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|Index||21 reviews in total|
Briefly, the story goes like this. Kishorilal (Amrish Puri) is an NRI whose
heart belongs to his homeland, India (or so he says). On a trip back home,
he meets his old friend, Alok Nath (forget his name). Kishorilal is
impressed with the traditional values his friend has instilled in his
daughter, Ganga (Mahima Chawdhry). So he requests Ganga's hand in marriage
for his westernized son, Rajiv (Apoorva Agnihotri) who he hopes will become
more Indian with Ganga in his life.
To prepare Ganga and her family for Rajiv's visit to India, comes Arjun (Shahrukh Khan), adopted son of Kishorilal. Arjun is a struggling musician who even though has lived in America for a few years is completely Indian at heart. After Rajiv's visit, Ganga is sent off to America to experience and understand the life there before she gets married. There she is entrusted to Rajiv who exposes her to the so called American culture. She is shocked and runs to Arjun for comfort. She begins to get closer to Arjun who is already in love with her.
The elders misinterpret their friendship and with the help of Rajiv's skewed mind label Arjun as the enemy. A highly melodramatic climax leads to an obvious ending.
So whats the problem with Pardes? Why has it raked up so much controversy you ask. Well the answer lies in the director/storyteller of this enterprise, Mr. Subhash Ghai. His portrayal of Americans and Indians living in America is completely one-sided. He shows them as drunk, sexually obsessed individuals with no values or principles.
Mr. Ghai did have a message to send to his audience but somewhere on the way it got lost in all the melodrama. His message was to be careful that we don't let foreign influences ruin what is India's most valuable entity: traditional family values and principles. What he fails to do is show all sides of the coin. There exist people in America, UK and other such countries who hold onto their values, following them to a fault. Also, he should have taken a closer look at India. There are some aspects of Indian culture that are utterly ridiculous, and we might do well to take some advice from outside and NRI's are our link to such changes. The world is not black and white, there's a lot more gray than Mr. Ghai seems to want to acknowledge.
Patriotism is a wonderful thing until you begin to stop using your brain because your blinded by it.
Everything else in the movie is average and sometimes below average. Nadeem-Shravan's music is hummable at points and loud at others. Mahima Chawdhry, the new find is pretty and decent for a newcomer but is guilty of overacting at points. Apoorva Agnihotri, although a good-looker is below average. His dialogue delivery is his downfall. Amrish Puri and Alok Nath are also guilty of overacting. I'm guessing this overdose of melodrama has to do more with the director than the actors. So they are forgiven.
Shahrukh Khan is the saving grace of this film. Coming up with one of his most subtle performances of his career, he is simply outstanding. His silence and subtlety have so much more effect than the rest of the cast's yelling and preaching. He is the only reason I own the DVD of this film. Watch Pardes, if only for the King Khan.
I watched Pardes about 3 days ago. It was midnight and I had no wish to
see a movie which was three hours long. I was going to only see about
the first 30 minutes of it but this movie was so good that I watched it
all the way through.
Many reviewers have said that this film is 'Anti-American' propaganda and 'stereotypes' NRIs. As an NRI myself, I must greatly DISAGREE with conclusions like these. This movie is nothing short of a masterpiece.
The exaggerations of Indian morals and of western vices are done for a reason, and a very good reason at that. The director shows the audience the best of India and the worst of America to make the viewer appreciate the Indian culture our parents try to impart to us. Granted, there are some lines that the American 'bad son' (Rajiv) says which are ridiculous and comical, such as:
---------------------------------------------------------------- Paul: We are going to India? To fight? Rajiv: Yes. Paul: But that is not right. Rajiv: Why? Paul: We are not bad people Rajiv, we are good Indians. Rajiv: (While shaking his head) But I am bad, Paul! -----------------------------------------------------------------
In all candor, I don't know of any Americans who speak like this (or of any other human beings for that matter). The movie has hyperbole like this throughout it. However, let us put all the cards on the table at this point.....
I know for a fact that many NRIs look upon their homeland with disdain. They won't even visit it, much less want to stay there. But guess what? This movie isn't aimed at that audience. It is aimed at Indians who have not forgotten that without the culture imparted by their motherland, they would never be as successful, nor have the extended families we take for granted. Basically, if you're an ABCD or an NRI with little attachment to India, you won't enjoy this movie, probably because many immigrants adopt the ways of the denizens (just human nature to do so I suppose).
Lastly: I'm going to be starting medical school next year and I'll definitely be taking this movie with me. If I should forget who I am......what I am.....I know that I can watch this film and remember. A Hindustani.
Whatever anyone may say about Subhash Ghai's 'Pardes', I personally
found it very entertaining, engaging and charming. The film may be
slightly stereotypical, it may be a bit incorrect, but should it really
matter to me as long as I enjoy it? The portrayal of the US may have
been flawed, but the film's issue was in my opinion dealt with
convincingly. Besides that, the story was very lovely and the film was
according to me believable and moving due to the performances, the
music and the overall writing.
The film is about a young Indian girl named Ganga who lives in a rural village in India with her extended family. Her father's best friend, Kisohrilal, who's been living in the US for over 20 years, comes to visit them. Kishorilal is immediately charmed by Ganga and wants her to marry his young son Rajiv. Ganga's father agrees to the proposal and soon comes Arjun, Kishorilal's faithful nephew, who is also a good friend of Rajiv, to organise the engagement before Rajiv, who's never been to India, comes to see his bride. Arjun and Ganga befriend each other, but the real trouble starts when Ganga is taken to LA to live with Kishorilal's huge NRI family before marriage. The social, cultural and economical gaps rise, and Ganga finds herself lonely in a world which is very distinct from hers, where no one except for Arjun seems to understand her. There also starts the realisation that Ganga and Arjun are actually in love.
The film is according to me beautifully narrated and Subhash Ghai's direction is very good. Technically the film might have been better as the cinematography was not that good. I did not see 'Pardes' as a social film or anything of that sort, but more as a romantic drama, and in that genre it was very well-made. I don't think Ghai tried to show NRIs in a bad light, because such differences and difficulties are to be expected in any kind of transition from one country to another, particularly when moving from a conservative and traditionalistic society like that of India to a liberal country like USA. There were many great and touching moments in the film, my favourite being when Ganga talks to her father in India on the phone and feels very lonely and sad. The romance between Shahrukh Khan and Mahima was very well portrayed and the two had a wonderful chemistry.
While discussing Shahrukh Khan's best performances, many seem to overlook his work in 'Pardes', but this is according to me one of the finest performances of his career. As Arjun, he is kindhearted, and atypically subdued, sensitive and extremely vulnerable. Khan played his role with restraint, depth and sincerity rarely seen by actors of his bracket in those days. The film's brightest spot may be the gorgeous Mahima Chaudhary. She is not only one of the most beautiful actresses to have graced the Indian screen, she is also an extremely talented actress. Her smile lightens up the screen, and she is so compelling, moving and charming as the smart, sensible and no-nonsense Ganga that there seems to be nothing easier than to fall in love with her. This is a marvelous performance and easily one of the greatest debuts by an actress in Hindi cinema. Why she did not go on to reach any particular heights in her career is still mystifying. Another newcomer, Aproova Agnihotri, who plays Rajiv, fails to impress here and it was not a good idea to start a career playing an unsympathetic character. Amrish Puri is outstanding as Kishorilal, and the rest of the cast provide good support.
Nadeem-Shravan's soundtrack includes some very melodious tracks. I liked Kavita Krishnamurthy's rendition of "I Love My India". This film also marks the breakthrough of Sonu Nigam, who became a star with the song "Dil Deewana". A soulful, melancholic and very romantic song called "Zara Tasveer Se Tu (Meri Mehbooba)" was beautifully sung by Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu. To sum it up, 'Pardes' is a wonderful romantic drama and that is the reason it was appreciated upon release. I recommend 'Pardes', for its story, music and superb star cast, particularly Khan and Mahima.
The story of this movie is reminiscent of Dilwalle Dulhania Le Jayenge, but
it have it own joyful line.
Pity that Shahrukh Khan isn't at his best performance, because Mahima Chawdary is fill the entire screen with her spell binding act. She laugh, she cry, she dance, she sings, and she always look convincing (and gorgeous). It's really a splendid performance for a debutante. It's seem to me that Shahrukh is subordinated by the stunning Mahima.
Anyhow, the movie is better than the other typical Hindi Movies. There's nothing to loose to watch this one, because it have charming plot, charming cast, charming view and charming memorable songs, that will make you on the edge of your seat.
This is an excellent film, Sharukh Khan gives an astounding performance as Arjun, Mahima Choudhary puts a lot of effort in to her character as the chemistry between Mahima and Sharukh shows throughout the film. This is a different film from the others as it concentrates on the differences between countries. The songs in the film are also meaningful and romantic. Overall, this film is one of my favourite films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Back when it released in 1997, Pardes was a box-office blockbuster
because of the presence of Shahrukh Khan, the best-selling music by
Nadeem-Shravan, and the excellence director Subhash Ghai. Still, for
some reason it is not remembered as fondly as DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,
or Dil To Pagal Hai - the reason being that it deals with several
unpleasant truths about Indian society that the aforementioned films
have a tendency to gloss over. It tackles the Indian obsession with
Western culture and the elitism of the NRI population in a way that is
both entertaining and emotionally moving. There's nothing wrong if the
Indian adapts values from Western culture, but to what extent? To the
extent of forgetting and deprecating one's own roots? Pardes is a
moving tale of the negative effects of emotional and cultural ignorance
and isolation and the healing effects of a relationship driven by
genuine friendship and goodwill as opposed to greed and lust.
The story begins with Ganga (Mahima Chaudhary), a simple Punjabi village girl who catches the attention of her father's friend Kishorilal (Amrish Puri), who wants her to marry his American-raised son Rajiv. Since Rajiv has no interest in marrying an Indian girl, Kishorilal sets Arjun (Shahrukh Khan) off to finish the task of getting the two together, and he succeeds in making the two fall for each other. Rajiv requests that Ganga come to America for a month to become accustomed to American culture, and this is where the drama begins, as Ganga begins to see that Rajiv is not what he appears to be, and Arjun begins to fall in love with Ganga.
As one can see, the story is a typical 90's romantic melodrama, the kind that became popular following the success of DDLJ. However, do not be put off by the ordinary story. It is the way in which the story is presented that makes Pardes special. Ace director Subhash Ghai has crafted the scenes and situations of the film in a way that is both entertaining in a dramatic sense and emotionally moving.
The first message presented is that of being proud of one's culture. It is not Western culture that is being depicted as "bad" or "immoral"; it is Indian society's and the NRI population's tendency to place it on a pedestal that is being condemned. The scenes with Amrish Puri's materialistic family are meant to highlight the ills of Indian elitism and the family's perception of Western culture as "superior" to embellish their wealthy NRI status. Why should Indians be ashamed of their culture? Why not adapt a value system that takes the best of both worlds? the film asks.
Ghai also manages to tackle the opposite side of the coin as well by depicting the gender hypocrisy of Indian society. While Rajiv is allowed to wander around with various girlfriends even while betrothed, Ganga is humiliated and accused of being characterless simply for her innocent friendship with Arjun. The part of the climax scene in which the grandmother stands up for Ganga is yet another example that provides insight into the humiliation women in Indian society are compelled to undergo as a result of their expected subservience.
The second message is that of the purity and genuineness of human relationships. The problem with the family in Pardes is that they do not value the benefits of family and togetherness, rather seeing love as a superficial entity devoid of genuine emotion. In one of the most touching scenes in the film, an emotionally deprived Ganga cries to Arjun that she "doesn't want a mansion worth millions, she wants the love of a human being, the kind of love that Arjun gives to others". The kindness and gentility of Arjun and the scenes that show his pure relationship with Ganga are another element that take the film higher. His love for Ganga is not driven by lust for outer beauty. It is driven by a genuine willingness to be there for her as a supportive friend and support her in all circumstances. This definition of love as an emotional rather than physical connection is a truly touching message that is necessary in today's world. Where the film stands out apart from similar films of the mid-to- late 90's is that it doesn't shy away from the ugly side of things; there is no utopian family or chocolate romance. Yet it manages to maintain the same clean, pleasant aura devoid of vulgarity or violence (save for the fight scene at the end) that is suitable for family viewing.
In terms of performances, Shahrukh Khan gives one of his best performances along with that in "Swades" and "Chak De India". He is not his usual stereotypical romantic hero, but is instead more mature, restrained and real. He shines in the scenes and gives them greater emotional depth. Mahima Chaudhary is beautiful and endearing as the naive yet headstrong Ganga; she skilfully balances both the vulnerable and strong shades of her character, providing a truly heartwarming performance. Amrish Puri shines as the kind but misguided father figure in a role similar to his in DDLJ, and the supporting cast ranges from decent to pathetic. The technical effects, such as the cinematography and sound, give the film a truly professional look and make it even better. The film is directed at a very brisk pace, and the film does a good job of moving through its 3 hour duration without making you check the time. Nadeem-Shravan's musical score is another highlight of the film, and the songs bear great elegance and musical substance with their deep rhythms and rich melodies.
In short, don't be misguided by people's dismissal of "Pardes". If you are willing to accept and acknowledge the bitter truths depicted, you will be able to see something that is truly special.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Americans have no morals or values. An Indian born in America smokes, drinks
and sees women as sexual objects. He's a snob. He has no morals or values.
An Indian born in India living in America has morals and values. He is the
ideal boyfriend. The ideal husband. The ideal son. The ideal son-in-law. He
is Shah Rukh Khan. These are some of the stereotypes prominent in Pardes. If
you look past these you actually have quite a lovely story. SPOILER Boy has
to get married. Boy gets engaged to traditional Indian girl. Girl believes
boy is her Raj Kumar. In his natural environment girl sees his true colors.
Girl finds true love in the arms of her fiancé's friend.
Pardes' strong points are surely the actors and actresses in particular Mahima Choudhary. Despite their stereotypical characters, they manage to make their characters tangible. Watching Mahima is an absolute delight and she shows great promise in one of her very first roles. These stereotypes however sometimes stretch the realms of reality. Or should I say reality as perceived by a Westernized Indian?
Pardes (foreign land) is the story of Kishorilaal (Amrish Puri) who is
an NRI settled in US but has been nurturing the love for his
motherland, i.e., India in his heart despite living away for it. Arjun
(Shah Rukh Khan) is his foster son who has grown up with his real son
Rajeev (Apoorva Agnihotri). Sorry to find most of his family members
including his son as completely coloured in Western culture,
Kishorilaal decides to arrange such a bride for his son who is soaked
in Indian culture and values that those Samsakaaras and life values
reach his son and the generation next as well.
Kishorilaal's quest for such a bride finds a perfect choice in Ganga (Mahima Chaudhary), the daughter of his childhood buddy Suraj (Alok Nath) who is living in India. He sends both Rajeev and Arjun to the house of Suraj to see Ganga and confirm that matrimonial alliance. However after the engagement of Rajeev and Ganga in India, Kishorilaal insists that prior to the wedding Ganga visits US and spends some time with his family in order to familiarize with her in-laws as well as the environment there. And there starts the trouble. Several undesirable things come to Ganga's notice and she has to flee from US with the help of Arjun. Shortly, she is able to find out that Arjun, not Rajeev, deserves to be her life partner. Kishorilaal also realizes that it's incorrect to cut an Indian girl from her roots and compel her to take root in a foreign soil.
The idea behind the movie is definitely good and the conclusion rendered is agreeable. It's a lesson for those parents of Indian girls who feel that by sending their girl abroad through her marriage with an NRI, they will be arranging a happy and prosperous life for her. Even when the boy's family is wealthy and the boy earns well, it may not always be advisable because if the boy has grown up abroad, his personality and psyche must have been groomed according to the environment prevailing there and the girl brought up in India may not be able to adjust with him as well as in the family of the in-laws. Finally, mental adjustment matters the most in the marriage of a girl and not the wealth and the luxuries of her husband or her in-laws. But !
But Subhash Ghai who was considered an expert in making formulaic movies during that period, has not done proper justice to the story idea. To justify his theme and the conclusion of the story, he has taken different points and facets of that to the extremes and reduced many characters (in both the Indian and the foreign milieu) to mere caricatures. Love for India cannot be proved by shouting I Love My India loud (as done through a song of the movie). This love should reflect through understanding the Indian values and way of life. And it's here where this movie falls flat on its face.
There are several ridiculous things in the first half of the movie in which the story moves at a snail's pace. The most ridiculous of them (at which I was beating my head in the cinema hall) is the Kabaddi match played between the two teams who are staking their claims on Ganga in order to take her away as the daughter-in-law of the respective families. The bet is that whosoever wins the match will take away Ganga through her marriage with a boy of the team. Such a laughable stock has been presented in a movie made on such a brilliant theme !
The second half of the movie is fast-paced with many twists and turns but they appear to be imposed to justify the case of the filmmaker and not evolving with naturalness. Personally I don't feel that smoking and drinking make a bad boy. All the same, a good wife is able to make her husband (if otherwise he's nice) get rid of such bad things after marriage also. As far as his promiscuity is concerned, this fact also appears to be suddenly thrown at the face of the audience (as well as the heroine). The boy's father's ignorance of this kind of nature of his son is a serious issue (especially when he's bringing a girl from India to US and allowing her to spend time with his son prior to wedding) which the filmmaker has neglected.
The climax has also been dealt with in the typical Subhash Ghai style which entertains but doesn't impress. The heroine elopes with the hero without any love in her heart for him which doesn't make much sense. In the end, the whole stuff of the movie appears to be something having pious intentions behind but not executed properly and honestly.
This lavishly made movie is technically superior. The only flaw in this regard is its excessive length. The editor and the director should have curtailed its length by at least 30 minutes by removing many unnecessary sequences. The overall form of the movie renders an impression that it was made under the hangover of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (1995). However every movie cannot become DDLJ even with certain similarities in the story and the lavish style of filmmaking.
All in all, this formula-studded movie which was a box office hit also, is quite entertaining but does not do justice to its noble theme because it deals with the love for one's motherland in a childish manner. The treatment of the subject is melodramatic for a major part of the movie. Love for the motherland should reflect in one's attitude and deeds. It's not possible just by yelling I Love My India from the roof of one's house or by singing and dancing at a song containing these words.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In its essence, Subhash Ghai's intentions were decent. He wanted to
make a sort of patriotic movie about family values in India, respecting
one's parents, loving one's home, etc. To illustrate this point as
easily and "over abused-ly" as possible, he needed to draw a contrast
with something. He decided to pick on Americans since he knows so much
about them because he has watched a lot of TV.
What could have been a decent storyline with a truly meaningful message, turned out to be a self-patronizing, American-bashing exercise. Each and every negative stereotype was used against the Americans, and even for the Indians. Ghai refused to do any learning or research on the subject, got a budget approved to shoot in Hollywood and took the team there to act like Americans.
In short, the thing that Pardes teaches us is that Indians are family-oriented, have their feet on the ground, are humble, and keep their virginity for their spouses. Americans, or even Indian-Americans are vicious creatures that lust for flesh, respect no one, practice adultery.. and smoke.
I'm sorry Mr. Ghai, nice try, but the project could have been a classic had it not been put in your reckless hands.
Pardes is very long and a touch predictable. Still, it's not a bad
watch and could have been a good film with better editing. Shahrukh
gives an uncharacteristically restrained performance, although he does
go over the top towards the end. Mahima is charming but overdoes the
cuteness. Amrish Puri is solid as usual. Apoorva Agnihotri is weak. The
songs are great. I specially liked the gentle "Do Dil Mil Rahen Hain".
The film goes overboard in its depiction of NRIs and I can understand
why some reviewers hate it. The patriotism on display could have been
toned down. Still watchable on TV/DVD.
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