India 1969
Directed by Mohan Segal.

SAJAN spends its first hour as a fairly typical Bollywood romance, then ends up a whodunnit in which a police inspector tries to untangle a murder that somehow manages to incriminate the entire cast. Rajni (Asha Perekh) is a young, willful dancer who pretends to be having an affair with Ashok (Manoj Kumar), a rich businessman, to entice investors to put money into their her production. When Ashok finds out, he goes to confront her in disguise, but instead finds himself falling in love. Unfortunately a villain from her mother's past finds out about the romance and shows up to start blackmailing the family. He winds up dead, and the police charge just about everyone who has had a speaking part in the film with murder. Despite the novelty ("vastly different from any other story you have seen before on the Indian screen," hypes the copy on the back of the SKY Entertainment DVD), the first half is far too routine to be interesting, and the second half is too clever by half and detached emotionally, something I never thought I'd say about a Bollywood production. The direction is also completely shoddy; in one scene, it appears someone bumped into the camera; other times, the production has the look and feel of someone's home video. A couple of the musical numbers, picturized in gardens, are colorful and lively, and the leads charming enough, and even the overlong antics of character actor Om Prakash (who goes ghost hunting of all things) are tolerable. Some of the bit players, however, are noticably and atrociously bad. SAJAN is an interesting experiment, just not a particularly successful one.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on June 08, 2005.

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