The year 2000 sees yet another enjoyable film from the creators of Pukar, Prem, Sirf Tum, Mr. India, and Judaai, Surinder Kapoor and brothers Boney and Anil. Though HDAPH is not as enjoyable or as well directed as Pukar, it has its own strengths, mainly the acting on the parts of the lead trio, Aishwarya Rai, Anil Kapoor, and Sonali Bendre. With this film, Aishwarya finally shows acting potential. I found her acting in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was overhyped and overdone, and in Taal, she was overshadowed by Anil Kapoor. But in HDAPH, Rai surprises with a restrained performance.
The film follows the lives of Avinash (Anil Kapoor) and Preeti (Aishwarya Rai), two people tossed together by a series of unpleasant events and circumstances. Preeti, witness to a heinous crime, is victimized and brutally raped by her enemies, people against who she testifies in court (Puru Raj Kumar and Co.) and is taken in by a good samaritan, Avinash. Also in the care of Avinash are two children, in truth his own siblings, objects of his father┬┤s adultery. Preeti, Avinash, and the children work hard together to build a happy world in which they can thrive, only to be criticised and ridiculed by society. Further trouble ensues when Avinash┬┤s childhood friend and admirer, Khushi (Sonali Bendre), enters the scene to persuade Avinash to return home and marry her.
Though HDAPH is superior to Kaushik┬┤s hit film Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, the direction is still below the mark. Kaushik┬┤s directorial debut Prem, in 1995, worked due to a novel story and screenplay. HADMRH was carried on Kajol┬┤s shoulders. Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai is carried by it┬┤s good performances, especially by Aishwarya Rai, who impresses with a quiet performance, though her emotional scenes need work. Anil Kapoor is, as usual, a delight to watch, and proves that, given a well-etched character, he can perform very well (i.e., Taal, Pukar, Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain). In the film, Kapoor┬┤s character, Avinash, is very well defined as a good samaritan who treats human beings the way he wants to be treated. His 90s attitudes and ideas are a delight to watch. Sonali Bendre turns in a charming performance as Khushi, a bubbly, easy-going girl who loves Avinash. She looks beautiful and, for once, shows a glimmer of talent.
The comedians (all five of them) are unwanted and not needed. These days, stupid comedy scenes with no relevance to the plot are not wanted. A film is so much better without these annoying comedians, case in point the recent Dhadkan, which was a touching, well-made, beautiful film without all the stupidity of comedy sequences. Dhadkan maintained it┬┤s dark, brooding mood throughout the film without any jerks or "comedy" sequences. If┬á HDAPH was made without the comedy, it could have been much better.
Another fault lies in the length of the film, as the movie drags in the last half. Editing is a definite must. Sanjeev-Darshan have created yet another enjoyable score after Deewane and Mann. The songs, while not always necessary, are melodious and picturized very well.
In conclusion, HDAPH is a decent entertainer that runs strictly on the strength of the acting, music, and a novel plot. If Kaushik had any less to work with, the film would have fallen flat on its face. Subhash Ghai showed last year with Taal, another film starring Anil Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai, that he could make a very good film out of little substance and novelty. Kaushik is not even half as skilled. Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai is a nice film. Not spectacular, just nice.