In the final week of our Yash Chopra classic flashbacks, we look at this evergreen gem which triggered off a trend of love triangles during a time when senseless action films ruled the roost.
Believe it or not, Yash Raj Films partly owes its success to this Rishi Kapoor-Vinod Khanna-Sridevi starrer. ‘Chandni’ (1989) came at a time when Kapoor’s career was on the decline, and Chopra hadn’t had a commercial success in a while – both ‘Faasle’ (1985) and ‘Vijay’ (1988) had bitten the dust at the turnstiles and he needed a hit desperately to keep his name afloat.
Essentially a love triangle, ‘Chandni’ recounts the story of a woman, Chandni, (Sridevi) torn between the two men in her life played by Khanna and Kapoor (Rohit and Lalit respectively).
Rohit meets Chandni at a wedding and relentlessly pursues her into marrying him. The couple share some happy moments until a freak accident leaves Rohit paralysed, and subsequently Rohit’s family blame Chandni for Rohit’s disability. Rohit leaves Chandni, who moves on and decides to re-build her life by working at a travel agency. Here she meets Lalit a widower mourning the death of his wife Devika (Juhi Chawla in an extended cameo). Expectedly, Lalit falls for Chandni’s disarming beauty and asks her to marry him, at which point Chandni’s past catches up with her and Rohit tries to win her back, leaving Chandni to choose between the love of her life and the man with a heart of gold.
Sridevi’s costumes from the film are still a rage, and it is said that Chopra never quite got over his Sridevi hangover and almost always chose to present his lead heroines in similar outfits (Juhi Chawla in ‘Darr’ (1993), Madhuri Dixit in ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ (1997)), but none of them became half as iconic as Sridevi did after ‘Chandni’. The film was also responsible for making Switzerland a top tourist destination, and the film’s lilting melodies (particularly Mitwa and Mere Haathon Mein Nau Chudiya) are played at weddings and festivals even today. Chopra’s attempts at making Sridevi sing (Chandni O Meri Chandni was sung by the diva herself), however, were not as successful.
Being the first of a series of Chopra triangles, ‘Chandni’ still remains up there and is the best of the lot. With several awards to its credit, and a top lead actress in an author backed role (a first for a time when heroines were presented as mainly arm candy), this film is one of the many that the legendary filmmaker will always be remembered for.
Check out previous Yash Chopra classic flashbacks: