Producer: R. Mohan
Director: T.K. Rajeev Kumar
Starring: Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala, Dina Pathak, and Appu the Elephant
Music: Jatin Lalit
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

Released on: December 22, 2000
Approximate Running Time:
Reviewed by: Alok Kumar
Reviewer's Rating: 6.75 out of 10

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Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya is a fantasy film with quite low expectations. This film is meant to be a fairy tale for children, much like Raju Chacha. RKRSPHG succeeds in being a fairy tale/fantasy film to an extent, but also loses its way towards the end, changing tracks into the romance genre. The film took a battering with most critics, but this critic, young at heart, decided to give this movie a chance. Film critics need not always be objective and dettached from the films that they view. They can have fun and enjoy themselves while being critical at the same time, and it is this fact that most critics tend to ignore. Most tend to be heavily biased, praising big banner films with big stars to the skies, and ignoring the flawed, but soulful low-key releases. RKRSPHG is an attempt to do something different, and it succeeds at doing exactly that, 3/4 of the way.

The story revolves around a village bumpkin (Arvind Swamy) with the heart of a child. He has grown up listening to his grandmotherīs (Dina Pathak) fairy tales and has always imagined himself the protagonist, changing the endings of grandmaīs stories if they are not happy endings. The village bumpkin saves the life of and falls in love with the city belle (A beautiful Manisha Koirala) who is visiting the countryside for a day of fun and games. Before he can confess her love for him, the city girl dashes back to the big bad city, after which the bumpkin follows her, with grandmaīs blessings, and attempts to woo his lady love, with the help of his three cute nephews and nieces, who reside in the same city as the bumpkinīs love interest. Thrown into the mix is a cute baby elephant (Appu), who plays a large role in uniting the lovers. Trouble strikes the couple when the city belleīs status of Royalty is thrown in the bumpkinīs face. The city girl is a princess with big, bad relatives, all itching to gain control of her throne. So the adventure begins, with the village bumpkin and his elephant friend taking off to save the princess. 

Just like last yearīs fairy tale Mast and this weekīs release Raju Chacha, Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya is a fun, charming film. Watching the film with low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised with it. The performances are first rate by the lead pair. Manisha Koirala is as charming as ever, and, though a bit overweight, looks beautiful. Arvind Swamy looks a bit old for this role, but does a fantastic job. The supporting cast does their job, but special mention must be given to Appu the Elephant, whose scenes are fun and add novelty to the film. Dina Pathak turns in a good performance as the wise grandmother, and the three children seem very comfortable in front of the camera. Finally, child artistes who donīt annoy. Jatin-Lalitīs music, as always in fantastic. Every tune off the soundtrack is a winner. Songs like "Aao Sune" and "Jiske Liye Sapno Mein Tum Ho" are brilliant compositions, both with excellent singing from Anuradha Paudwal and Sreenivas. Even "Sunlo Re" and "Dil Chura Ke Chaldee" strike a magical chord with the listener. All the songs are picturized very beautifully, with nice locales. Manisha, especially in "Aao Sune" looks beautiful. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are also quite noteworthy.

The flaws of the film lie in the screenplay and the direction. National Award winner T. Rajeev Kumar has done a fine job with the technical aspects of his film but has concentrated little on the direction of the plot. The film starts off as a fun-filled fantasy, but teeters on the verge of being a romance. The last half-hour of the film is predictable and quite routine. Also, the plot gets quite jerky and messy, as the director tries to incorporate too much into the film.

Though Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya has its flaws, the film is, in my opinion, quite watchable. Itīs no award winning work of art, but should keep the kids entertained. Those young at heart should enjoy the film as much as I did. Itīs a pity that films like RKRSPHG bomb at the box office. Mast, which had the same flavor as this film, also bombed, which was unfortunate, because that fairy tale also had a distinct charm and a unique blend of entertaining elements.

So if youīre looking for some heavy stuff, I reccommend Yugpurush, Dil Se.., or Mazhar Khanīs brilliant but overlooked Gang. But if fun and unique story telling is what you crave, go see Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya. Your inner child should be quite pleased. Hats off to T. Rajeev Kumar for creating a mostly different film. Hopefully, his next venture wonīt become as routine as this one did. Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya is a film with a soul -- well, atleast 3/4 of the way.