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In one cruel stroke of fate, Chandni (Sridevi) faces life alone, her heart and her dreams shattered as Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) disappears from her life. When she meets Lalit (Vinod Khanna) who is fighting the demons of tragic memories, they both find solace in this new friendship. Lalit's affection gives a new direction to Chandni's life, but Lalit is falling for her and Chandni resigns to destiny, till one day, Rohit knocks on her door. CHANDNI is a classic Yash Chopra love story, softly lyrical, throbbingly beautiful and filled with exquisite locales, lilting melodies and the sound of three hearts hopelessly in love.Written by
Whenever the current crop of actresses is asked to list their dream roles, Chandni is almost always included at or near the top of the list. And yet when one considers the possibility of the role being performed by any but Sridevi, one cannot help but feel that she is the only one who could ever play the part with as much grace, humor, elegance, and restraint. Sridevi *is* Chandni, just as Dilip Kumar is Devdas, Amitabh Bachchan is Don, and Rekha is Umrao Jaan. These performances are so completely intertwined with the actors who embody the characters that it becomes all but impossible to imagine anyone else in the part. Because of this Chandni has become a romantic archetype, one that would inspire the generation of romantic heroines who were to follow (it will be obvious to anyone who has seen Juhi Chawla in "Darr", Madhuri Dixit in "Dil To Pagal Hai", Kajol in "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" or even Preity Zinta in "Veer Zaara" that these characters are derived from the "Chandni" mold). It is interesting, therefore, to consider that in the career of a woman who has nearly always played larger-than-life characters, she achieves one of her great successes in playing an average, middle-class girl, one who is not afflicted with any of the great dilemmas that burden her other characters, like ravaging insanity (Khudah Gawah), diabolical egomania (Laadla) or matrimonial self-destruction (Judaai). Chandni is a typical Punjabi girl: carefree and fun-loving, who falls for Rohit (Rishi Kapoor), an upper class heir who defies his conservative family and marries the girl of his choice. All seems relatively pleasant until Rohit is paralyzed in a helicopter accident. This strains the relationship, and Rohit declares that his love for Chandni has died. Thus the marriage is ended, and Chandni is left to live the life of a single working class woman. Thrown for the first time into the whirlwind of economic independence, she stumbles as she tries to relieve the tragedies of her past with the responsibility of the present. Eventually she catches the fancy of her boss, Lalit (Vinod Khanna), whose advances she rejects until Rohit reenters her life. The structure of the plot is not unlike other love triangles; where Chandni was different (and magnificently so) was in the way it presented this 'every woman': childlike but wise, suffering but sexual, this was a major multi-dimensional screen creation, and Sridevi infused her with her own brand of quiet dignity, raucous silliness and pert sexuality. Yash Chopra originally offered the role to Rekha (who had played a woman named Chandni in "Silisila" nearly a decade earlier) but she did not want to go back and play a character she thought she had already done. So she recommended Sridevi for the part. If the film proved one thing it was that even in the every-woman guise, Sridevi cut a larger-than-life figure. She was not a Hema Malini or a Madhuri or even a Rekha. She inhabited the 'normal' woman in such an abnormal way that at once we knew that though she was real, she would remain untouchable. 'Chandni' is a modern day icon to film actresses, proving that one need not sacrifice novelty for the sake of normalcy. The film boasts of incredible chemistry between Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor, especially in the first twenty minutes when Rohit romances Chandni, revealing her inherent vivacity that later becomes tempered when Life interrupts her hitherto ideal love story. "Chandni" is also important in that it was during the shooting of the film that Yash Chopra also came to realize that he had at last discovered the actress who would make possible the realization of a film he had been planning to make for nearly two decades, but had shelved the film because the theme was deemed too controversial. The film was "Lamhe".
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