Hum Aapke hain kaun (HAHK) released in 1994, was a trendsetter in many ways. After a decade of violent and senseless movies with Dharam Paaji taking revenge of his family’s murder or MithunDa reaching the crime scene of a rape – he always reached before the rape if victim was his heroine and after the rape if it was his sister. Songs like Sarkaay leo khatiya jaada lage or main sharma ke rah jaati hoon jab kisi ka murga bole or kal saiyyan ne aise bowling kari ek over bhi main jhel paayi nahi or khada hai khada hai khada hai, dar pet ere aashiq khada hai had become a norm.
Video Cassette industry was prospering which had turned the term houseful into a rarity. After all, if you and 30 others can watch 3 movies in 100 rupees, why would anyone pay 10 rupees plus inconvenience of going to cinema hall to watch a single movie? There was no sophistication of multiplexes in those days.
In such a backdrop filled with violence and vulgarity, we heard about HAHK – a movie promising to be full of Indian values and culture. Suraj Barjatya promised – you can watch it with your entire family. In the name of violence, we heard there is just one slap. In the name of sex appeal, we heard there was Salman Khan dancing in his vest and trousers. Everyone had his opinion based on the hype surrounding the movie. I thought – “Damn, not even a Dhak Dhak song.” My mother said “Finally we will see a clean movie”. My father, who worked for HMV in those days, said “Songs are good. Music is super hit. Audio cassettes are selling real fast. Video cassettes might sell faster”
But he was wrong. HAHK’s video cassettes were not released. This surprised everyone – “How could this happen? Video cassettes form part of our constitutional rights”. In addition to this, movie tickets were raised from 15 rs to 35 rs for balcony and 10 rs to 25 rs for family. We thought – “May be Suraj Barjatya is really possessive about his movie. He doesn’t want any one else to see it”. But it was a totally different but intelligent marketing strategy and worked out wonderfully well.
In the era of PVN Rao, liberalization took shape which made urbanization more visible and glorified. Barjatya, being a visionary, visualized the future perfectly. HAHK was urbanized Nadiya Ke Paar(NKP). If NKP was set up in some village in eastern UP, HAHK was set up in a typical Barjatya city in India which has everything – from sea to desert, from snowy mountains to lush green planes. You name it and this city has it. It’s often called Sundergadh.
HAHK was all about Indian values and culture to an extent that it may be a carbon copy of video recording of your marriage. HAHK was a happy movie to an extent that if happydent was sponsoring it, you might have turned into half-blind by the time movie ended. It was a multi-starrer to such an extent that by the time all the characters were introduced, cinema hall staff was selling chai-samosa during intermission. It was a complete musical to such an extent that cumulative length of all the songs was more than an hour. Here, HAHK had set another trend. Few songs were added later in the movie to bring people to watch it again. It was done earlier also but strategy was to include additional songs/scenes in the prints released in cinema halls which were not there in video cassettes. HAHK did it a bit differently. However, I have never got to see those additional songs in HAHK although I saw it twice in cinema hall.
Only scene which can be counted as being close to vulgar was when Salman Khan catapults Madhuri’s butts with a flower. Every time he did it, entire hall did “ha-aaaa” in unison. And they didn’t do it to copy. It came straight from heart.
Only scene which came close to the definition of being erotic was when Salaman Khan lifts Madhuri Dixit and puts her on a pool table. Few years later, the same scene was copied in American Pie-1 in its climax. To make it look like original, American Pie’s makers just showed the pool table. Hopes of all those who made their contribution towards the salary of the painter who painted the board “Housefull” died as soon as Salman and Madhuri were separated because Renuka Sahane was to be taken to the hospital. “Couldn’t she hold on for a few minutes more” were the typical comments.
Renuka Sahane, who sometimes gave an impression in the movie that half her face was made of her teeth, smiled so much in the movie that she had to go for a jaw surgery after HAHK was complete. She didn’t get to speak a single dialogue in the movie. Not even the most coveted one for her “Main tumhare bacche ki maa banne wali hoon”. Her doctor did it for her.
Lot of villains were given character roles like Mohnish Behl, Anupam Kher, Ajit Bacchani. And they all hid their villainy perfectly apart from Alok Nath. Every time he looked at Reema Lagoo, mother of his daughter in law in the movie, his expressions were not different from Raj Babbar when he saw Padmini Kolhapuri in Insaaf ka Taraju. If I say tuffy, the dog in the movie, acted the best in the movie, it would be a stale joke. But what can I do? His acting was really the best in the movie.
Movie was such a big hit that Barjatya decided to carry on with the entire cast, with some more starry additions, in Hum Saath Saath Hain (HSSH), another trend setter in multiple ways. Unlike HAHK where introduction of characters was stretched till intermission, HSSH’s introduction was more planned. Barjatya simply put a song to introduce all the characters which went on till last 45 minutes of the movie. Anyhow, HSSH bombed at box office, at least as compared to HAHK. But any movie can look like that when compared with HAHK. However, with HAHK and HSSH Barjatya, realized his forte – marriage. So he made Vivaah. He continued his effort to showcase marriage in his next venture – Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi. May be he will name his next venture as Saare Vivaah Aise Hi Hote Hain.