The year was 1994 and the date was 15th April. The world saw the release of 1942: A Love Story – a Hindi language movie directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. With a runtime of 157 minutes, this movie went on to make INR 896.4 million. The soulful songs scored by R.D. Burman still run fresh in the minds and hearts of people. It won 9 prestigious Filmfare Awards. A story written by Kamna Chandra and later developed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra & Sanjay Leela Bhansali was made on a tight budget and no one had any idea that they were in the process of making a movie that will be fondly remembered even after 25 years.
Some Interesting Trivia
- Once, Mr. Chopra shared a trivia that he was not so rich and so he had to reject many building plans for the set made by Nitin Desai. So, Jackie Shroff came to rescue and lend some money to him.
- Another trivia is that Madhuri Dixit was approached to play the iconic Rajjo or Rajeshwari in the movie. She even did a screen test but as they say “daane daane pe likkha hai khaane wale ka naam” – the role landed in the lap of Manisha Koirala.
- This movie was R.D. Burman’s last Hindi movie. He died in January and this movie released in April. What a way to finish an innings!!! Many say that this was perhaps Burmans best work. Mr. Chopra rejected many tunes of Rahul Dev Burman before he came up with the masterpiece ones.
Reasons behind Its Eternal Success
Love for Freedom
Love stories have always been a favorite genre for Bollywood and the movie buffs. The title of the movie claims that it is a love story. But the opening scene says a lot more. It shows that someone from the influential family is going to be hanged for his patriotic outburst. That’s the point where you understand that this movie is definitely more than just a man-woman love story. The love for the freedom of the nation here goes simultaneously with a boy-girl love story. There are many movies which have been done on this topic but none has been this good. Kamna Chandra – the writer of this movie actually experienced those burning times and that’s why the script was so true.
The Sensation of First Love
Who doesn’t love the sensation of love? This movie celebrates the passion and innocence of that “first love”. Again that was the time when love was not so fast. Love took time to arrive. After arrival, it took time to cook and then served. There is loyalty, faith, and unflinching confidence in that other person. Naren & Rajjo were like that who looked out for each other without knowing much details about each other. They perhaps felt the soul connection quite strongly to flow in the romance! Compare it with any current time love story and you would know the difference.
Lyrics & Music
One of the strongest pillars of the success of this movie is that heart-warming music backed brilliantly by sensible lyrics. In some stories, you would hear that Javed Akhtar wrote the lyrics of Ek Ladki imagining Madhuri Dixit as she was the first choice for the role. In other stories, you may hear, Javed Akhtar imagined Shabana Azmi – his real-life muse and wife. But actually, Javed Sahab says, the inspiration is “terror of deadline”. When R.D. Burman asked him right at the studio about the lyrics, he penned these words right there. That’s unbelievable creativity!!
Imagine, lyrics that still forms a popular way of the proposal was written in such haste?! Many surveys say that this is the best album of Bollywood in the 20th Century. There was no title song but all the 8 songs were chartbusters. Burman has the story clear in his mind and he infused that haunting “ tu run a tu run a” tune into Pyar Hua Chupke Se – a song where Rajjo celebrates her “being in love” but she is reminded that the time is challenging. Kumar Sanu & Kavita Krishnamurthy sang all the songs and it seems like their voice were the blood circulation system of this movie.
Binod Pradhan – this man is a magician. He shot this movie to utter brilliance. He makes actors look more interesting and intense. Binod Pradhan has shot maximum VVC and Bhansali movies and now you know why movies like Devdas, Mission Kashmir, or Parinda were visually stunning. His camera falls in love with every actor beautifully. Remember that projection of sky, clouds, and lush meadows in the song Pyar Hua Chupke Se? It reflected our Indian Flag colors – first of its kind!
Adding to that was Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s perfect set design. If you remember the opulence, grandeur, and truthfulness of the world of movies like Lagaan, Salaam Bombay, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, Jodhaa Akbar, or Ishqiya – then you know what I am referring to. The set of a movie is the platform on which makes other departments show their brilliance. That’s why the set or production design has to be impeccable.
So, if Binod Pradhan’s camera work was flawless, then, Nitin Desai’s artwork was also notable. A major part of Dalhousie was created in Film city and you never had a doubt that it is Mumbai and not Dalhousie – that’s the victory of both these stalwarts.
Remember The Poster?
I am in love with this poster. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of the writers, distributors, and assistant directors of this movie later revamped it into his “Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram Leela”. The kissing couple standing over a cracked mountain. Those cracked rocks carry the faces of the other parallel actors from the movie. No better way to describe a movie – love in not so favorable times!