The 90s were a weird time for Indian cinema. There was a surge of family-focused movies like Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Hum Saath-Saath Hain and Biwi No. 1. Sanskari was the next “cool” thing. The entire credit of this goes to one man named Sooraj Barjatya. For the uninitiated, he’s the one who gave us philosophically-charged dialogues like, “Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte.”
After the success of his directorial debut Maine Pyar Kiya, Sooraj Barjatya released his second film, Hum Aapke Hain Koun in 1994. The movie had a stellar cast with superstars Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan in the lead. It exploded at the box office with many praising the movie for its “sanskari” elements. 26 years later, Hum Aapke Hain Koun is still a family-favourite.
The movie follows the love story of Nisha (Madhuri Dixit) and Prem (Salman Khan). What seems like a love story of a couple on the outset is nothing but a movie filled with family, wedding and songs! Nisha and Prem’s love story commences with a song at their respective siblings’ (Rajesh and Pooja) arranged marriage “meet.”
The family sings songs, breathes, sings more songs and plays cricket. Pooja gives birth to a baby while singing a song. Pooja dies after singing a song. The child is motherless and our sing-songy family is sad. After that, just like Pooja, Nisha and Prem’s love story comes tumbling down a superlong metaphorical staircase.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun takes a sombre turn in the last act. That’s where things went wrong for me. To not let our newborn child remain motherless, the family comes up with a plan that can only be described as preposterous. They decide to marry Rajesh with Nisha and the justification we get is – she is the mother’s sister and “vibes” with the baby. Thank god they did not hire a babysitter. Also, the baby is… a baby! Babies don’t know jack.
To make matters worse, Nisha, in her oblivious world of chocolates and lime juices, thinks she’s marrying Prem. When she finds out the truth, she looks at the baby and feels she needs to make this sacrifice. What is this baby and why isn’t it ruling this world by now?
Just when you thought the plot could not get any weirder, it does. Nisha writes a letter to Prem to express her “feelings.” She gives the responsibility of handing the letter to its rightful receiver to, wait for it, Tuffy – the pomeranian. Tuffy being Tuffy, decides with his own dog brain, to give the letter to Rajesh instead of Prem. Why? Because he is a dog and not a fricking postman! Rajesh realises the situation and backs away from the marriage.
Who wrote this plot? Who approved? Why did people ignore the absurdity of it? I understand female characters had almost negligible opinions in Indian cinema before, but this was something else. Both the families guilt-tripped Nisha into marrying Rajesh. Then again, she decided to hand over the letter to Tuffy, so maybe she deserved it.
If you are a fan of the film, we are sorry to burst your bubble. We criticized Chak De India in our previous “Aged Like Milk” post. So, trust me. I know how you feel. Hum Aapke Hain Koun gave us a bunch of memorable songs and unforgettable characters with Tuffy being my personal favourite, but the misogyny is nothing short of atrocious. All in all, thank god for Tuffy who realised the grotesque plot and settled things for good. Thank you, Tuffy, for taking matters in your own paws!