoyed, however, by the two ridiculous crocodile and gorilla dummies Sanjay has to "fight" with. And a background music permanently citing the Khalnayak motive (did no one notice that??) isn’t very adequate either as Sanjay in Safari plays no villain but an out and out lovable guy, and you genuinely wish him a happy-end with Juhi. A scene, characteristic of Kishen’s soft heart: In Mumbai, one night in pouring rain, he saves a sweet little doggie gone astray on his house’s roof, protects it with his hat against the rain and then lovingly cares for it – you just could melt away!
Safari is a delightful mixture of Crocodile Dundee, African Queen and Romancing the Stone, and I really hope and pray that one day it will be released with subs, too. Those who don’t want to wait for this glorious day, be assured once more that Safari is very much a situation comedy (just one example: How do you revive a fainted woman? No problem for Sanju: He pulls a sock from his foot and dangles it under Juhi’s nose...). And thanks to the high spirited Safari cast (including Sanjay’s and Juhi’s co-stars, above all Suresh Oberoi) you can enjoy yourself for 167 minutes even without subs. At least I could.
Produced and directed by Jyotin Goel
167 Min.; DVD: Premier Movies, without subs