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The debut of heartthrob Hrithik Roshan is a classic tale of love and truth overcoming a corrupt world and nasty parents
Poor boy Rohit (Roshan) and rich girl Sonia (Patel) float around the world of young Bombay's entertainment industry. When Rohit is hired to play his groovy tunes on a yacht for the hip rich kids, the couple head off on a cruise around the islands of Singapore.
Due to a drunken mishap they end up stranded on a desert island where their love blossoms. When Sonia's papa rescues them he tells the young lovers that they are not to see each other again. Rohit says they will not get married until he can stand on his own two feet. All seems to be going well until Rohit witnesses the killing of the police commissioner and is killed himself. Sonia is inconsolable and so her father sends her to New Zealand to get over it. Imagine her surprise when she discovers an exact carbon copy of Rohit called Raj. He comes back with her to India and together they unmask Rohit's killers.
Rakesh Roshan produced and directed Kaho Na Pyar Hai to launch his son. And launch him it did. Overnight he became a sensation. It delivered him fresh and cute to an audience hungry for new blood. The three Khans - Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman - had been battling it out for the top slot all through the 90s and then, without even trying, young Hrithik danced his way into it with Kaho Na Pyar Hai. All anyone was interested in for about six months afterwards was Hrithik Roshan.
He demonstrates a remarkable self-confidence throughout this film, quite unlike the usual awkwardness you often see in first films. His key selling point, other than the easy smile and street cool style, is his ability to dance well. All heroes have to dance. Even those who can't - like Sanjay Dutt for example - have to do some kind of dance, even if it's just a variant on jumping. Hrithik looked as if he was genuinely enjoying the complicated group dances. Farah Khan's choreography, which dated so quickly, here looks new and sexy.
Kaho Na Pyar Hai is what could, if we are feeling kind, be called a classic Hindi film plot line. Rich and bad versus poor and honest, lots of songs in exotic locales and a happy ending in the form of a wedding. Its massive success heartened traditionalists within the industry and they dared to believe that perhaps the old formulas might still work given the right combination of songs, locations and the correct proportion of chiffon saris to mini skirts. Unfortunately, over the last three years a few dozen more films like this have been released and flopped. Quite a few, it must be said, with young Hrithik in them.
Its infectious youthful energy and Hrithik's easy confidence are enough to make a believer out of anyone.
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