Chandni (transl. Moonlight) is a 1989 Indian Hindi-language romantic musical directed and co-produced by Yash Chopra from a story written by Kamna Chandra with a screenplay by Umesh Kalbagh, Arun Kaul, and Sagar Sarhadi. The film stars Sridevi in the title role of Chandni Mathur, a young effervescent woman torn between two suitors played by Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor. Waheeda Rehman, Anupam Kher, Sushma Seth, Mita Vashisht, and Manohar Singh feature in supporting roles.[2]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byYash Chopra
Written byStory:
Kamna Chandra
Sagar Sarhadi
Screenplay byUmesh Kalbagh
Arun Kaul
Sagar Sarhadi
Produced byYash Chopra
T. Subbarami Reddy
Rishi Kapoor
Vinod Khanna
Waheeda Rehman
CinematographyManmohan Singh
Edited byKeshav Naidu
Music byShiv-Hari
Release date
  • 14 September 1989 (1989-09-14)
Running time
179 minutes
Box office27.2 crore (equivalent to 291 crore or US$36 million in 2023)[1]

The eighties marked a professional setback in Chopra's career, After a series of failed action films, 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 picturized in foreign locations. The film marked the first collaboration between Chopra and Sridevi; they would collaborate again for the path-breaking Lamhe (1991).

Chandni was theatrically released on 14 September 1989 by Yash Raj Films. The film emerged as a widespread critical and commercial success, ranking as the third highest-grossing Hindi film of the year, with its soundtrack emerging as the best-selling album of the year as well as the decade, with more than 10 million copies sold. The massive 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 Chopra's finest films.[2][3][4]

At the 37th National Film Awards, Chandni won Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. At the 35th Filmfare Awards, the film received 10 nominations, including Best Film, Best Director (Chopra), Best Actress (Sridevi), Best Actor (Kapoor), Best Supporting Actor (Khanna) and Best Supporting Actress (Rehman), and won Best Cinematography.

Plot edit

Chandni Mathur, a middle-class naïve girl, travels to Delhi with her parents to attend her cousin's wedding. There she meets Rohit Gupta, her cousin's friend. Rohit instantly falls in love with the beautiful Chandni and starts courting her. After his continuous attempts, Chandni accepts him and they eventually get engaged, though Gupta's family dislikes Chandni due to difference in their social status. One day, Rohit calls Chandni and asks her to come on the roof of her home where he is waiting for her in a helicopter to shower rose petals on her. While doing that, his helicopter crashes, paralyzing his right side. The Guptas blame Chandni for the mishap and mistreat her. Thinking he cannot be a good husband, Rohit lets Chandni go. Heartbroken, she leaves Delhi and travels to Mumbai and finds work at a travel agency. Lalit Khanna, the head of the travel agency, and a widower, falls for Chandni and asks her to marry him, and she accepts the proposal hesitantly.

Two years later, after much contemplation, Chandni agrees to marry Lalit and meets his mom Lata, who likes her instantly. Lalit visits Switzerland on a business trip and runs into Rohit, who is still undergoing treatment from professional therapists and physicians for his paralysis.

Recovered, he befriends Lalit and they share their respective love-stories, unaware they both love the same girl, Chandni. Back to India, Rohit visits Lalit's house to meet him. Chandni opens the door; she and Rohit are surprised to see each other. Rohit reveals he is no longer paralyzed. They get keyed up with tears, and he seizes this chance to propose to her.

However, Chandni tells Rohit that she is engaged to marry Lalit. She also reminds him what the Guptas did to her. He leaves regretfully. Lalit invites Rohit to his wedding as they became friends. Rohit and Chandni pretend as strangers. On the wedding day, he mumbles and stumbles down a flight of stairs in a drunken stupor. Out of panic Chandni runs towards him, hugs him and starts crying. Upon seeing this, Lalit realizes Chandni loves Rohit. In the hospital, Rohit regains consciousness. Lalit sacrifices his love for Chandni, and she marries Rohit after. Lalit and Lata share a brief sad moment upon seeing Chandni and Rohit leave.

Cast edit

Production edit

Speaking about the film with Karan Johar, Yash Chopra recalled when he was making Vijay (1988), an action film, he felt like he was not supposed to make films like this. Later he met with writer Kamna Chandra, who had achieved popularity after having written Raj Kapoor's Prem Rog (1982). She presented the story of a social romantic musical film to Chopra who liked it and started casting the stars. However, at the launch party, Chopra had a change of heart and decided to change the second half of the script, wherein originally Chandni was supposed to marry Lalit and have a son.

Initially, Rekha was approached to play the titular role; however, upon her refusal, Chopra offered the role to Sridevi who accepted the offer.[5][6]

With casting of Vinod Khanna, distributors started demanding an action sequence in the film to which Chopra refused. Originally, the script required Khanna saving Sridevi from a fire incident. However, upon watching the completed film, Chopra felt that it did not feel like a part of the film, so he called Sridevi and Khanna back for a day's shoot to re-film their first meeting sequence.

Music edit

The soundtrack 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 film Lamhe (1991), 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.[7] It is believed that the soundtrack helped bring back the romantic musical genre, along with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) and Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), with its songs and lyrics receiving major critical acclaim.[7][8] According to Yash Raj Films, the soundtrack went 4× Platinum by the day of the premiere.[7] By the 25th week, it went 25× Platinum, a new standard in the music industry.[citation needed]

1."Mere Haathon Mein"Lata Mangeshkar05:34
2."Mehbooba"Lata Mangeshkar, Vinod Rathod04:53
3."Main Sasural Nahi Jaaungi"Pamela Chopra04:06
4."Mitwa (Tere Mere Honton Pe)"Lata Mangeshkar, Babla Mehta04:31
5."Aa Meri Jaan"Lata Mangeshkar04:21
6."Dance Music"Instrumental03:16
7."Chandni O Meri Chandni"Sridevi, Jolly Mukherjee04:32
8."Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"Suresh Wadkar, Anupama Deshpande03:25
9."Parbat Se Kaali"Asha Bhosle, Vinod Rathod04:22
10."Tu Mujhe Suna"Nitin Mukesh, Suresh Wadkar04:30
11."Mere Haathon Mein"Instrumental05:47
Total length:49:17

Legacy edit

Chandni received widespread critical acclaim upon its release, with many 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. The film emerged as the third highest-grossing Hindi film of the year.[9] The Hindu stated that "the film opened to full houses and distributors had to drastically increase the number of theatres".[10] It was cited by Times of India as "one of the most-watched films of Indian Cinema."[11] 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."

Chandni consolidated Sridevi's position as the top female star of the era.[12] Describing Sridevi's performance in the film, 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."[13] The scene where she confronts Rishi Kapoor was ranked by Rediff as one of the "10 Best Scenes from Yash Chopra Films."[14] While Sridevi topped the Hindustan Times' list of Yash Chopra's "Top 5 Heroines",[15] CNN-IBN ranked her #1 on its list of 'Yash Chopra's 10 Most Sensuous Heroines', saying that "Yash Chopra immortalized Sridevi as the perfect Chandni."[16] 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'.[17] CNN-IBN listed it among 'The Cult Characters Yash Chopra Created',[18] 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."[19]

Costume design in the film was done by Bhanu Athaiya and Leena Daru.[5][20] Sridevi's iconic 'Chandni Look' revolutionized fashion in North India[21] and became synonymous with the actress,[22] with Rediff stating "A luminous Sridevi slips into every possible design in white for a major chunk of the romance and no one complains."[23] Speaking about the look, 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."[24] 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",[25] 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."[26] BizAsia described the effect of the look saying "Chopra never quite got over his Sridevi hangover and almost always chose to present his future lead heroines in similar outfits (Juhi Chawla in Darr (1993), Madhuri Dixit in Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Preity Zinta in Veer-Zaara (2004)), but none of them became half as iconic as Sridevi did after Chandni."[27] 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."[28] Sridevi's chiffon sarees became equally popular with Indian Express writing "This film made the chiffon sari a must-have in every Indian woman's wardrobe."[29]

The music of Chandni became a multi-platinum success,[21] with Sridevi's famous dance number "Mere Haathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan Hai" finding a place in Rediff's chart of 'Bollywood's Top 25 Wedding Songs'.[30] Sridevi also lent her voice to the film's popular title-track "Chandni O Meri Chandni"[31] which featured among the 'Top 5 Songs of Yash Chopra' by Hindustan Times.[15] 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."[32]

Awards and nominations edit

37th National Film Awards:[33]
35th Filmfare Awards:[34]


References edit

  1. ^ "Box Office 1989". Box Office India. 15 January 2013. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b Yahoo. "Best of Yash Chopra".
  3. ^ Rediff. "The Very Best of Yash Chopra".
  4. ^ TOI. "Top 10 Yash Chopra Films". The Times of India.
  5. ^ a b "Revisiting Chandni that established Sridevi's mystery and myth". The Indian Express. 13 August 2021. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  6. ^ "Sridevi And Rekha For Chandni | শ্রীদেবী চাঁদনির রোলে পা গলান রেখার জুতোয়! ছবির অফার ফিরিয়ে দিয়েছিলেন মাধুরী". 14 September 2021. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  7. ^ a b c "India Today". India Today. 15 (1). Thomson Living Media India Limited: 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.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Worth Their Weight In Gold! (80s)". Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  10. ^ The Hindu. "Yash, he can!". Chennai, India.
  11. ^ Times of India (23 October 2012). "Top 10 Yash Chopra Films". The Times Of India.
  12. ^ Hindustan Times (23 October 2012). "Yash Chopra's greatest hits".
  13. ^ Indiatimes. "Most Iconic Names in Yash Chopra Films!". The Times Of India.
  14. ^ Rediff. "The Ten Best Film Scenes from Yash Chopra".
  15. ^ a b Hindustan Times (22 October 2012). "Top 50: Glorious moments from Yash Chopra's oeuvre".
  16. ^ "Yash Chopra's 10 Most Sensuous Heroines". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012.
  17. ^ India Today. "Yash Chopra's iconic characters".
  18. ^ "The cult characters Yash Chopra created". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012.
  19. ^ NDTV. "Vijay, Chandni: Yash Chopra's greatest creations". Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  20. ^ Anita Gates (22 April 2021). "Overlooked No More: Bhanu Athaiya, Who Won India Its First Oscar". New York Times.
  21. ^ a b iDiva. "Sridevi - The Dancing Queen". Archived from the original on 24 February 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  22. ^ Mid Day. "C for Chopra, C for chiffon".
  23. ^ Rediff. "Yash Chopra's visions in white".
  24. ^ "Yash Chopra: "I see movies today, and I realize that love has changed"". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  25. ^ The Tribune. "Sunday Reading".
  26. ^ Mid Day. "Tinseltown Trendsetters".
  27. ^ bizAsia. "Yash Chopra classic flashback: 'Chandni' (1989)". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  28. ^ Rediff. "Your Favourite Sridevi Avatar Onscreen?".
  29. ^ Indian Express. "Yash Chopra: Timeline".
  30. ^ Rediff. "Bollywood's Top 25 Wedding Songs".
  31. ^ Shastri, Samyukta (25 February 2013). "Any Body Can Sing! Bollywood Comes A Full Circle". Business of Cinema.
  32. ^ "I Felt Yashji Was Immortal: SRIDEVI". Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  33. ^ "National-film-awards-1990". Archived from the original on 12 October 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  34. ^ Filmfareawards Archived 8 July 2012 at

External links edit