21 January 2006 | sgoswami
Sensationalist drama. Not much substance.
1942: A Love Story, stays unfaithful to its name. Its neither a love story, nor does it contain the factual underpinnings surrounding the events of 1942. But I digress. If those were the only two shortcomings (albeit major) of the movie, it would be bearable. Reality, however, sets in. After watching this sensationalist and inane film, I must confess: I've had more fun watching grass grow on my lawn. And my lawn is dead.
The film attempts to draw you in to its hero, Narendra Singh (played by Anil Kapoor), the son of a wealthy lord of the era, Diwan Hari Singh, who also happens to be an obtuse sycophant of the British Raj. True to fashion of Hindi cinema, there is (predictably) the anti-Raj, aka the freedom fighters. The daughter of one of these fighters, Rajeshwari (played by Manisha Koirala), catches the eye of Narendra, and he is smitten by her beauty. He immediately falls in love and begins his pursuit of her. Mind you, all of this happens in the first five minutes, and it only deteriorates from there.
The hero's propensity to bring calamities to those around him is befuddling (I affectionately started calling him Forrest Gump). In an attempt to portray the yearning and desire he has for his love, the film misses connecting with the audience. Instead, it portrays him as a bumbling idiot who, in a blind frenzied search for a girl he has met for only five minutes, has no hesitation in breaking promises (he states that he will not reveal the identity of the freedom fighters, yet immediately afterwords reveals their identities to his mother) and wreaking havoc (numerous times he foolishly pursues Narendra, only to further expose her identity) on those around him.
Furthermore, much like the hero, the other characters in the film lack dimension and also fail to connect with the audience. In a desperate attempt to draw the film together and make some coherent sense of the madness, sensationalism is thrown into the mixture. And not just any sensationalism, but "Jai Hind" at that. What better way to prey on the emotions of a stupefied audience than to bring in a revered chant of the freedom fighters of the era. The sum of its tattered pieces do not add up to a congruous and solid movie. The plot line is unbelievably predictable, and the acting sub par, sans for Manisha Koirala, who churns out a half-decent tear during the final scene. Sadly, the audience won't shed a drop when this waste of celluloid hits the can. In reality, this movie is more akin to the tripe you find at the butcher's block in Albertsons.
So, should you watch this film? If for some reason there is an extra three hours in your life that is expendable, by all means, go for it. But if you're looking for a movie that has coherency and can grip its audience, you'd be better off looking out your window and at the lawn.