Lamhe (lit. Moments) is a 1991 Indian romantic drama film directed by Yash Chopra and written by Honey Irani, with Rahi Masoom Raza. The film stars Sridevi and Anil Kapoor in the lead roles, along with Waheeda Rehman, Anupam Kher and Manohar Singh, featured in supporting roles. In the film, Viren falls in love with Pallavi, but she marries Siddharth. The married couple die in a tragic car accident, leaving behind their one and only daughter – who grows up to resemble her mother, she meets Viren and falls in love with him.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Yash Chopra|
|Produced by||Yash Chopra|
T. Subbarami Reddy
|Written by||Honey Irani|
Rahi Masoom Raza
|Distributed by||Yash Raj Films|
|22 November 1991|
|Budget||₹6 crore (equivalent to ₹39 crore or US$5.6 million in 2018)|
|Box office||₹20.5 crore (equivalent to ₹132 crore or US$19 million in 2018)|
Produced by Chopra under his production banner Yash Raj Films, Lamhe was shot in two schedules in Rajasthan and London. Over the years, it has been hailed as a classic and possibly Chopra's finest film. Upon its release, the film was highly acclaimed and is considered as one of the greatest Indian films of all time. Although the film underperformed domestically, it became an enormous success overseas, bringing in a worldwide gross of ₹ 20.5 crores on a ₹ 6 crores budget; thus becoming the 10th highest grossing Indian film of 1991. It received numerous accolades and features in Outlook's list of Bollywood's Best Films. It has been cited as Yash Chopra's personal favourite of the movies he has done. This was one of the last films that Masoom Raza scripted. He died a couple of months after its release. On the occasion of the Centenary of Indian Cinema in 2013, Lamhe featured among the Top Ten Romantic Movies Of 100 Years.
At the 39th National Film Awards, the film won Best Costume Design. At the 37th Filmfare Awards, the film received a leading thirteen nominations and won the highest five: Best Film, Best Actress (Sridevi), Best Comic Actor (Kher), Best Story and Best Dialogue.
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Virendra "Viren" Pratap Singh (Anil Kapoor) travels to Rajasthan with his governess, affectionately called Daijaan (Waheeda Rehman). Viren spends most of his youth in Rajasthan, where he meets the beautiful Pallavi (Sridevi) and falls in love with her. Pallavi was the daughter of a businessman who had helped his father out when his business had gone down. He is unable to fully express his love for her and remains her friend. Throughout this relationship, Pallavi keeps telling Viren that she is older than him, but this never bothers or deters Viren from wooing her. Daijaan (Viren's trusted governess) sadly watches Viren's disappointments, but can not do anything to help him.
During a property dispute and a major civil court case, and all the stress that apparently comes from it, Pallavi's father (a respected dignitary and elder) dies of a major heart attack. Pallavi is shocked and so shattered that she goes into major depression and isolates herself in a nearby secluded town. At this sad event, Viren as a good friend goes there to console her, on which she runs past him — towards Siddharth, the man she truly loves and is romantically involved with.
At this twist of fate, Viren is heartbroken and sad, but in respect of Pallavi's father's (an elder in the community) dying wish, he attends the wedding of Siddharth and Pallavi. Unable to hold his disappointment much longer, Viren decides to migrate far away and moves to settle permanently in London.
After about one year and a half into the happy marriage, Siddharth and Pallavi are both involved in a fatal car crash. Luckily, her baby girl (Pooja) survives this car accident and is placed in the care of Daijaan (who was also Viren's governess).
In London, Viren spends time with his childhood friend, Prem (Anupam Kher), who is well-aware that Viren's heart still pines for Pallavi. Over the course of time, and with much persuasion, Viren slowly hops back into reality and makes new friends, including a girlfriend and business partner – Anita (Dippy Sagoo), who eventually falls in love with him; she finds out about Viren's love for Pallavi from his childhood friend Prem, and thus constantly feels envious and tries to gain his attention.
Viren visits Rajasthan once every year for Pallavi's death anniversary, and to buy gifts for the young Pooja and also to say hello to his governess, Daijaan. He never spends time with Pooja because she reminds him too much of Pallavi, which makes Pooja very sad.
A few years later, Viren returns from London and meets the grown-up Pooja for the first time. He is super-shocked to see that she not only looks exactly like her mother but laughs, talks and cries like her too! Everything about her reminds him of his long-lost sweetheart- Pallavi.
After another two to three years, Daijaan brings a grown-up Pooja to visit London for vacation and enjoy to see the big wide world outside Rajasthan, India. She meets with Anita in Viren's house, and Anita soon discovers the reason why Viren can't forget Pallavi at all even if he tried – is because Pooja is the spitting – image of Pallavi! This upsets Anita as she is afraid that Viren will eventually fall for Pooja and hence, ultimately desert her... so Anita becomes more perplexed and anxious.
On the other hand, Pooja is completely unaware of her striking resemblance to her own mother and why it would bother anyone so much. Pooja continues to develop feelings for Viren, whom she lovingly calls "Kunwarji". Prem also admires Pooja's bubbly and amiable personality and understands how much Pooja is attached to Viren. Although Prem likes the alliance, he is skeptical since Viren is still living in the past.
Later on, Anita realizes that Viren is over Pallavi and has fallen for Pooja now. Anita's worst fears come true, so she confronts Pooja about her feelings for Viren and tells her that she is a responsibility for Viren and nothing else. She tries to explain to Pooja that she is a kid infatuated by Viren and asks what relation Pooja is to Viren that she always acts authoritatively over him. Pooja retorts by saying that if she is not related to Viren, Anita is not related to him either. This frustrates Anita leading her to lambast Viren about having feelings for a woman who is around fifteen-twenty years younger than himself!
In Viren's house, Pooja explores his room while he is away on a short trip and finds a pencil sketch (which Viren had made years earlier of his beloved Pallavi, her mother) and misunderstands that it is a sketch of hers. She dresses in traditional clothes and when he comes home, she points at the pencil sketch and asks him to please put "sindoor" on her since she knows that he loves her. Furious, he reveals to her that he had loved her mother and not her. At this outburst of truth, Pooja is extremely heartbroken, in tears and runs to her governess Daijaan for solace. Daijaan comforts her and relates to her the whole entire tragic story of how Viren grew up with her mother as his childhood chum, and so on and so forth till now. Pooja begins to understand why Anita was being so possessive about Viren earlier. Now, Pooja feels too humiliated to stay in London any longer, so she asks Daijaan to accompany her back to India.
In India, Daijaan and the community members, relatives etc. start looking for a good potential suitor for the now beautiful and grown-up Pooja. As soon as suitors start flooding in, Pooja mentions that she would be happy to marry only when Viren is first married before her!
Back in London, Viren is confused and in an emotional frenzy. His friend Prem advises him to marry Pooja, but Viren thinks that not right or fair to Anita as he feels she has been waiting for him for a very long time. He orders wedding cards to be printed, but then changes his mind last minute when the wedding day draws near, (much to Anita's dismay).
One fine day, when Viren talks to Pooja over the phone, he asks her if she is married by now. she lies to Viren that she is already married. Viren knows that Pooja is lying (as he asks Daijaan and everybody else) and next time when Pooja asks him if he is married, he lies to her as well. To prove it, Viren sends Daaijaan and Pooja the fake marriage invitations that had been printed already to make Pooja believe that he is truly getting married.
Anyway, on receiving the wedding cards, Pooja and Daijaan never bother to visit London and attend the wedding as they become very busy with their lives and after many years of living apart and losing touch, Pooja could not bring herself to face Viren again. Therefore, we see a heartbroken Pooja who begins (or tries to begin) her own independent life as a story-teller in the villages, narrating folk tales using puppets to an audience in a village shows, under the caring guidance of her governess.
However strange this may sound, Viren could not forget the beautiful daughter of his beloved Pallavi, Pooja. He deserts Anita in London and travels to Rajasthan, India where he finds out the whereabouts of Pooja and Daijaan. He finds out that Pooja will be performing in one upcoming show in a particular village of her choice. After the show, Viren approaches a confused and wary Pooja.
Viren reveals that he realized, after she left London, that he still loved her and he knew that she had lied to him about being married. He tells her that he also lied to her in response to her lie about "being married and busy".
Pooja cannot believe her ears! She runs into his arms and they are together at last and forever. Even though she is much younger to him, their relationship becomes special as she resembles her mother in many different ways and for Viren, it was like drinking water and quenching his thirst in a dry hot desert.
- Sridevi as Pallavi and Pooja; in a double role (as both mother and daughter)
- Anil Kapoor as Virendra Pratap Singh (a.k.a. Viren/Kunwarji)
- Waheeda Rehman as Daijaan
- Anupam Kher as Prem
- Dippy Sagoo as Anita Malhotra
- Manohar Singh as Kothiwale Thakur (Pallavi's father)
- Lalit Tiwari as Sudheshwar Narayan Tiwari
- Deepak Malhotra as Siddharth Bhatnagar
- Ila Arun as Folk dancer in the song "Chudiyan Khanak Gayee"
- Richa Pallod as Young Pooja
- Vikas Anand as Doctor Vikas
The music was composed by Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia (known together as Shiv-Hari) and the lyrics were provided by Anand Bakshi. The song "Kabhi Main Kahoon" was made from a melody used as background music in Yash Chopra's previous movie Chandni, also scored by Shiv-Hari. In the famous parody sequence, Waheeda Rehman danced to "Aaj Phir Jeene ki Tamanna Hai" – the superhit number from her classic Guide.
The songs included on the official soundtrack are listed here:
|"Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal"||Hariharan|
|"Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal" (Sad Version)||Hariharan|
|"Mhaare Rajasthan Ma"||Mohinuddin|
|"Mohe Chhedo Naa"||Lata Mangeshkar|
|"Chudiyan Khanak Gayee" (contains excerpt of 'Mhaare Rajasthan Ma' in the introduction)||Lata Mangeshkar, Moinuddin and Ila Arun|
|"Chudiyan Khanak Gayee" (Sad Version)||Lata Mangeshkar|
|"Kabhi Main Kahoon"||Lata Mangeshkar and Hariharan|
|"Megha Re Megha"||Lata Mangeshkar and Ila Arun|
|"Yaad Nahin Bhool Gaya"||Lata Mangeshkar and Suresh Wadkar|
|"Gudiya Rani"||Lata Mangeshkar|
|"Meri Bindiya"||Lata Mangeshkar|
|"Freak Out" (Parody Song)||Pamela Chopra and Sudesh Bhosle|
|"Moments of Rage" (Instrumental)||Instrumental|
|"Moments of Passion" (Instrumental)||Instrumental|
Reception, Analysis and legacyEdit
Lamhe was widely acclaimed by film critics and is considered as one of the greatest Indian films of all time. It is one of the few films that picked up the Filmfare Award for Best Movie despite its lackluster business. Lamhe is also one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market and video circuit. Sridevi received widespread critical acclaim for her double-role as mother and daughter, winning the Filmfare Award for Best Actress among others. It finds a place in the Times Movie Guide's Top 100 Indian films. It is in the Outlook magazine's list of All-Time Great Indian films. It has been cited as Yash Chopra's personal favorite among his films. Times of India included it in its list of Top 10 Films of Yash Chopra describing it as "a tale of love transcending the boundaries of time and space" while Rediff called it "Quite easily one of his most definitive films, Chopra surpassed his own findings of romance with the insightful, lovely Lamhe". Hrithik Sharma from El Viaje Reviews says "The cinematography is a treat to eyes. Editing is crisp but with nearly 3 hours of run-time, it requires patience to watch the whole film. Only Yash Chopra could create this bold and unheard story in a way, that otherwise would have not been received well."
Sridevi played both mother and daughter cast in what iDiva described as "another double role but it was unlike any played before". Hailed by Rediff as "one of the most remarkable films of her career... often considered a film way ahead of its time", Her performance brought her much acclaim with BizAsia stating that "Her rendition of both Pallavi and Pooja serves well in highlighting how versatile she is as an actress, playing contrasting characters in the same movie". Speaking to Karan Johar about the 'Making of Lamhe', Yash Chopra revealed "When 90% of the London schedule was over, tragedy happened. Sridevi's father died... She came back after 16 days and had to shoot a comedy scene... At that moment she forgot everything and gave a wonderful scene. I understood that is the secret of her success... Why she is what she is". Sridevi's folk dance number 'Morni Baga Ma' became a rage and was placed among the 'Top 5 Songs' of Yash Chopra by Hindustan Times.
Over the years Lamhe has become a cult classic. Critic Rachel Dwyer wrote in her biography of the film-maker "Yash Chopra's own favourite film, Lamhe ('Moments', 1991), divided the audience on a class basis: it was hugely popular with metropolitan elites and the overseas market, which allowed it to break even, but it had a poor box-office response (largely lower class, especially the repeat audience) because of its supposed incest theme". The Hindu reported that "With shades of incest, Lamhe caused more than a flutter and remained the talk of the town" while Sridevi herself admitted in an interview with Rajeev Masand that she found the subject "too bold". Rediff described its failure as "one of those bizarre, unexplained moments of cinema". Many film analysts, including Vikram Bhatt, felt that Lamhe was ahead of its time and if released at a later period, would have been commercially successful.
- Best Film – Yash Chopra
- Best Actress – Sridevi
- Best Comedian – Anupam Kher
- Best Story – Honey Irani
- Best Dialogue – Rahi Masoom Reza
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- Rediff. "The Very Best of Yash Chopra".
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- iDiva. "Sridevi – The Dancing Queen".
- Rediff. "PIX: The Changing Faces of Sridevi".
- bizAsia. "Yash Chopra classic flashback: 'Lamhe' (1991)". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013.
- Yash Raj Films – YouTube. "Yash Chopra in Conversation with Karan Johar – Lamhe".
- idiva.com. "10 Must Watch Movies That Weren't Blockbusters".
- Yahoo. "The Magical Years of Yash Chopra".
- Yash Raj Films. "Yash Chopra – Biography".
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- Ganti, Tejaswini (2012). Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry. Duke University Press. p. 342.