Subhash Ghai’s Pardes, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Mahima Chowdhury, has completed 19 years today. The film, which turned out to be one of the biggest hits of SRK’s career, released on August 8, 1997.
As fans can’t stop gushing over the film on Twitter, we look back on some of the things that made the film one of the biggest blockbusters of that year.
SRK All The Way
Pardes is a vintage SRK romance number, complete with dreamy eyes, wistful smile and a noble spirit - and of course, the guitar and that white cap. Continuing the streak of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Pardes is one of the important films that helped establish Shah Rukh Khan’s credentials as the unbeatable romantic hero.
While the role of Arjun ticked all the boxes for a Subhash Ghai hero, in the first half of the film, Shah Rukh injected a little restraint in his portrayal of the sidekick falling in love with the fiance of his mentor’s son. And that’s what still makes Arjun an endearing character.
Mahima’s Refreshing Debut
If you think about it, Mahima Chaudhry was not your usual Bollywood debut. In a year when Karisma Kapoor, Urmila Matondkar, Juhi Chawla and Kajol were making their well-groomed presence felt, Mahima had an untrained charm about her. Her costumes and hair stylig in Pardes were nothing short of tacky, but it went with her portrayal of Ganga, an unsophisticated but outspoken village girl who is set on the path of marriage beyond her league, and finds out unsavoury truths about her fiance. Ironically, once she transformed herself into a typical Bollywood heroine, Mahima largely failed to click with the audience.
We Still Hum The Songs
Pardes scored with almost all its songs. From Do Dil Mil Rahe Hai to Sonu Nigam’s Yeh Dil Deewana to Meri Mehbooba, the music composed by Nadeem-Shravan, was one of the greatest factors that contributed to the film’s success.
Strong Supporting Cast
While the film has no claim to any great characterisation or exploration of ideas - frankly, the overdose of superficial patriotism is cliched to put it mildly, and is irksome - Pardes was held together by some strong performances by secondary characters.
Amrish Puri As Kishori Lal
While Alok Nath played the usual good-hearted babuji (despite thrashing his daughter for “dishonouring” him by falling in love with someone other than her intended towards the end), Amrish Puri shone as the canny businessman trying to reform his wayward son by finding him a traditionally brought up bride. And of course, he danced to I Love My India.
Himani Shivpuri As Kulwanti Bua
One of the most popular actors in Bollywood and the TV industry, Himani Shivpuri made the role of Kulwanti Bua her own. The extremely suspicious widow sister living with Suraj Dev’s (Alok Nath) family has ideas that are nothing short of archaic, but provides ample scope for comic relief.
Smita Jaykar As Paddy, Madhuri Bhatia As Neeta
Playing westernised aunts of the would-be-groom (played by Apurva Agnihotri), who join forces to let their displeasure against Ganga known and felt, Smita Jaykar and Madhuri Bhatia aced the roles with equal doses of arrogance, polish and pettiness.