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Pardes (English: Foreign Land) is a 1997 Indian Hindi-language musical drama film directed by Subhash Ghai. It was released on 8 August 1997[2]. The film stars Shahrukh Khan, Amrish Puri, Alok Nath, and newcomers Mahima Chaudhry and Apurva Agnihotri. The film was a commercial, critical and musical hit. Mahima Chaudary won the Best Newcomer Award for her performance. The film was remade in Telugu as Pelli Kanuka (1998).

Directed by Subhash Ghai
Produced by Subhash Ghai
Written by
Music by Nadeem-Shravan
Cinematography Kabir Lal
Edited by Renu Saluja
Distributed by Mukta Arts
Release date
  • 8 August 1997 (1997-08-08)
Running time
191 mins
Country India
  • Hindi
  • Urdu
  • English
Budget 10 crore (US$1.5 million)[1]
Box office 41 crore (US$6.3 million)[1]



Pardes is a story that discusses in depth the cultural values of the East and West ,portrayed eloquently by Arjun (Shah Rukh Khan) and Ganga (Mahima Chaudhary) amongst many others.

Kishorilal Saagar (Amrish Puri), a wealthy Indian businessman living in America, visits his old friend Suraj Dev (Alok Nath) in India.

During his stay at the conservative, traditional Indian household, he gets to know Suraj's eldest daughter, Ganga. Ganga who shares his love for Indian culture and impressed him with her good manners and ideology.

Ganga's younger siblings are enchanted by the uncle from America because they perceive Western culture and values to be so desirable. They cook up a plan to impress him with an English song. Unimpressed, he sings back a hymn-like song in a more traditional Indian style, "I Love My India." Ganga joins in this song, expressing her equal love for India. The song emphasises the movie's theme in key moments ,with the "Yeh  Mera India "....tune...

After this merry event, Kishorilal asks Suraj to promise Ganga as a bride for his westernised son, Rajiv (Apoorva Agnihotri).

He is convinced that Ganga will be not only a perfect bride, but she will also be able to revive treasured Indian values and make sure it is passed on to in his Americanized family and large circle of Indian friends and business acquaintances.

Suraj's family says let Rajiv come and meet Ganga himself and then let the two decide.

Kishorilal knows he will have a tough time trying to convince his son to marry or even meet Ganga.

Back in America, he asks his foster son, Arjun (Shahrukh Khan) to help his plan move along. Arjun is a down to earth and amiable fellow with deep Indian cultural values similar to Kishorilal and Ganga. He spends most of his time working full-time in his father's garage and in spare time he composes music- his fav. hobby..However, when Kishorilal calls to ask for his help, his loyalty to his uncle is so strong that he is ready to do almost anything .

Arjun flies to India ahead of Rajiv to set the stage for him to meet Ganga, unintentionally offending Ganga's family with a barrage of orders that includes removing farm animals (hens, cows, ducks, sheep, donkeys ) from around the house gardens into a nearby farm (to be out of sight)and relocating their servants from residing inside the house to living outdoors (in separate servant's quarter).

In order to make a good first impression, Ganga's younger siblings dress her up as ultra -western--with horn-rimmed eye glasses ,bright red lipstick,stilettos, mini skirts and buck teeth, sending Arjun into a panic about the success of Kishorilal's plans.

Later, he gets a chance to meet the authentic Ganga and calmly he explains to her the main reason why he is in India . She begins to understand why he used to behave strangely when he had arrived in India,and moved out all the animals and servants from her house. He is entranced by her natural appearance and strong Indian values. Actually, he has fallen in love with her but does not realise it.

In an effort to make up for his offensive behaviour , Arjun promises to be her trustworthy friend /confidante and asks her how should he make amends? Immediately, Ganga requests him to return the farm animals and the servants back into the enclosed yard/gardens around her house. She explains to Arjun that in her traditional Indian family, they love all who are a part of it, even animals and servants. This is in direct contrast to Rajiv's western view that they are not very important.

When Rajiv arrives, he is attracted to Ganga with love at first sight, but unfortunately it was more "lust" at first sight rather than "love". He also acts offensively; sometimes intentionally, and sometimes because he has no idea of what Indians consider rude or inappropriate. Arjun, despite his own attraction to Ganga, smooths the way for Rajiv to bond with Ganga, as per Kishorilal's wishes. In his determination to make Rajiv's marriage happen with Ganga - Arjun deceives Ganga about Rajiv's character and habits; he assures her that Rajiv is a "nice guy"; he also covers up for Rajiv, telling Ganga the cigarettes she found in Rajiv's room are his own.

The above drama continues for about six months, as Rajiv and Ganga spend more time together they bond. Then, they both mutually agree to marry each other and both families are delighted with their mutual decision to marry --thanks to Arjun's efforts.

The engagement is set in India, but the families agree that Ganga should visit America before her wedding day.

Soon after her engagement, Ganga arrives in USA with eagerness to see a whole new world but to her dismay, her tender feelings are hurt ever so often. For example; all her Indian traditional wear and bangles are despised and thrown away by Rajiv's mother. Rajiv's mother is ultra-western in thought and behaviour and wants her daughter in law to wear all western tight outfights which are in fashion to look attractive to Rajiv.

After a few weeks in the USA, Ganga is distraught and is home-sick. Her only trustworthy friend nearby is none other than Arjun-the one who paved her way into this mess! One fine day, she is invited to attend a very large and influential gathering arranged by Kishorilal (her future father in law ), and he also invited her to sing. She sings the same "I Love My India" tune which Kishorilal had been impressed with in India and receives warm, sincere applause from the audience, except Rajiv who was indifferent and a womaniser.

Gradually, as days turn into weeks, Ganga realises that Rajiv isn't the person Arjun had portrayed him to be when they were in India. Rajiv not only seems eager to leave her at home whenever possible, with little explanation or apology. When he does bring her out with his friends, he smokes, gets drunk and acts like a bully. At one party, he is drinking and flirting with other women while another strange man begins dancing too closely with Ganga- totally against Ganga's moral values.Ganga tries to get Rajiv's attention but he ignores the situation, Arjun loses his temper and fights the strange man to the ground. Later, Ganga is shocked to discover pictures of Rajiv with his girlfriend that clearly show he has had an intimate sexual relationship with her. She is also astonished to find that Kishorilal's family treats Arjun, a foster child as a servant!

When Rajiv abandons Ganga for dinner with his girlfriend, Ganga confronts Arjun and demands an explanation. Arjun justifies Rajiv's behaviour, reminding Ganga that Rajiv lives like an American, and that she should not make a fuss about such a petty affair. This exchange leads to a key monologue from Ganga. Infuriated that Arjun sees Rajiv's casual, unapologetic unfaithfulness as a "petty affair", she tells him that she needs "LOVE" – the kind of love he (Arjun) gives others. She further rejects being made into a "decoration" to fit into Kishorilal's palatial mansion. At this point, Arjun realises that he has fallen in love with Ganga, but because of his immense loyalty to Kishorilal, he continues to encourage her to continue with the engagement and that things will straighten out later after marriage. Ganga becomes confused and cries.

On the next day, it is Arjun's birthday and obviously, he is depressed and frustrated .Somehow, a thoughtful and sensible Ganga senses his frustration and depression/loneliness and asks Rajiv to accompany her to wish Arjun a surprise "happy birthday". Rajiv refuses, making it clear that he views Arjun as some kind of servant. Hence, Ganga visits the garage without Rajiv, throwing a surprise party to liven up Arjun's spirits .

Rajiv's hostile aunt Neeta notices the growing friendship between Ganga and Arjun and warns Kishorilal. He arranges for Arjun to relocate urgently ,telling him he has been promoted, and must start with attending a board meeting the following morning in another city very far far away. Kishorilal then plans a short outing vacation for Rajiv to be with Ganga in Las Vegas.

In Las Vegas, Rajiv gets so drunk that he reveals all his contempt for his fellow Indians; he derides Indians as "hypocrites", "dumb" and "stupid". Ganga heatedly responds that Indians hate America's drug-riddled, amoral alternative. Furious, he tries to rape Ganga; after a violent struggle, she knocks him unconscious and flees. As she has nowhere to go and nobody to turn to, she contacts Arjun ASAP.

Rajiv , after coming to his senses, informs Kishorilal who quickly informs the police to start looking for the missing Ganga. Kishorilal also informs Ganga's father about how Ganga ran away missing, falsely accusing poor Arjun of trapping Ganga.

Luckily, Arjun finds her crying at a train station with her clothes torn. He tries to persuade her to go back to Kishorilal's home, but she refuses. Arjun promises to protect her and help her get back to her family safely in India.

Just after Arjun and Ganga safely arrive in India, Suraj is happy to see his daughter but tries to kill Arjun (thinking that he eloped with her) with a family sword that hangs on the wall. Arjun seizes that sword and swears to Ganga's faithfulness and chastity. Then Arjun leaves, disappointed and humiliated and intending never to return. Meanwhile, Ganga is not allowed to say a word, and is locked inside a horse- shed. Ganga's younger siblings and grandmother sneak in and advise her to run away with Arjun. It is now that Ganga realises that she is in love with Arjun, and with their help, secretly leaves home. By this time, Kishorilal has arrived in India with Rajiv.

Luckily, Ganga catches up with Arjun at a temple, and demands that he meet with her one last time before he leaves forever. At this meeting, Ganga expresses that she is in love with him and wishes to be his life-partner but Arjun is still loyal to Kishorilal and refuses to marry her remembering the promise he had made to Kishorilal.

Ganga is devastated but before Arjun walks away, Rajiv turns up with several thugs to kill Arjun but Ganga protects Arjun using her body as a shield.

In the ensuing fight, Arjun takes a terrible beating before getting the upper hand. Kishorilal arrives with his best friend Suraj just as Arjun is about to kill Rajiv. Kishorilal furiously suggests that Arjun "honorably" kill himself with a conveniently handy gun, and demands Arjun "tell the truth" about how he came to be in India with Rajiv's promised bride.This leads to the second key monologue of the film.

Arjun confronts Kishorilal with "not wanting to know the truth; people who want the truth, don't ask for it with a gun". He accuses Kishorilal of having become a true Westerner after all, since his wealth has eviscerated his compassion and ability to examine the truth when it doesn't match what he wants it to be.

Confessing that he does, in truth, love Ganga, he affirms that he never pursued her and has acted honourably, while Rajiv in every way rejected honourable action and lied about how Ganga came to have returned so suddenly to India; not only was Ganga (personification of the most valued aspects of Indian culture), unable to merge with Western culture, Western values (in the person of Rajiv) almost utterly ruined Ganga.

Ganga confirms Rajiv's attempted rape, which shocks everyone, then tells her father she is willing to die by whatever means he chooses; poison, fire, or hunger. This pivotal scene both verbalises and symbolises how good, happy, pure Ganga (Indian values), instead of being able to uplift and enrich Rajiv (Western values), has been sacrificed to the unsuccessful attempt to merge India with the West.

Ironically, it also highlights one way in which Western culture can be viewed as more just and compassionate than Indian culture, since a Western bride can break off an unsuitable engagement without risking death at the hands of outraged family members.

Moreover, but realising he has indeed heard the truth, Kishorilal affirms that Ganga will marry his son. Rejecting Rajiv (and, symbolically, his own Western compromises), he embraces Arjun as his true son, and along with Suraj and his family blesses the upcoming wedding /marriage between Arjun and Ganga.



Soundtrack album by Nadeem Shravan
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Label Tips
Producer Srinjoy Bhattacharya

The soundtrack was composed by the legendary music director duo Nadeem-Shravan, while the lyrics can be credited to Anand Bakshi. It was released under the label of Tips Music Films. The album was very successful among the audience. The tracks "Do Dil Mil Rahe Hai", "I Love My India", "Meri Mehbooba", "Yeh Dil Dewaana", "Jahan Piya" were immensely popular with songs being played till date. Music director duo Nadeem-Shravan received a Filmfare nomination for the album and won a Star Screen Award for Best Music Director. Ghai wanted A.R.Rahman to compose the music of this film but Rahman politely declined the offer since Ghai wanted the tunes ready in less than two months. Track list

No Title Singer(s)
1 "Nahin Hona Tha" Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Hema Sardesai, Sabri Bros.
2 "Meri Mehbooba" Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik
3 "Yeh Dil Deewana" Sonu Nigam, Vocals by Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani
4 "I Love My India" Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hariharan, Aditya Narayan
5 "My First Day in USA" Hema Sardesai
6 "Do Dil Mil Rahe Hain" Kumar Sanu
7 "Jahan Piya Wahan Main" K. S. Chitra
8 "I Love My India (Part 2)" Kavita Krishnamurthy
9 "Title Music" Sapna Awasthi, Shankar Mahadevan


Box officeEdit

Pardes grossed 34.83 crore (US$5.3 million) in India and $1.7 million (6.12 crore) in other countries, for a worldwide total of 40.95 crore (US$6.3 million), against its 10 crore (US$1.5 million) budget. It had a worldwide opening weekend of 3.40 crore (US$520,000), and grossed 6.19 crore (US$950,000) in its first week.[1] It is the 4th-highest-grossing film of 1997 worldwide.[3]


It opened on Friday, August 8, 1997, across 210 screens, and earned 61 lakh (US$93,000) nett on its opening day. It grossed 2 crore (US$310,000) nett in its opening weekend, and had a first week of 3.64 crore (US$560,000) nett. The film earned a total of 22.83 crore (US$3.5 million) nett, and was declared "Super Hit" by Box Office India.[1] It is the 4th-highest-grossing film of 1997 in India.[4]


It earned $1.7 million (6.12 crore in 1997) outside India.[1] Overseas, it is the 2nd-highest-grossing film of 1997 after Dil To Pagal Hai which grossed $3.3 million (12.04 crore in 1997).[5]

Pardes worldwide collections breakdown
Territory Territory wise Collections break-up
India Nett Gross:
22.83 crore (US$3.5 million)
Entertainment tax:
12 crore (US$1.8 million)
Total Gross:
34.83 crore (US$5.3 million)
(outside India)
$1.7 million (6.12 crore in 1997)
Worldwide 40.95 crore (US$6.3 million)

Critical receptionEdit

Pardes received mixed reviews from critics. Praise was given to the music, however aspects of the script were criticised.[6][7]

India Today cites it as one of the first major Bollywood pictures to succeed in the United States.[8]

In their book, New Cosmopolitanisms: South Asians in the US, Gita Rajan and Shailja Sharma view the film as a dichotomous depiction of the good NRI versus bad NRI, with Khan depicting the good immigrant, who assists the rowdy Indian American playboy Rajiv (Apurva Agnihotri), the bad. Khan's character of Arjun is perceived as a metaphor for cosmopolitanism or Indian cultural nationalism in the wider sense, in direct contrast to Rajiv who represents wealthy Westernization and all its negative vices and connotations.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Pardes". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 7 August 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Pardes - Movie - Box Office India". Retrieved 2018-04-02. 
  3. ^ "Top Worldwide Grossers 1997". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Top India Total Nett Gross 1997". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Top Overseas Gross 1997". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Planet Bollywood: Film Review: Pardes". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Pardes". ApunKaChoice. Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Pardes (1997)". India Today. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Sharma & Rajan 2006, p. 126.

External linksEdit