17 August 2009 | Peter_Young
"The Temple of Love" - very melodramatic yet moving family drama!
Many films in the Hindi film industry have been made about and centred around happy families who lose their happiness. So many that there could be a genre of its own called "The 'happy-family-destroyed' drama". Pyar Ka Mandir is a relatively good movie in this category because the values in this family are very strong, and unsurprisingly, the children are those who ruin this happiness. It's a very wide disease in our world: when parents are no longer needed, the children reveal their true characters. But not Mithun Chakraborty's Vijay, who has such an unconditional love for his siblings and his beloved mother that he sacrifices his own happiness for his family and gets jailed. When he comes back, he finds out that his house, "The Temple of Love", no longer exists. When he meets his brothers, he is shocked at their attitude towards him and does not manage to meet his mom, who is absent. Then the story of his struggle begins and takes more shape.
The film, though generally well narrated, suffers from a very overdone, unrealistic and melodramatic portrayal and very often the development of the story is marred by several unnecessary subplots and many ridiculous jokes with Kader Khan's role of an idiotic and forgetful doctor. Nevertheless, Laxmikant-Pyarelal compose a lovely soundtrack and Kader Khan's dialogues are not bad though a bit over-the-top. Mithun gives a sincere performance. His transformation from a happy-go-lucky guy to a serious and sad man is believable. Nirupa Ray is outstanding as the initially strict and then suffering mother. Madhavi is beautiful though a little too angry as the headstrong and unconditionally loving Radha. Other cast members are good but don't make as much an impact so I won't mention them. There are two consecutive scenes which moved me: the one when Vijay finally meets his mother and finds her in indescribable conditions, and the following scene when Vijay reproaches his ungrateful brothers. Pyar Ka Mandir is not a fantastic film, but it's definitely moving and well-intentioned.