One of the biggest hits of its time, at least in my hometown, Karan Arjun entertained me as a kid and it continues to do so even today. Stories of rebirth have been synonymous with Bollywood but some movies like this one has taken to the masses like nothing else. Sinister Villain, Gigantic star cast, terrific music, super action and the right bit of sentimental melodrama. What more can one ask for.
The story revolves around a powerful woman Durga(Rakhee) who has two sons in Karan(Salman Khan) and Arjun(Shahrukh Khan). Karan and Arjun are the true heir to the property of the Landlord of the village being his son but the evil Thakur(Amrish Puri) with the aide of his two brother-in-laws murders the Landlord and takes hold of his holdings. Just to make the matter full proof, he pursues and murders Karan and Arjun and thus leaving no heir to reclaim there assets. Distraught at the unspeakable atrocities done to her, Durga questions the Great Goddess Kali and affirms the fact that her sons will return. Most take her for a lunatic but fate has something else in store as Karan and Arjun are reborn in two different places one as a bare knuckle Boxer and the other as a Horse-Keeper. The rest of the story revolves around how they return to Durga and she extracts her revenge from the Thakur.
I still remember going with my elder brother to see this movie and paying Rs 150 for front stall tickets. It would be like paying Rs 1000/- in todays time. Such was the success of the movie and I would accept the fact that going by our standards it was worth it. The story revolves at a fast pace and is almost relentless. Baring the song and dance numbers which might be tedious for many, the movie moves on at a breakneck speed. The development of the characters is done properly and the performances are great. The story has enough meat for the cast to display their mantle. in some of the scenes the audience went berserk cheering, clapping and whistling. Those were the good old days and nothing can match up to watching a movie at those single screen theaters.
The performances were noteworthy. Salman Khan was making his transformation from a chocolate boy lover to a serious stoic faced action hero. He speaks very less and his mannerism and total neglect for the heroine who falls head over heels in love with him is amusing to watch. He shows off his body just like he does now and his action sequences generated huge cheers. SRK on the other hand played exactly the opposite of his charecter a lover-boy who is so much in love with his rich sweetheart that he goes all the way into the devil’s layer to rescue her from the devil himself, not knowing that he was actually fulfilling a calling of his fate. Rakhee is astute and Amrish Puri as the evil Thakur does what he does best.
The music was foot-tapping. two tracks worth mention here are “Jaati Hoon Main” and “Bhangda paale”…both became chart-busters of that time. Even “Yeh Bandhan To” was soothing to the ears. Direction Rakesh Roshan did a fabulous job, the rest of the work was fulfilled by the actors. This is one of the most endearing movies to me that I remember from my childhood. I just wish sometimes I could revisit that time and era and spend a few moments there……