Chandni (transl. Moonlight) is a 1989 Indian romantic musical film directed and co-produced by Yash Chopra with a screenplay written by Kamna Chandra. It stars Sridevi in the titular role. It also features Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna and Waheeda Rehman. The film follows, Chandni Mathur, a young effervescent woman torn between two suitors.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Yash Chopra|
|Produced by||Yash Chopra|
T. Subbarami Reddy
|Written by||Kamna Chandra|
|Edited by||Keshav Naidu|
The eighties marked a professional setback in Chopra's career, as several films he directed and produced in that period were critical and commercial failures. After a series of failed action movies, Chopra decided to return to his roots and make a romantic musical, a film with all the hallmarks of what has come to be known as the "Yash Chopra style" - heroine-oriented, romantic, emotional, depicting the lifestyle of the super elite, with melodic music used in songs picturised in foreign locations. The film marked the first collaboration between Chopra and Sridevi.
Chandni released to widespread success, grossing ₹27.02 crores, becoming the third highest-grossing Indian film of 1989, whereas its soundtrack became the best selling album of the year as well as the decade with more than 10 million copies sold. The huge success of the film and its soundtrack were instrumental in ending the era of violent action films in Indian Cinema and rejuvenating the romantic musical genre. The success of film further reinforced Sridevi's position as the top female star of the era. Over the years, Chandni is hailed as one of the greatest Indian films of all time and one of Chopra's finest movies.
Rohit Gupta attends his sister's wedding and meets the beautiful Chandni Mathur. He falls in love with her at first sight. She agrees to date him, and they eventually get engaged, though his family dislikes Chandni due to the vast difference in their social status.
While wanting to surprise Chandni with a special thing one day, Rohit asks her to wait for him on a terrace. Then the afternoon's silence is broken by the roaring blades of a helicopter, from which a smiling Rohit appears to shower Chandni with red rose petals.
Post five minutes of the delight, Rohit disappears and Chandni is surrounded by silence. After reaching inside her home, she is informed by Rohit's family that he has been hospitalised. Chandni immediately reaches the hospital ICU unit where Rohit is admitted.
Rohit's family greets Chandni with stony expressions and accuses her of being responsible for his accident, learning he is paralyzed on his right side. Rohit realises that he would be unable to fulfill a good husband's role and decides to let Chandni go.
Heartbroken, Chandni moves to Bombay. She now starts working for a travel agency, whose head is the handsome and charming Lalit Khanna, a widower. Slowly, he develops feelings for Chandni and convinces her to marry him, but she is hesitant at first.
Two years later, Chandni finally agrees to marry Lalit and meets his mother Lata, who is glad to have Chandni as her daughter-in-law. On a trip to Switzerland, Lalit meets Rohit who is receiving treatment from professional therapists and physicians.
Able to stand now, Rohit eventually becomes friends with Lalit and they share their love-stories, unaware that they love the same woman. Returning to India, Rohit shows up one evening to meet Lalit. Chandni opens the door and they're delighted to see each other.
To Chandni's amazement, Rohit reveals he is now not in a wheelchair. They get keyed up with emotion and Rohit seizes this opportunity to propose to her. Chandni tells him that she has moved on and engaged to Lalit, much to Rohit's dismay.
Obviously and angered, Rohit is questioned by Chandni that what his family did to her. Regretfully, he leaves. Lalit invites Rohit to his wedding as they became friends. In all subsequent ceremonies, Rohit and Chandni pretend as strangers to spare Lalit.
On the wedding day, Rohit drinks a bit too much to drive away from the pain of losing Chandni. He mumbles and stumbles down a flight of stairs. Upon seeing this, Chandni cannot contain herself any longer and screams for him to be saved. She hugs him and starts crying.
Lalit realises that Chandni is Rohit's love. Rohit is rushed to the hospital. He regains his health and Chandni agrees to marry him as Lalit sacrifices his love. Lalit and Lata share a brief sad moment, as Rohit and Chandni get married and live happily ever after.
- Sridevi as Chandni Gupta (née Mathur)
- Rishi Kapoor as Rohit Gupta
- Vinod Khanna as Lalit Khanna
- Waheeda Rehman as Lata Khanna
- Sushma Seth as Armani Gupta
- Mita Vasisht as Kiran Chawla
- Anant Mahadevan as Brijbhan Chawla
- Achala Sachdev
- Beena Banerjee
- Manohar Singh as Nihaal Gupta
- Ram Gopal Bajaj as Shiv Prasad Mathur
- Lalit Tiwari
- Suhas Joshi
- Renu Arya
- Bharat Bhushan Bhalla as Dr. Aryamaan Das
- Anupam Kher as Ramesh Mehra
- Juhi Chawla as Devika Shastri
The music of Chandni was composed by Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia, known together as Shiv-Hari. The lyrics were provided by Anand Bakshi. In addition to the songs listed below, there was a recurring instrumental love melody, not part of a full song. That melody was further developed into the song "Kabhi Main Kahoon" for Chopra's next movie Lamhe, also scored by Shiv-Hari.
The film's soundtrack was a major success in India and sold more than 10 million copies, becoming the best selling soundtrack album of the year as well as the decade. It is believed that the soundtrack helped bring back the romantic musical genre, with its songs and lyrics all being critically acclaimed, along with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak the previous year and Maine Pyar Kiya the same year. According to Yash Raj Films, the soundtrack went 4x Platinum by the day of the premiere. By the 25th week, it went 25x Platinum, a new standard in the music industry.
|1.||"Mere Haathon Mein"||Lata Mangeshkar||05:34|
|2.||"Mehbooba"||Lata Mangeshkar, Vinod Rathod||04:53|
|3.||"Main Sasural Nahi Jaaungi"||Pamela Chopra||04:06|
|4.||"Mitwa (Tere Mere Honton Pe)"||Lata Mangeshkar, Babla Mehta||04:31|
|5.||"Aa Meri Jaan"||Lata Mangeshkar||04:21|
|7.||"Chandni O Meri Chandni"||Sridevi, Jolly Mukherjee||04:32|
|8.||"Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"||Suresh Wadkar, Anupama Deshpande||03:25|
|9.||"Parbat Se Kaali"||Asha Bhosle, Vinod Rathod||04:22|
|10.||"Tu Mujhe Suna"||Nitin Mukesh, Suresh Wadkar||04:30|
|11.||"Mere Haathon Mein"||Instrumental||05:47|
Reception & LegacyEdit
Chandni received highly positive reviews upon its release with critics highlighting the film's impact in being instrumental in bringing an end to an era of violent action movies in Indian cinema and rejuvenating the romantic musical genre. According to iDiva, Chandni was "more an event and less a movie. Even as its shooting rolled on the sets, the film was a constant subject of discussion in the press." Chandni emerged as one of the biggest blockbusters of 1989 with The Hindu stating that "the film opened to full houses and distributors had to drastically increase the number of theatres."' It was cited by Times of India as "one of the most watched films of Indian Cinema." Hindustan Times featured the movie in its list of 'Yash Chopra's Greatest Hits' saying "it was instrumental in ending the era of violence in Bollywood and bringing back the romance into Hindi films."
The film consolidated Sridevi's position as the top female star of the era. Describing Sridevi's performance in Chandni, Indiatimes wrote "True to her screen-name, she was an epitome of radiance, warmth and vivacity. She effortlessly introduced us to the powerful streaks, her classic, angelic character was laden with." The scene where she confronts Rishi Kapoor was ranked by Rediff as one of the "Ten Best Scenes from Yash Chopra Films." While Sridevi topped the Hindustan Times' list of Yash Chopra's "Top 5 Heroines," CNN-IBN ranked her no. 1 on its list of "Yash Chopra's 10 Most Sensuous Heroines," saying that "Yash Chopra immortalised Sridevi as the perfect Chandni." The titular character became one of the most famous characters of Hindi cinema with India Today including it in its list of 'Yash Chopra's Iconic Characters'. CNN-IBN listed it among 'The Cult Characters Yash Chopra Created' while NDTV featured it in its list of 'Yash Chopra's Greatest Creations' stating that the film established Sridevi "as the nation's sweetheart" and "reinforced her position as the reigning actress in Bollywood."
Sridevi's iconic 'Chandni Look' revolutionized fashion in North India and became synonymous with the actress, with Rediff stating "A luminous Sridevi slips into every possible design in white for a major chunk of the romance and no one complains." Speaking about the look, Yash Chopra told film critic Rajeev Masand "While making Chandni, I had a vision of who I wanted this girl to be. I told Sridevi that most of her costumes in the film would be in white." The Tribune wrote "Leena Daru scored a winner again when she created the 'Chandni Look' for Sridevi. Every street corner sold the salwar-kameez and dupatta that gave the heroine a refreshingly understated look, rarely seen on the Indian screen." while Mid Day reported "Leena Daru dressed Bollywood's beauties for several years. But it was her simple white churidar and kurta with the leheriya dupatta for Sridevi in Chandni that gave the Southern belle an angelic image and caused the Chandni Chowk stores to hit the jackpot with thousands of copies." BizAsia described the effect of the look saying "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 'Chandni Look' was also highlighted in the film's famous Tandav dance sequence by Sridevi, where Rediff said "the actress transformed into a mythical goddess in a white number." Sridevi's chiffon sarees became equally popular with Indian Express writing "This movie made the chiffon sari a must-have in every Indian woman's wardrobe."
The music of Chandni became a multi-platinum success with Sridevi's famous dance number "Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan Hain" finding a place in Rediff's chart of 'Bollywood's Top 25 Wedding Songs.' Sridevi also lent her voice to the film's popular title-track 'Chandni O Meri Chandni' which featured among the 'Top 5 Songs' of Yash Chopra by Hindustan Times. Talking about her role in Chandni, Sridevi said it was "a lively and vibrant girl in the first half (who) becomes quiet and goes into a shell in the second half. I loved that transformation and when you have a director like Yash Chopra at the helm, you can be sure that he will make the best out of everything."
- Best Film - Yash Chopra & T. Subbarami Reddy
- Best Director - Yash Chopra
- Best Actress - Sridevi
- Best Actor - Rishi Kapoor
- Best Supporting Actor - Vinod Khanna
- Best Supporting Actress - Waheeda Rehman
- Best Music - Shiv-Hari
- Best Lyrics - Anand Bakshi - "Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"
- Best Male Playback - Suresh Wadkar - "Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"
- Yahoo. "Best of Yash Chopra".
- Rediff. "The Very Best of Yash Chopra".
- TOI. "Top 10 Yash Chopra Films".
- "India Today". India Today. Thomson Living Media India Limited. 15 (1): 103. 1990.
Yash Chopra's homage to good old-fashioned romance, is making it to the top. There are no fights, no villains, no politicians: "Nobody even shouts." says Chopra. Yet, the film is such a hit that many mini Chandnis are in the pipeline. Chopra sees the return of melody to Hindi film music as one of the reasons for his success: four platinum discs were sold by the time the film was released. But the diehard romanticist believes that a love story well told will neverfail at the box-office. He might be right. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak at the end of the decade and Ek Duje Ke Liye, Love Story, Ram Teh Ganga Maili and Betaab certainly had the audience spellbound.
- "India Today". India Today. Living Media: 342. 1994.
Then, in 1988 Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, and later Maine Pyar Kiya and Chandni heralded the return of melody to Indian cinema.
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- Times of India (23 October 2012). "Top 10 Yash Chopra Films". The Times Of India.
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- Rediff. "The Ten Best Film Scenes from Yash Chopra".
- Hindustan Times. "Top 50: Glorious moments from Yash Chopra's oeuvre".
- "Yash Chopra's 10 Most Sensuous Heroines". CNN-IBN.
- India Today. "Yash Chopra's iconic characters".
- "The cult characters Yash Chopra created". CNN-IBN.
- NDTV. "Vijay, Chandni: Yash Chopra's greatest creations".
- Mid Day. "C for Chopra, C for chiffon".
- Rediff. "Yash Chopra's visions in white".
- RajeevMasand.com. "Yash Chopra: "I see movies today, and I realize that love has changed"".
- The Tribune. "Sunday Reading".
- Mid Day. "Tinseltown Trendsetters".
- bizAsia. "Yash Chopra classic flashback: 'Chandni' (1989)". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
- Rediff. "Your Favourite Sridevi Avatar Onscreen?".
- Indian Express. "Yash Chopra: Timeline".
- Rediff. "Bollywood's Top 25 Wedding Songs".
- BusinessofCinema. "Anybody Can Sing!".
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- Filmfareawards Archived 8 July 2012 at Archive.today