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Family tale with twists and hi-tech

"Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon" is releasing worldwide today. Director Sooraj Barjatya breaks the tradition by taking this Rajshri Productions film outdoors, says SREEDHAR PILLAI.


THE STORY of "Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon," (MPKDH) from the House of Rajshri is a typical family drama, stretching over three hours making you laugh and cry alternatively. The one-line story of MPKDH is simple: It is a feminine subject about an ordinary but beautiful girl, Sanjana, played brilliantly by Kareena Kapoor. Two men (Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan) both named Prem enter her life and there are subsequent twists in the tale.

As usual the house of Barjatya's will not reveal the entire story but it is obvious that this is one love story about mistaken identities and is said to be inspired from Rajshri's own late 1970's hit, "Chitchor."

Sooraj Barjatya says that all his films are musicals and for the first time in MPKDH he, along with music director Anu Malik, has tried to create music for today's generation. The name Rajshri is synonymous with evergreen melodious music. And all Sooraj's earlier films had music by Ram-Laxman with whom he had ``a fantastic tuning''.

Added Barjatya: ``As it is a young film, the music is contemporary. It has a western groove and we have not used many of the Indian instruments." Sooraj also confessed that the song "Sanjana... .I Love You... ", which is a chartbuster, is the most fast-paced song that he has ever shot !

As a part of their marketing strategy Rajshri's refused to play the songs from the film on FM Radio, which they say has helped to boost the audio sales.

Also making a clean break from tradition, the senior Barjatya gave permission to Sooraj to shoot abroad. Said Sooraj: ``I have shot all my films in controlled environment of sets. Being an indoor director I have always had my sets of kitchens, temples and mansions. But this time I took the bold step of trying awesome, outdoor locations of New Zealand and Mauritius''.

In fact the song "Chali Aayee... " was shot in the same picturesque locations of New Zealand where "Lord Of the Rings — Two Towers" was shot. The song showcases adventure sports like bungee jumping; jet boating, snow boarding, underwater diving and all this Hrithik did without a double!

In typical Sooraj Barjatya family entertainers, domestic animals or pets like a pigeon or a Pomeranian (dog) will play a crucial role that may lead to the twist in the climax.

But with MPKDH even the conservative director has gone hi-tech and digital. There is a digitally created parrot that calls himself `Raja Hindustani' and a wonder dog `Johnny', both pets of the heroine Sanjana.

These animated characters move around in Sanjana's house and the parrot is a couch potato who watches all Hindi films and uses all the names of movies to converse with people around him. Crest communications created the animated parrot and dog.

MPKDH is Rajshri's 48th venture and at an Rs. 25-30 crore budget, is their costliest film till date. And for the first time they are going to release the film (June 27) with more than 450 prints worldwide. However, the big question for Rajshri's is whether today's multiplex audience will lap up a steamy triangular musical love story at a time when ghosts and other supernatural rule the box-office?

For Hrithik Roshan, MPKDH is one of the most important films in his career as he gets to play Prem, a symbol of love and life made memorable by Salman Khan in earlier Barjatya movies. After a bad spell at the box-office Hrithik hopes for a change of luck with this film.

It is a make or break film for Kareena Kapoor who is looking forward to having that long elusive hit to her credit. The film has showcased her acting calibre and that too as a single heroine, she believes that the film will be a milestone in her career.

Above all, the third angle in the love story, Abhishek Bachchan, is keeping his fingers crossed, as the film will have to salvage his career.

As Kareena Kapoor said in a recent interview: ``These days I have only two friends, God and Sooraj Barjatya. The success of MPKDH is very important for the four of us — Sooraj, Hrithik, Abhishek and me."

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