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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Ajay's film!, 11 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I like this film! I have watched the DVD 3 times now and every time I like it better. The film to my mind is intended to portray the life of the ordinary soldier who gets sent wherever to do whatever. It honors the dead and is very anti-war in the sense that it shows how senseless and damaging war is. So right away I like that.

This is not a chick flick - although Ajay's thing for the landlord's daughter is sweet and sexy! There is one really gruesome scene that I tend to fast forward through and I recommend you do the same. I liked Bobby Deol here. The director figured out that Bobby has an innocent side which plays very well to the camera and makes him quite likable. I even saw tinges of his Dad for the first time in one of the Deols....

Sanjay and Suniel are good and fun in their nosy observer roles as they read the diary. Their humor together in the face of so much danger is cool.

But - as the critics said - this is Ajay's film. He is just awesome here. From the beginning of the film in the way that he mentors Bobby to the very end as he stands alone on the bridge taking bullets, Ajay is a standout. Unlike INSAN where you can plainly see that he is bored silly - Ajay puts his heart and soul into Tango Charley and comes up with the kind of performances he is becoming admired for.

The entire episode with the landlord is my favorite and I loved the scene where the daughter thinks Ajay is her wedding-dress tailor! He's hilarious shyly measuring her....

Their semi-steamy scene in the cave is also nice. But what I like is the way he always treats her with respect and how protective of her he is, first as duty and then for love. The look on his face as she hands him all her jewelry is wonderful, compassionate and tender.

Of course Ajay's last scene in the film is classic John Wayne stuff. OMG - please don't shoot him again! I actually like to slow-motion these violent scenes and watch 'how they do it' - which helps me detach a bit and just observe the 'craft'.

I recommend Tango Charley for Ajay fans and for those of you who are interested in the personal side of war. This film is intelligent, well-acted, well produced with lovely camera work, neat locations, and nice songs. The gals are OK, nothing spectacular. The film is Ajay and his superb evolving talent as a creative artist.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Parable of the Blessed Fool, 10 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

MAIN AISA HI HOON: A Parable of the Blessed Fool

The film is the love-child of writer/director Harry Baweja and stars Ajay Devgan. For those of you who don't know who Ajay (pronounced ah-JAY) Devgan is, I can tell you that he is one of India's finest actors.

In Main Aisa Hi Hoon, Ajay plays an adult male with the mind of a seven-year-old child.  I did not expect to feel comfortable watching my hero Ajay act this role, but his performance just made me love him that much more. Ajay is brilliant in this film; his acting is impeccable and heart wrenching.

This wonderful film is a parable about the meaning, the power and importance of Love. It is also a profound and insightful metaphor with into what is happening to people in this world as the plague of greed and ambition spreads around the planet, while love takes a back seat to success, status, and consumption.

Ajay's character is a "normal man in an abnormal world" – he loves and that simple love spreads out and touches everyone around him. He has the mind of a child and a heart of gold! Very often in Hindu Sanskrit texts it is suggested that when a yogi achieves enlightenment, he or she should pretend to be the fool. The disguise of the Fool protects. Anyone who is lost in the bliss of Divine Love appears foolish the worldly. Ajay's character is happy, loving, giving, and forgiving.

The gorgeous Sushmita Sen plays the successful unhappy lawyer, who is lost in her ambition and feelings of being superior and smarter than everyone.  This lady's performance was unusually excellent, showing real depth of character and feeling.

My generation never used the mean term 'loser' to describe people we felt superior to. Those of you who are young probably don't even notice how your world is being altered by greed and the callous attitudes of those who imagine themselves to be smart, superior, and special. You are just trying to 'make it' in the world like so many others – until you wake up alone one day like Sushmita's character and sadly realize that you have forgotten how to love, how to feel, and how to cry.

In perhaps one of her best performances, Esha Deol plays the character, MAYA. This Sanskrit word means illusion to most westerners, but a deeper look at the metaphysical nature of the term shows that Maya is more than illusion. Maya is also the creative Shakti power, and this Maya creates a child, which becomes the focus of the film as the forces of evil are eventually vanquished by the power Love.

In the film Maya is the lost-rich-girl searching for love, having been neglected by her ambitious rich father who is forever too busy to notice her. She has the symbol OM tattooed on her arm and practices meditation and yoga. She craves the escape of ecstasy and uses hashish to get high.

Fate leads her to the protection of Ajay's simple minded, childlike character and his unconditional love, which she cannot resist. But after a year of living with him, she is too attached to her pain to be able to accept his love. Overwhelmed by her personal demonic illusions, and fearful that she will lose him, she leaves him and abandons the child they have created. Maya acknowledges that he is the better person and hopes the child will not turn out like her. The goodness of the 'fool' is valued above all.

The essence of the film is that a person who is in a state of unconditional love, who does not judge others, and cannot tell lies is considered to be 'abnormal' in our world.

Ajay spontaneously offers Maya the tender shelter of his umbrella even after she has hurt his feelings. He happily forgives everyone. What Ajay does so beautifully throughout the film is to remain in this kind of innocent child-like love. It has been suggested that to find the Kingdom of Heaven, we "become little children" again.

Ajay's character has become the patron saint of the town because he is innocently carrying "the Love frequency" and everyone recognizes how his presence enhances their lives. They love him back!

At the end of the film when Sushmita tries to explain to him that he is someone special, he is simply not interested. He is what he is and does not require descriptions. He's living 'Being-ness'!

This film is a metaphor, a parable, showing the power of Love to overwhelm a lack of love, to vanquish greed and ambition. The windmill toy handed down from Maya's mother to the daughter is an obvious reference to the high-minded, unselfish and impractical Spanish hero Don Quixote.

Everyone eventually acts selflessly in response to Ajay - the lawyer takes no fees, the landlady takes no rent, his daughter decides remain like her father because she senses he is somehow better than the world. People simply give to him because they feel what he is, his unconditional Love. Even the grandfather asks for forgiveness.

I highly recommend Main Aisa Hi Hoon. Watch this film – not with expectations of another glittering numbing advertisement for a promised-but-never-delivered fake impossible world. Watch MAIN AISA HI HOON as something deeper, a glimpse into the kind of heart and tender closeness we all dream of – the pure Heart of the innocent that does not judge others and cannot tell lies. And bring a big box of tissues!

Suhaag (1994)
A bit of fun..., 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SUHAAG (1994) is a bit of fun based around the creepy drama of a rich guy's gang that uses a charitable hospital to harvest and sell body parts. People are mysteriously dying on the operating table. There's a fairly ghoulish scene of a room piled with cadavers all with stitches over hearts and kidneys, etc.

With this 'stealing body parts' a the main plot, Suhaag is also rather comedic, sometimes even a little Monty Python, with Akshay playing the same sort of ape-ish goof-ball slap-stick routines that he does in INSAAN. I have no idea why anyone sees Akshay as a goofy comic …? He is very athletic, a good dancer, and he also is apparently quite good at martial arts, at least the 1990's BW style. He and Ajay make a nice double high-kicking' fist-smacking' pair - fighting mobs of evil guys.

There's one really nice scene where Ajay begs to embrace his Dad who has been falsely imprisoned - and who just happens to have the same looks as in hair & make-up, the shakes, and an almost identical blanket as SRK did in V-Z. Hmmm… Is this the BW classic "falsely imprisoned old guy" heroic male look?

There are a few good songs – one called Tera Liye Jaanam which sounded very familiar ... and is shot in and around the beautiful turquoise waters of Mauritius with Karisma. There is a fun scene with Akshay in the bubble bathtub, clad in only a scant bikini, doing a sort of shake-your-bootie dance number, with a towel and not much else. He looks good!

All in all Suhaag is a true blue everything-but-the-kitchen-sink BW romp through comedy, danger, violence, horror, I-love-Mom, prison & court room drama, and romance.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Ajay's joyful boyish innocence & high energy exuberance!, 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Phool Aur Kaante is Ajay's first film and from the first time I saw it what impressed me the most was his joyful boyish innocence and total high energy exuberance here. You can just feel Ajay's confidence and purity. He is obviously so happy to be working with his Dad, Veeru, perhaps fulfilling his father's dreams a bit at long last.

Ajay's love interest is Madhoo, who was also in Mani Ratnam's Roja. The film opens with a college scene and a geeky dork of a professor who is meant to be funny. Fortunately Ajay soon comes riding into the scene in full glory doing complete splits across two motorcycles! I was impressed, as men don't do the splits easily. It takes a lot of time and practice to become that limber. And I would imagine that his father Veeru must have been training Ajay in karate since he was a limber little boy.

There are bundle of upbeat romantic songs sung by Anuradha Paudwal, Udit, and Alka, with good clean college dance routines from Saroj Khan. Ajay is leaping, jumping, and rolling around the foxy Madoo, singing the catchy, "She gives me a heartache, she makes me pine. She's no heavenly angel, she's a girl in my college!" Sweet silly fun stuff!

Like any good BW film, our hero blatantly stalks his girl and wins her. There is a cute bit in the locker room where the freshly smitten Ajay describes his new love to his pals. He tells the boys that she has eyes like Meena Kumari, Madhubala's smile, Sri Devi's body, Jaya Prada's poise, and Rekha's appeal. This 'cocktail' he says, is the one he's going to marry!

Ajay is wearing that same mystery prayer bracelet he always wears, long before he met Kajol, and I am curious who gave it to him – Mom or Dad? Often affectionately nicknamed Romeo in the film, Ajay's classmates idolize and adore him. He is the all around good-guy college hero loved by everyone - everyone except the rich kid thug Rocky, who pushes drugs in school. Ajay confronts Rocky and his gang, and thus sets the stage for Veeru's fight scenes - all featuring his wonderfully agile and energetic, good-to-go son Ajay. So fresh!

There's an imaginative fight in the locker room where Ajay faces the gang alone. He takes 'em on with his super high-kicks, breaks through wooden doors with his bare fists, flies through the air and lands safely on his feet, all to pummel and stomp the bad-guy rats.

You can't convince me that none of this hurts. And even though the action may seem a bit naive compared to Hong Kong or HW, I personally would still rather watch this film than most American television fare. In fact I have heard that Phool Aur Kaante is on Indian TV quite a lot – so you can maybe catch it there.

The drug dealing Rocky becomes a real problem when he tries to set fire to the lovely Madhoo, but Ajay saves the day in a nice scene with plenty of flames and some cool but deadly swordplay – more Veeru.

Amrish Puri plays Ajay's Dad, a role he will repeat over and over in many more of Ajay's movies. Here Puri is the self-made local Mafia Don, a Malik kind of a guy, and he is excellent as the long suffering, selfish and manipulative, both cold and emotional, hardened criminal. But remember Ajay hates criminals and in Phool Aur Kaante he also hates his father.

Ajay is that wild and crazy college guy who climbs in your window at night in the rain for a little romance. There's a nice wet sari number with Ajay & Madhoo dancing in the rain and fountain sprinklers. She's not a bad dancer and Ajay does what he always does, which is what I call 'man' dancing. OK, so he's not Fred Astair – but he's agile and has more than enough testosterone to compensate.

Ajay marries pretty Madhoo and they have a baby. Here the plot thickens as Ajay's little family becomes enmeshed in the webs of his mafia father when their newborn baby is kidnapped. Who would do such a dastardly evil thing and why? Only Ajay's father– who carries an old childhood photo of his son so he can kiss it - can help now. I love my India!

There are some real Kitch moments – like when the crying kidnapped baby is sorta falling off a filthy bed, being totally neglected by an incredibly seedy boozing thug. And Ajay's Mafia Don Dad lives in a bungalow worthy of Las Vegas and wears $3000 English tailored suits. But like every Indian father, he wants his son and Puri is quite believably sympathetic.

Naturally there is a grand action-stunt finale Veeru Devgan style with a flying Ajay, machine guns, hand grenades, and lots of stuff that explodes! Why, oh why, do so many BW flicks start off with a bang and get mired in adding everything but the kitchen sink! Yes, I know – it's masala!

Still all in all, I like this film. It is good clean fun and a real pleasure to watch the very young action man Ajay in his first-start, staring appearance of what will be a long and interesting career. I recommend you see Phool Aur Kaante more than once. Happily it grows on you.

Haqeeqat (1995)
Ajay as the hit man Shiva, 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film opens with a brutish fat man, protected by two machine gun carrying bodyguards, who is ceremoniously feeding pigeons in a back alley. The sinister government official arrives and makes the payment for a big hit on a rival politician. Next we see Ajay, with blue eyes and a Malik (Company) style mustache, preparing for his work by disguising a gun in a military hat and perfecting a red light beam to target his prey. Ajay is the hit man Shiva.

The hit goes wrong and the target survives, so Ajay has to leave town pronto and hide out in Bombay (Mumbai). While traveling on the train, Ajay finds himself in a sleeping car with A.C.P. Shivcharan, played by Amrish Puri, his wife and son. Action man Ajay saves Puri and his family from a small gang of thugs who were after Puri, the assistant commissioner of the Bombay police. The fate of strangers on a train makes Ajay/Shiva, a professional killer, a trusted friend of the very police he is running from.

Once in Bombay, Ajay meets up with Johnny Lever, the comic relief or the only real bummer in Haqeeqat. I live in fear that one day I wake up and find Johnny Lever the funniest man in the world.

Lever helps Ajay get a room in one of those old rambling colony apartment complexes and there he meets Tabu, a lovely young girl recently widowed. They make beautiful music together - Ajay plays the harmonica and Tabu the sitar. Tabu is teaching music in the courtyard when the local nasty bad-boy thug moves in and decides to molest her publicly to the tune of rap music. Naturally Ajay turns into Shiva the trained killing machine and proceeds to knock the ugly gang silly with his high-kicking, fist-smashing, Veeru-Devgan-style choreographed action.

I have done a lot of thinking about Veeru Devgan's style of action. At first I didn't like Veeru's violence and frankly I had trouble watching these long drawn out bloody scenes. There is nothing cold or heartless about Veeru's action. The good guy is standing up for the innocent and the helpless. You are meant to feel the blows and taste the blood. The technical side of Veeru's violence is secondary to what he sees as righteousness, his world view. It is not slick, high tech, computer generated fantasy. You feel it in your heart, in your gut.

It seems that Ajay/Shiva was orphaned and found by the fat guy feeding the pigeons and trained from childhood to be an assassin. His owner calls him a "throw away"! So he is a captive, abused and used by evil men who sell his services to the highest bidder. As the film progresses we gain sympathy for Ajay's character - who now desperately wants the love of a mother (Mrs. David) and a good woman, Tabu. But Ajay's past always follows him and it seems as if every time he tries to redeem himself, he falls into another deeper trap. His controllers wont let him go.

After rescuing Tabu from her would be rapist in the colony courtyard, Ajay is taken to the local police station and beaten by a corrupt politician. Amrish Puri comes to Ajay's rescue and Ajay is released. But the feeling of hopelessness follows him as he wanders through the streets drinking his sorrows away. Ajay is a wonderful drunk! Here he plays broken-hearted boozed-up dude at its best and this performance foreshadows his later last night with Aish in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) as the straight-arrow Vanraj.

There are some excellent close-up shots of Tabu and Ajay that reveal just how warm and loving these two actors are. Ajay is so handsome in Haqeeqat and Tabu is looking very lovely, a little plump and very young. And yes, there is the hey-hey-hey and the la- la-la and suddenly our lovers are in Switzerland – Tabu all decked out like an Indian princess and Ajay in Madras plaid or really awful print sweaters. Still it's BW and you gotta have love dancing' in the snow capped Swiss Alps!

The plot is complicated by the fact that Tabu's husband was accidentally killed by 'guess who' the night of the big hit. Can she forgive the man she loves for killing the man she loved? And there are plenty of real rats bad guys, mainly crooked politicians, all weasels who want to continue to use Ajay's skills as a killer. The boy is put to the test over and over as Veeru's action scenes lead from one gruesome but fascinating cliffhanger episode to another. The end gets a little absurd bordering on a sort of James Bond fantasy with Tabu trapped in a spherical metal cage. Well, you get the idea. And yes, Ajay saves everyone!

All in all this is a highly enjoyable, worth-watching film with some very nice scenes from Ajay, Tabu, Aruna Irani, Mohan Joshi (Gangaajal, 2003 as Sadhu Yadav), and Amrish Puri. If I have any complaint with Haqeeqat it is with the background music, which is synthetic, loud, and irritating to my ear. But some of the song and dance numbers are very nice – one real hip-thrusting number with an item gal who looks like Helen to me. And we get to see a little of Tabu's fine dance talent. There is one rock & roll number in the snow that borders on funky – but if kitsch offends you, then forget BW from the 1990s. Just relax and have fun with a style of film that once came more out of India than the west. There's nothing quite like it and probably never will be again.

Naajayaz (1995)
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Naseeruddin Shah's presence makes this film, 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

NAAJAYAZ 1995/ Mahesh Bhatt I was surprised to see Ajay in a film with Juhi Chawla. I didn't know they had ever been co-stars. However it is the presence of Naseeruddin Shah that makes this film quite good and different than the norm. I first saw Naseeruddin Shah in Ijaazat with Rekha when I had just gotten into BW films and was blinded by SRK and more glitzy fantasy. Even though I could see that Naseeruddin Shah was an excellent actor, I was spoiled by SRK's magical appeal and thus missed the man who is obviously one of India's great acting talents with over 120 performances to his credit and still working.

The plot of this film is nothing new, but I felt Naseeruddin Shah's presence was somehow forcing the film to be deeper, thus better. You could see how the Ajay-year-1995 had not yet grown into his more subtle acting skills that were to emerge from him – but you could feel him watching and trying to learn from Naseeruddin Shah. Whenever there is a scene in Naajayaz that you feel have "been there" before in BW films, you suddenly realize that Naseeruddin Shah is playing it with an intelligence, sensitivity, and depth you normally don't see from the cast of regulars.

Reema Lagoo was also quite good in this film and really looking very lovely. I liked her portrayal of Ajay's mom and Shah's faithful beloved.

Juhi Chawla is purity itself and she looks so young here. Oh dear, time moves so cruelly on women. She plays a police woman and an undercover cop, shades of One 2 Ka 4, and does some very nice dancing. There is even a scene where she does a sort of Choli Ke Peeche 'heaving-breast' dance Madhuri style. One wonders if this is this the way undercover cops in India traditionally catch criminals … ?

For a funky Ajay must-see, there is a dance where he wears what looks like a table-cloth, a baggy t-shirt, and a ski-cap-beany. Yep! Hilarious! He must die of mortification when he looks back on some of these bizarro old dance numbers they had him do –-- pre-Malik!

There are some very tender moving scenes among all the revenge and madness, along with Ajay doing stunts on motorcycles, lots of exploding trucks, and of course Ajay & Juhi in love. So sweet! This film was a real surprise and I recommend it as a good 1990s BW fare – especially for Ajay, Juhi, and Naseeruddin Shah fans.

Deewane (2000)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Deewane is what I lovingly call a Yash Raj Lolly-Pop, 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love DEEWANE! Is this a great film? - no way! Do I love it? Yep! I have two copies, just in case ...

Deewane is what I lovingly call a Yash Raj Lolly-Pop. It is all total fantasy on the sweet and simple level of a child, say 8-10 max. Nothing bad ever happens in this film. It is completely soothing - and best of all, there are two Ajays! YES! So whenever I want my Ajay 'fix' and I look at my pile of Ajay DVDs and I think ... hmmm... Bhagat Singh? No - too many scenes where Ajay gets tortured. GangaaJal - uhm maybe HDDCS? There's that guy in it that many like, but I do not ... Zameen? Not tonight. Raincoat? Uhm, I need some dancing'. So ... I put on Deewane.

For one thing Ajay looks really great in this movie and for another thing Ajay looks really great in this movie. And nothing really bad ever happens. All the violence is completely choreographed in that kid's cartoon way so that it's more like watching ballet than some horrible beating.

I love the scene where Ajay jumps through the glass window down into the gambling casino and kills every thug in the room all by his lonesome self. He glides across the tables shooting rats left & right - and even throws cards at dastardly criminals, which apparently have some effect! Then there's the bit where he jumps off a balcony and effortless sails down 3 floors into a tree to nab the bad guy. It's absurd fun!

I also like the music with Urmilla's dancing here. Urmilla is stuck trying to figure out which Ajay is which. I think there is a real chemistry between these two people and it's a good thing (if the rumor is true) that Urmilla and Kajol are friends - because you can feel the electricity flying. Especially in the stranded-on-the-island scene where Urmilla is riping her clothes off to try and get Ajay to fool around with her. I think these two had a lot of fun making this film together. It's another Harry Baweja creation.

I don't much care for Mahima's dance number or her character here, because she is just too much of a victim for me. And then there was Johnny Lever and his dog voices - mention not!

Ajay plays another outstanding super-cop and his twin who is the "Loser" con-artist guy with a big heart. In the end Urmilla goes with the loser - oh did I spoiled the ending for you? As if! But I always want to say - "Hey! Urmilla, you dope! Sure this guy can recite poetry and give you those bedroom-eyes looks - but honey, sooner or later your going to wake up and realize that you are a princess and this guy is a loser with no job and no prospects! And then what?"

But wait - I forgot! This is a Yash Raj Lolly-Pop and everything will work out fine, because Deewane bears no resemblance whatsoever to any known reality and that's why I have an extra copy, just in case I need my Ajay fix ....

Thakshak (1999)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Can a good woman make a 'bad boy' into an honest man?, 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Can a good woman make a 'bad boy' into an honest man? That's the theme of ThakShak - it's not that Ajay is deeply bad, it's just that he has grown up in a mafia (Hindu) family that is competing with the Moslem mafia for big real estate deals in Bombay - and that sometimes leads to ugly power struggles, beatings & guns.

Ajay 'by chance' meets Tabu, an intensely idealistic poet & a dancer. Tabu's character can barely deal with the violence she sees around her and so Ajay quite naturally keeps his real life a secret from her until ... ... Their relationship is very sweet very believable. He seems to be in awe of her intelligence, her talent, and her purity.

Perhaps it is Ajay's mother who has kept his soul pure all these years as she anguishes over the tormenting (to her) life her husband Amrish Puri has led. Puri is excellent here and his deep voice reminds me that I miss him - in spite of what he did in Koyla!

Ajay's acting here is wonderful, he's deeply conflicted, tender and tough --- and he looks great ... ... and he looks real ... good. Uh huh! His struggle to find himself and choose between Tabu's ideal world and the violence he has grown up with is well portrayed. Also the intrigues between the politicians and the mafia guys are interesting. I really like this film. It took me a long time to get a DVD with subtitles and as a desperate Ajay fan I (foolishly) have copies without subtitles that freeze up at various points ... (idiot!) ... that I have watched a few times anyway for the music and for Ajay.

I feel ThakShak has been under-rated and neglected. For one thing AR Rahman's music is superb! Ajay's romantic number by the pool at night is a treasure for all Ajay fans ... and Tabu's dance numbers are very good. The nightclub singer girl is OK, but her numbers are a little glaring perhaps a nice contrast to Tabu's gentle world. Rahul Bose is not one of my favorites, but he gives a good performance in this film. He loves guns!

The night club numbers were too crass for my taste - even though I suppose they might have suggested the whole mafia vibe and as you say Rahul's psycho thing. The scene where Ajay is fighting the terrorist in the back room cut with one of her songs works in that both activities are somewhat ugly and violent.

I find the slow pace of Thak Shak very appealing. I like to put it on now and then to watch the relationship deepen between Ajay and Tabu. I love the moment when - after Ajay has rescued Tabu's relative in the road and actually 'formally' met Tabu in the hospital - Tabu is sitting on the grass in some park and Ajay walks up to her and gets the most adorable vulnerable smile on his face that she (and me!) cannot resist.

Also I love the scene where he spots her sitting in the bus - he looks so perfect as the totally unconscious (hormonally driven) young male looking around at nothing and then fixating on the girl in the window. So sweet, so human ... ...

I feel that the characterizations and their development were handled with sensitivity and depth. The young mafia thug takes a real interest in his girl friend's poetry and her poems are profound. These people hold my interest. Thak Shak is an action film, but with deeper insight than usual and offers Ajay an opportunity to show off his evolving acting skills. He comes up with some very interesting 'conflicted' facial expressions.

I also really love Tabu's wet sari number, "talking to raindrops" - the film definitely has some great Rahman songs. This is not a great film, but still very good in many respects and I recommend it.

I highly recommend this film - especially to Ajay fans, but also to all BW fans. ThakShak (1999) is compelling, well produced, with great Rahman, and a good story. This role is probably the one that led to Company (2002) for Ajay.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Saif and Ajay have macho chemistry!, 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kachche Daage is not a great film, but it's highly watchable with some really fun moments. Directed by Milan Luthria, who also directed Chori Chori (2003) and Deewaar (2004).

I'm not sure why this film got so trounced by the critics - it's much better than a lot of other BW movies. Pehaps there is something here I don't understand - perhaps there is some possible communal offense as this is about Indian soldiers who betray their country and help terrorists smuggle guns into the country. Be that as it may, as a clueless westerner ... I find this film very enjoyable.

Saif and Ajay perform really well together - they have macho chemistry! And both of these wonderful men look really handsome and cool here. Saif plays the go-getter successful city yuppie willing to risk it all on his deals - while his illegitimate half-brother Ajay has turned to stealing to vent his anger at being rejected by the society for being a bastard. Ajay's illegitimacy prevents him from marrying Manisha, the love of his life, because her parents wont accept him. Ajay's mother is Muslim and Saif's parents Hindu. Apparently Saif's father wanted to marry Ajay's mom, but the religious difference ruined their chances for happiness.

The film starts off with Ajay poking a stick into a cobra's hole! Once the snake emerges Ajay grabs it and stares it in the eye with his own piercing Attila-the-Hun eyes! I like this. There is also a sweet romantic scene with Manisha where Ajay tells her to close her eyes and then says something like ... "the rain will get you wet" and she says "let it get me wet" and he drops water on her cheek and then slowly kisses it away ... Nice!

Saif is very convincing as the enraged spoiled brat yuppie who finds himself helplessly dragged into Ajay's accidental involvement with the terrorists and the army. Saif wants his 'pin' card, his cell phone, and doesn't like getting blood on his spiffy business suit. Frog's broth makes him gag! The contrast between the two is the conflict of the young city techie male against his more rural street wise counterpart - and is played to amuse rather than make any kind of statement. These two endure the endless chase, a danger packed cool train scene, and gallantly ride horses to catch the bad guys in top style! They look great riding together - so dashing!

The music and dance numbers are also worth seeing. There are some colorful hot qawwali numbers with lots of swaying guys feeling excessively soulful. Manisha looks lovely and she has some tender chemistry with Ajay. Saif is paired with Namrita Shirodkar who fits as the yuppie girl friend. Naturally Ajay and Saif come to bond and love each other. I really like this film. Perhaps that year it just had too much competition: 1999 was the year that Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Taal came out. I recommend it especially for Saif and Ajay fans. There's lots of exploding trucks, hand held rockets, fight scenes, horse & train stunts and good music. It's BW!

One of Ajay's many great acting performances., 28 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tera Mera Saath Rahen is one of Ajay's many great acting performances. The film has the quality a play and could be staged in the theater. Along with the usual BW true love romance and some wonderful musical numbers, the primary focus is a more subtle introspective view into the hearts of the characters. Ajay plays the quiet, hard working, self-sacrificing introvert Raj Dixit, who is devoted to his disabled younger brother Rahul.

We aren't told why Ajay's character Raj has accepted a life lived only for his brother Rahul who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. We do see that they are both very happy in their sweet small life. Ajay's love for this young boy is both impressive and completely natural. Ajay often lovingly embraces the boy, and happily lifts him up in easy innocent play or to rescue him from danger.

I admit that at first I found the boy hard to enjoy and I give Mr. Devgan full credit for the way he reaches out for Rahul, drawing him into his arms with obvious genuine affection, calm, and tenderness. And the boy is an endearing bright spirit, who perhaps foreshadows the character Ajay will himself eventually play in Main Aisa Hi Hoon.

Ajay's character Raj is respected at the office, where he always does his work on time so he can catch the bus home and take care of Rahul. Raj is also loved and admired in his 'society' by the people who live there with him. This word 'society' is the subtitle- translation of whatever Hindi term must describe these apartment-complex-rooms built around a courtyard and provide what I would call a village within the city. Everyone knows everyone in the 'society' and their individual stories are well woven into the film.

As Ajay's neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Gupta are extended family and help Raj take care of Rahul. But it is the friendship with Mr. Gupta, played by Shivaaji Satam, and Ajay that particularly interests me. Shivaaji Satam is a fine actor, and while Ajay represents the difficulties of a young man, Mr. Gupta is facing the boredom of middle age, a fragmenting family, and his own fears regarding loneliness and old age. His conversations with Ajay become more interesting each time I watch them. There is also an old man in their community who completes the 'stages of life' trio. Abandoned by his only son, the old man finds himself trapped in the endless pain of lonely isolation, even within this 'society' village, and sadly the young adolescents often ridicule him.

Sonali Bendre plays the gorgeous love-interest girl, Madhuri. She and Ajay fall sweetly instantly in love at-first-sight. Ajay's character here is so pure, so innocent, and so virginal that he is embarrassed and totally confused by his own feelings, and his up-till- now suppressed passions. I love Sonali. I think she is truly one of the loveliest women of India and here she is that incredibly beautiful girl with a pure heart any man would want to marry.

Perhaps the best acting performance in the film comes when Ajay's character tries in vain to separate himself from his disabled brother. To please his new love, Ajay has forcibly and rather violently placed little Rahul in an institution with similar children. In the unbearable shadows of darkness, Ajay lies in his bed suffering the agonies of loneliness and separation from his brother. Their love for each other is an overwhelming and powerful mystery.

Tera Mera Saath Rahen was not the first film that the critics acknowledged Ajay Devgan as very much more than just action-man. He gives a truly fine, heart-wrenching, and very memorable performance here. His anguished, desperate run, barefoot through the city streets always makes me cry. Ajay excels at portraying a perfectly marvelous drunk – not only in this film, but also in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and as action-man Shiva/Ajay in Haqeeqat (1995). He would have been the perfect Devdas.

There are also some really good songs, three of which include the pleasure of watching the superb dancing skills of the gorgeous Sonali Bendre. Even though I'm sure she must be happily married these days - oh my, I miss her! However I do need to warn you of the 'Jumbo Jet' song, a sort of kid's Disney fantasy number that takes a little getting used to. Just put yourself into happy 8-year-old mode and enjoy the silly flying fun.

On quite a more serious note, I must say that Ajay is in melt-down sexy, handsome, awesome form in this film. For me, he is just about perfect here – and there is one all too brief scene, where he is walking around in the amber night-lights, dressed a rather tight white T-shirt that I am still in recovery over. Who needs Brando when you can look at Mr. Devgan! In the early part of the film there is another nano-moment when he is in one of those old 1940s style white undershirts … Wah! Ajay excels at playing the shy, geek introvert, who is simultaneously steaming with testosterone underneath - underneath that white T-shirt!

I highly recommend Tera Mera Saath Rahen to you without any reservations. It is an intelligent well-made film with a deeper meaning, as well as happily entertaining and stands up after repeated viewing. It is not teen-romance and has no yuppie gimmicks. This film is about the ineluctable, inexorable, invisible bonds whose power and mystery hold us deeply and profoundly in sweet love.

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