प्यार तो होना ही था
After some weighty discussions about feminism and Partition, it was definitely time to write about something with a bit more levity. Fortunately Pyar to hona hi tha ("Love had to happen") was there to do the job.
Sanjana (Kajol), an orphaned Indian living in Paris, is engaged to her sweetheart Rahul (Bijay Anand). Rahul's business takes him on a trip to India, where he is swept off his feet by a sexy modern vixen named Nisha (Kashmira Shah), and breaks his engagement to Sanjana. Heartbroken, Sanjana heads to India to win him back. On the way, she meets the roguish thief Shekhar (Ajay Devgan), on the run from his one-time friend, Police Inspector Khan (Om Puri). Circumstances conspire to strand Shekhar and Sanjana in Shekhar's village, where she learns that inside scoundrel there beats a heart of pure gold. Shekhar agrees to help her win back her lost love. Sanjana and Shekhar pretend to be lovers to make Rahul jealous. But as the film's title suggests, it's not long before the pretense becomes reality.
Pyar to hona hi tha is an innocuous and pleasant romance. Like any romance, its charm depends upon the appeal of its principals, and they deliver well enough to make the movie engaging and sweet. Kajol is talented at physical comedy, and that talent is put to good use in Sanjana's clumsy streak; her klutziness is cute and funny (though, unfortunately, it has no real bearing on the story). And Ajay Devgan is better here than in some films where he broods and mopes incessantly; Shekhar is permitted moments of insecurity that show through his facade of cool. The result is an endearing pairing that the viewer can really root for.
I've been told that Pyar to hona hi tha is a remake of a Hollywood romance flick called French Kiss. I've never seen the original, but most people seem to think the filmi touches are an improvement. I guess that Bollywood really does have a way with romance. Some of the better filmi elements in Pyar to hona hi tha are the songs, which are very cute; they are mostly innocuous pop, but surprisingly catchy. There are entertaining picturizations too, especially the village engagement party and a trippy song that takes place on an airplane. The latter includes segments having different musical styles, including a qawwali and a uniquely filmi adaptation of the Macarena. The less felicitous additions from the filmi bag of tricks include a couple of lengthy car chases and a random, unnecessary shooting and hostage sequence in a shopping mall. On balance, though, Pyar to hona hi tha offers a pleasant helping of everything one might require of a Hindi popcorn romance.
Greta of Memsaab Story, with whom I watched Pyar to hona hi tha, considers the film a sentimental favorite; here's what she has to say about it.