Lamhe (translation: Moments) is a 1991 Indian musical romantic drama directed and produced by Yash Chopra and written by Honey Irani and Rahi Masoom Raza. The film stars Sridevi (in a dual role as both mother and daughter) and Anil Kapoor in lead roles along with Waheeda Rehman, Anupam Kher, Deepak Malhotra and Dippy Sagoo in pivotal supporting roles. The film marks the second and final collaboration between Sridevi and Chopra after Chandni (1989).

Theatrical release poster
Directed byYash Chopra
Written byStory:
Honey Irani
Rahi Masoom Raza
Rahi Masoom Raza
Screenplay byHoney Irani
Produced byYash Chopra
T. Subbarami Reddy
Anil Kapoor
Waheeda Rehman
Anupam Kher
Deepak Malhotra
Dippy Sagoo
CinematographyManmohan Singh
Music byShiv-Hari
Distributed byYash Raj Films
Release date
  • 22 November 1991 (1991-11-22)
Running time
187 minutes
Budget2 crore (equivalent to 17 crore or US$2.2 million in 2023)
Box office3 crore (equivalent to 26 crore or US$3.2 million in 2023)

Produced by Chopra under his production banner Yash Raj Films, Lamhe was shot in two schedules in Rajasthan, India and London, United Kingdom. Over the years, it has been hailed as an all-time classic and Chopra's finest film. Although the film did moderate business domestically, it became a major success in overseas markets, bringing in a worldwide gross of 20.5 crores on a production budget of 6 crores; thus becoming the 10th highest-grossing Indian film of the year. It received widespread critical acclaim upon release, with high praise directed towards Sridevi for her dual role as mother and daughter.

A recipient of several accolades, Lamhe won Best Costume Design at the 39th National Film Awards. Additionally, at the 37th Filmfare Awards, the film received a leading 13 nominations, including Best Director (Chopra), Best Actor (Kapoor), Best Supporting Actress (Rehman) and Best Supporting Actor (Kher), and won a leading 5 awards – Best Film, Best Actress (Sridevi), Best Comedian (Kher), Best Story (Irani) and Best Dialogue (Masoom Raza).

Lamhe featured on Outlook's list of Bollywood's Best Films. It has been cited as Chopra's personal favorite of the films he has made. This was one of the last films scripted by Masoom Raza; 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 10 Romantic Movies Of 100 Years.[2]

Plot edit

A young non-resident Indian (NRI) Virendra Pratap Singh (Anil Kapoor), also known as Viren, comes to his homeland in Rajasthan, India for the first time where he is greeted by his former governess, Durgadevi (Waheeda Rehman), affectionately called Dai Jaa. His late parents had migrated to London, United Kingdom long before he was born. While initially put off by the hot weather conditions and the traditional customs of the region, Viren stumbles upon the beautiful Pallavi (Sridevi) and falls in love with her almost instantly. Pallavi is the daughter of wealthy businessman Kothiwale Thakur (Manohar Singh), who had helped Viren's late father when his business was suffering. Viren and Pallavi become friends. However, upon noticing Viren's feelings for Pallavi, Dai Jaa indicates that Pallavi is eight years older than him, which still does not bother Viren.

After losing a civil legal dispute involving his property, the devastated Kothiwale Thakur dies of a heart attack. Pallavi goes into depression. Viren comes to console her at Kothiwale Thakur's mourning ceremony, but is shocked to find her run towards her long-time boyfriend, Siddharth Kumar Bhatnagar (Deepak Malhotra), who is an airplane pilot. Viren is heartbroken, but reluctantly arranges Pallavi and Siddharth's wedding with a heavy heart and moves back to London without letting Pallavi know of his true emotions. However, in a cruel twist of fate, Viren flies down to India after Dai Jaa gives him the news of both Siddharth and the pregnant Pallavi having perished in a major car accident, but not before the gravely injured Pallavi gives birth to their surviving daughter, Pooja, at the hospital. Viren and Dai Jaa lament the tragic losses of Pallavi and Siddharth and a grief-stricken Viren entrusts Dai Jaa in the upbringing of the newborn Pooja.

20 years later, the now middle-aged Viren still finds it difficult to come to terms and has been visiting Rajasthan every year in the two decades for Siddharth and Pallavi's death anniversary. However, he has avoided meeting Pooja on her birthday because she was born the same day Pallavi died and the trauma and the pain of Pallavi's death is still fresh in his mind. However, Viren now comes back to India this year for Siddharth and Pallavi's twentieth death anniversary and is shocked to see the now grown-up Pooja (also Sridevi) a spitting image of Pallavi herself on her twentieth birthday. Viren feels that destiny is playing a cruel game with him but still invites Pooja and Dai Jaa to his residence in London. In London, Viren's childhood friend, Prem Anand (Anupam Kher), is aware that Viren's heart still yearns for Pallavi, while Viren is still trying to engage himself in other works but cannot forget Pallavi.

Moreover, Anita Malhotra (Dippy Sagoo) is Viren's new girlfriend in London and is deeply in love with him. She is also aware of Viren's love for Pallavi and constantly tries to win his attention. During Pooja and Dai Jaa's visit to London, Anita meets Pooja and realizes how she must be a constant reminder of Pallavi to Viren. Over a period of time, Pooja becomes possessive about Viren so Anita tries to show the truth and make her understand that she is wrong. Pooja retorts back and tells Anita that if she herself is not related to Viren, Anita is not related to him either. Anita becomes frustrated and blasts out at Viren for his feelings for Pooja, telling him that he should be ashamed of having feelings for a considerably younger woman, just because she resembles her late mother whom he loved. Meanwhile, Prem understands how much Pooja is attached to Viren since childhood, but is skeptical since Viren is still living in the past in the memories of Pallavi.

However, things take a drastic turn when Pooja comes across Pallavi's pencil sketch made by Viren and completely misunderstands it to be her own when it is actually of her mother. She confesses her love for Viren and confronts him over the sketch, but a furious Viren rebuffs Pooja and reveals that he actually loved her late mother who resembled her. A shattered and humiliated Pooja tells Dai Jaa that she wants to return to India. After Pooja and Dai Jaa's departure from London, Prem strongly advises a confused Viren to confront his feelings for Pooja, pointing out the huge difference between Pallavi and Pooja. Back home, Dai Jaa persuades Pooja to get married, and she agrees on condition that Viren must get married first. When Dai Jaa calls to let Viren know that Pooja has agreed to marry once Viren ties the knot, Viren agrees to marry Anita. Upon learning this, Pooja tells Dai Jaa that she never wants to get married.

Back in London, Viren, Prem and Anita are wondering why Dai Jaa is delaying her visit for Viren and Anita's wedding. Thus, Viren and Prem decide to travel to India and give Dai Jaa a surprise. Upon arriving, Viren and Prem are shocked to learn from Dai Jaa that Pooja has vowed never to marry. The climax shows a heartbroken Pooja narrating a tragic folk tale in a village show when all of a sudden, she becomes very excited and happy to notice Viren in the audience and lies to him about already having got married. However, Viren confronts Pooja for hiding the truth about her marriage from him, and reveals that he actually never wanted to marry Anita, since he finally realised that he is genuinely in love with Pooja and not Pallavi anymore, who in fact had never had romantic feelings towards him. With neither of them having got married, Viren and Pooja are now free to be together.

Cast edit

  • Sridevi in a dual role as Pallavi Thakur Bhatnagar / Pooja Bhatnagar (as both mother and daughter)
  • Anil Kapoor as Virendra Pratap Singh (a.k.a. Viren / Kunwarji)
  • Waheeda Rehman as Durgadevi (a.k.a. Dai Jaa); Viren, and later, Pooja's governess
  • Anupam Kher as Prem Anand; Viren's childhood friend
  • Deepak Malhotra as Siddharth Kumar Bhatnagar; Pallavi's husband and Pooja's father
  • Dippy Sagoo as Anita Malhotra; Viren's girlfriend
  • Manohar Singh as Kothiwale Thakur; Pallavi's father, Siddharth's father-in-law and Pooja's maternal grandfather
  • Lalit Tiwari as Sudheshwar Narayan Tiwari; Viren's mansion caretaker
  • Vikas Anand as Dr. Vikas; Pallavi's surgeon (cameo appearance)
  • Ila Arun as Folk Dancer in "Morni Baga Ma Bole" song (cameo appearance)
  • Richa Pallod as 5-year-old Pooja (cameo appearance)

Music edit

The music was composed by Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia (together known as Shiv-Hari) and the lyrics were provided by Anand Bakshi. The song "Kabhi Main Kahoon" was composed from a melody used as background music in Chopra's Chandni (1989), also scored by Shiv-Hari. In the famous parody sequence, Rehman danced to "Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai" – her signature song from the all-time classic Guide (1965).

The songs included on the official soundtrack are listed here:

Song Singer(s)
"Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal" Hariharan
"Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal" (Sad Version)
"Mhaare Rajasthan Ma" Mohinuddin
"Mohe Chhedo Naa" Lata Mangeshkar
"Chudiyan Khanak Gayeen" (contains excerpt of 'Mhaare Rajasthan Ma' in the introduction) Lata Mangeshkar, Moinuddin and Ila Arun
"Morni Baga Ma Bole" (Sad Version) Lata Mangeshkar
"Kabhi Main Kahoon" Lata Mangeshkar and Hariharan
"Megha Re Megha Re" Lata Mangeshkar and Ila Arun
"Yaad Nahin Bhool Gaya" Lata Mangeshkar and Suresh Wadkar
"Gudiya Rani" Lata Mangeshkar
"Meri Bindiya"
"Freak Out" (Parody Song) Pamela Chopra and Sudesh Bhosle
"Moments Of Rage" (Instrumental) Instrumental
"Moments Of Passion" (Instrumental)

Reception, analysis and legacy edit

Lamhe is one of the few films that picked up the Filmfare Award for Best Film, despite its moderate business in India. It is also one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market and the video circuit. Sridevi received widespread critical acclaim for her dual role as mother and daughter, winning her second Filmfare Award for Best Actress among others. It was also listed in Outlook magazine's list of 'All-Time Great Indian Films'.[3] It has been cited as Chopra's personal favorite among his directorial ventures.[4] The 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",[5] while Rediff called it "Quite easily one of his most definitive films, Chopra surpassed his own findings of romance with the insightful, lovely Lamhe."[6] 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 Chopra could create this bold and unheard story in a way, that otherwise would have not been received well."[7]

Sridevi played both mother and daughter in what iDiva described as "another double-role but it was unlike any played before."[8] Hailed by Rediff as "one of the most remarkable films of her career... often considered a film way ahead of its time."[9] Her performance brought her high critical 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 film."[10] Speaking to Karan Johar about the making of Lamhe, Chopra revealed, "When 90% of the London schedule was over, a tragedy took place. 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."[11] Sridevi's folk dance number "Morni Baga Ma Bole" was placed among the 'Top 5 Songs of Yash Chopra' by Hindustan Times.

Over the years, Lamhe has become a cult classic.[12][13] Critic Rachel Dwyer wrote in her biography of the filmmaker "Yash Chopra's own favorite film, Lamhe (Moments (1991)), divided the audience on a class basis: it was hugely popular with the metropolitan elites and the overseas market, which allowed it to break even, but it had a poor box-office response (especially the repeat audience), because of its supposed incest theme."[14] The Hindu reported that "With shades of incest, Lamhe caused more than a flutter and remained the talk of the town",[15] while Sridevi herself admitted in an interview with Rajeev Masand that she found the subject "too bold".[16] Rediff described its failure as "one of those bizarre, unexplained moments of cinema."[6] Many film analysts, including Vikram Bhatt, felt that Lamhe was ahead of its time, and if released at a later period, would have been a success.[17]

Awards and nominations edit

39th National Film Awards:
37th Filmfare Awards:[18]



References edit

  1. ^ "Lamhe". The Indian Express. 22 November 1991. p. 4.
  2. ^ Yahoo. "Top 10 romantic movies". Archived from the original on 2 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Bollywood's Best Films". Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  4. ^ Rachel Dwyer (2002). Yash Chopra: fifty years in Indian cinema. Lotus Collection. p. 160. ISBN 978-81-7436-234-6. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  5. ^ Times of India. "Top 10 Films of Yash Chopra".
  6. ^ a b Rediff. "The Very Best of Yash Chopra".
  7. ^ El Viaje Reviews. "Yash Chopra's Lamhe (1991) Review by Hrithik Sharma". YouTube. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021.
  8. ^ iDiva. "Sridevi – The Dancing Queen". Archived from the original on 24 February 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  9. ^ Rediff. "PIX: The Changing Faces of Sridevi".
  10. ^ bizAsia. "Yash Chopra classic flashback: 'Lamhe' (1991)". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013.
  11. ^ Yash Raj Films – YouTube. "Yash Chopra in Conversation with Karan Johar – Lamhe". YouTube.
  12. ^ "10 Must Watch Movies That Weren't Blockbusters". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  13. ^ Yahoo. "The Magical Years of Yash Chopra". Archived from the original on 26 December 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  14. ^ Yash Raj Films. "Yash Chopra – Biography".
  15. ^ The Hindu (21 October 2012). "From Partition angst to romantic confection, his films had it all". The Hindu.
  16. ^ "Now Showing: Masand reviews 'Ek Tha Tiger', interviews Sridevi". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 19 August 2012.
  17. ^ Ganti, Tejaswini (2012). Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry. Duke University Press. p. 342. ISBN 978-0822352136.
  18. ^ "1st Filmfare Awards 1953" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2019.

External links edit