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1942: A Love Story (1994)

 -  Romance | Action | Drama  -  15 July 1994 (India)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,149 users  
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A young Indian couple, both from wealthy backgrounds, find themselves caught up in the 1940's Indian revolutionary movement against their families whom are under the thumb a sadistic British general.



(screenplay), (dialogue), 5 more credits »
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Title: 1942: A Love Story (1994)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narendra Singh
Rajeshwari Pathak
Raghuvir Pathak
Major Hisht (as Danny Dengzongpa)
Abidali Baig
Chandni ...
Raghuvir Yadav ...
Sushma Seth ...
Gayatridevi Singh
Manohar Singh ...
Diwan Hari Singh
Brian Glover ...
General Douglas
Gopi Desai ...
Pramod Moutho ...
Govind Pathak
Uday Chandra ...
Shakti Singh ...
Captain Digantu


In 1942 India, Naren, the wealthy son of a local politician loyal to the British crown, romances Rajjo, the daughter of an Indian freedom fighter. Both become caught up in the increasingly violent revolutionary program when Rajjo's father and her uncle plot to assasinate a sadistic, visiting British general determinted to keep Indian under British rule. Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

british | revolutionary | love | india | 1940s | See more »


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Release Date:

15 July 1994 (India)  »

Also Known As:

1942: A Love Story  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is based on the famous Indian historical movement 'Quit India' Movement which happened in 1942. See more »


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Yeh Safar Bahut hi Kathin
Music by Rahul Dev Burman
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Performed by Shibaji Chatterjee
See more »

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User Reviews

Foppish caps and 'ang 'em 'igh Generals
23 September 2005 | by ( – See all my reviews

1942, in common with most of India's movie output is something of a curiosity. It has the scope and scale of a western 'event' movie, yet seems to have no ambitions to widen its audience beyond the borders of its own nation and people, which is a shame. There is much to commend this movie, and it deserves a wider audience, but its long running time – thanks to the obligatory insertion of a dozen songs – effectively precludes it from finding an international audience and the wider recognition it deserves.

The story is nothing more than a spin on Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet', set in India in 1942 against the backdrop of the Indian nation's struggle for independence from British rule. Naren Singh (Anil Kapoor) and Rajeshwari (Manisha Koirala) are our star-crossed lovers: he's the son of a high-ranking Indian official who has sold himself to the British in return for an opulent lifestyle, while she is the daughter of a resistance leader plotting the assassination of a visiting general. At the outset of the movie, Naren is something of a worthless gadabout, dressing like an Englishman –although no Englishman would be seen dead in the foppish caps he wears – and leading a generally aimless existence, until he meets, and falls in love with, the beautiful Rajeshwari.

From the opening titles, in which we see a close-up of the Union flag as the 'Mars' sequence from Gustav Holst's Planets Suite plays, it is obvious that director Vidhu Vinod Chopra has grand plans and intends to tell a story on an epic scale. It's disappointing, therefore, that, after a promising start, he feels it necessary to develop the lover's romantic relationship via a series of soppy song-and-dance numbers that seem to turn up with excruciating regularity. Apparently, Hindi audiences insist on these musical interludes in their films, and so they are possibly included for commercial reasons but, as they are almost wholly superfluous to the plot and do nothing but bring the film to a grinding halt, they are possibly cinema's best argument for judicious editing for an overseas market. The running time of this movie would probably come down to a manageable 105 minutes instead of the bloated 145 minute version that currently exists. The very idea probably amounts to sacrilege in the eyes of the home audience and I'm not in favour of censorship but, hey, skillful editing (together with directorial talent – which Chopra has in abundance) is the core of good movie-making. If nothing else, these musical numbers sit uneasily with the main thrust of the storyline, and nobody in the western world will feel comfortable rooting for a leading man who keeps prancing around like a camp dancer at the drop of a foppish hat.

Thankfully, once Chopra has finally established the strength of the relationship between Naren and Rajeshwari, the story largely eschews musical asides in order to concentrate on the rebels struggle to assassinate the visiting general and things improve considerably. Plot twists come thick and fast, and help build up expectations as we approach a climax that, while both overlong and somewhat overwrought, doesn't disappointment.

Overall, this movie is worth watching despite its bum-numbing length: Chopra shows a sure hand when directing large crowd scenes; he captures some beautiful images on the screen, handles the sprawling plot with assurance, and even manages to transform that camp foppish dancer into a hero worth rooting for by the film's finale. Only the movies' depiction of the British, symbolised by the ridiculously over-the-top sadistic General " 'ang 'im" Douglas (Brian Glover of all people!) who seems intent on lynching or shooting any Indian unlucky enough to come within ten yards of him, leaves a sour taste. No doubt we Brits were harsh rulers, but the point could have been made more forcefully by refraining from turning the one British character into a laughable caricature of a sadistic military bully. Glover seems to realise this, and plays his part with relish, deliberately, one suspects, going overboard in his depiction, while reining in his performance enough to avoid spoiling the film's final sequence.

6 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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