Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Yash Chopra|
|Produced by||Yash Chopra|
T. Subbarami Reddy
|Written by||Kamna Chandra|
|Edited by||Keshav Naidu|
|Distributed by||Yash Raj Films|
|Box office||₹26 crore (equivalent to ₹208 crore or US$30 million in 2018)|
Chandni (lit. moonlight) is a 1989 Indian romantic musical drama film, directed and produced by Yash Chopra from a screenplay written by Kamna Chandra, Arun Kaul, Sagar Sarhadi and Umesh Kalbagh. The film stars Sridevi as Chandni Mathur, a young effervescent woman who is torn between two suitors. Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, and Waheeda Rehman are featured in supporting roles.
The eighties marked a professional setback in Chopra's career, as several films he directed and produced in that period were critical and commercial failures. After a series of failed action movies, Chopra decided to return to his roots and make a romantic musical, a film with all the hallmarks of what has come to be known as the "Yash Chopra style": heroine-oriented, romantic, emotional, depicting the lifestyle of the super elite, with melodic music used in songs picturised in foreign locations. The film marked the first collaboration between Chopra and Sridevi. Chandni released to widespread success, grossing ₹26 crores, becoming the third highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1989, whereas it's soundtrack became the best selling album of the year as well as the decade with more than 10 million copies sold. The huge success of the film and its soundtrack were instrumental in ending the era of violent action films in Indian Cinema and rejuvenating the romantic musical genre. The success of film further reinforced Sridevi's position as the top female star of the era. Over the years, Chandni is hailed as one of the greatest Indian films of all time and one of Chopra's finest movies.
At the 37th National Film Awards, it won Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and at the 35th Filmfare Awards, it received 10 nominations including for the Best Film, winning Best Cinematography.
Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) meets Chandni (Sridevi) at a wedding of a relative and falls instantly in love with her and pursues her relentlessly until she agrees to date him. Eventually, they are engaged to be married soon.
His family is against this marriage because of the vast difference in their social status, but that does not bother Rohit and he relentlessly pursues his goal.
One day, Rohit wants to surprise his beloved with something special - so he calls Chandni and asks her to wait for him on the terrace of her house. As she's waiting, the afternoon's silence is broken by the roaring blades of a helicopter, from which a smiling Rohit appears to shower Chandni with lots of red rose petals from the helicopter. After five minutes of this delight, he disappears and she is surrounded by silence. When she reaches home downstairs, she has a bad feeling that something ominous has happened.
After she reaches inside her home, the phone rings and Chandni picks it up. She is informed by Rohit's family that Rohit has been hospitalised. She immediately makes her way to the hospital ICU unit where Rohit is admitted in critical condition!
His family, who are all at the hospital, greet her with stony expressions and accuse her of being the cause of Rohit's accident. Learning that he is paralyzed on his right side, his family continues to berate her.
Rohit soon realises that because of his physical disability he would never be able to fulfil the role of a good husband. He decides to let Chandni go. Heartbroken that Rohit no longer wants her in his life, Chandni moves to Bombay.
In Bombay, she starts working for a travel agency headed by Lalit (Vinod Khanna), a handsome and charming widower. He soon falls in love with Chandni and asks her to marry him. After a few years of dating and wooing, she finally agrees to this and meets Lalit's mother (Waheeda Rehman), who is so delighted to have such a pretty daughter-in-law.
Like a twist of fate, Lalit meets Rohit on a business trip to Switzerland where Rohit is receiving treatment from professional therapists and physicians. Rohit is able to stand now and no longer needs a wheelchair. Eventually, Lalit and Rohit become friends, sharing their love-stories with each other, singing in the joy of love, unaware that they are singing about, and are in love with, the same woman.
Back in India, Rohit shows up one evening to meet his friend Lalit and Chandni opens the door. They are both delighted to see each other with tears in their eyes. To her amazement, he can now stand on both feet without stumbling and also does a little dance. They are both so keyed up with emotion and Rohit seizes this opportunity to propose to her. However, at this point, Chandni has to tell him the truth, very much to his dismay, that—she is committed to someone else called "Lalit".
Obviously, Rohit becomes angry at her betrayal, but Chandni asks him what he would have done in her place, to which he has no reply and so, regretfully, leaves. As Rohit and Lalit had become good friends in Switzerland, Lalit invites him to his wedding.
In all the subsequent ceremonies and meetings/parties, Rohit and Chandni pretend to be strangers to spare Lalit.
On the day of the wedding, Rohit drinks a bit too much in order to drive away the pain of the loss of a beloved one, and starts mumbling and then stumbles down a flight of stairs. Chandni, immediately upon seeing this behaviour of his, cannot contain herself any longer and screams/yearns for him to be saved. She comes so close to him, hugs him and starts crying, at which point Lalit realises that she is the woman Rohit was always talking about, but hiding her identity.
Fortunately, Rohit is rushed to the hospital and the doctor says the condition is not too serious. Soon after, Rohit regains his health and this time he proposes to Chandni again, to which she agrees after receiving acceptance from her fiancé Lalit. Lalit and his mother share a brief sad moment as they watch Chandni and Rohit rekindle and reconcile. They finally get married and live happily ever after.
- Sridevi as Chandni Mathur
- Rishi Kapoor as Rohit Gupta
- Vinod Khanna as Lalit Khanna
- Waheeda Rehman as Mrs. Khanna (Lalit's mother)
- Sushma Seth as Mrs. Gupta (Rohit's mother)
- Mita Vasisht as Kiran (Chandni's friend)
- Anant Mahadevan as Brij (Kiran's Husband)
- Achala Sachdev
- Beena Banerjee
- Manohar Singh as Rohit's father
- Ram Gopal Bajaj as Shiv Prasad Mathur
- Lalit Tiwari
- Suhas Joshi
- Renu Arya
- Bharat Bhushan as Doctor
- Anupam Kher as Ramesh (Rohit's Brother- In - Law)
- Juhi Chawla as Devika (cameo)
The music of Chandni was composed by Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia, known together as Shiv-Hari. The lyrics were provided by Anand Bakshi. In addition to the songs listed below, there was a recurring instrumental love melody, not part of a full song. That melody was further developed into the song "Kabhi Main Kahoon" for Chopra's next movie Lamhe, also scored by Shiv-Hari.
The film's soundtrack was a major success in India and sold more than 10 million copies, becoming the best selling soundtrack album of the year as well as the decade . It is believed that the soundtrack helped bring back the romantic musical genre, with its songs and lyrics all being critically acclaimed, along with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak the previous year and Maine Pyar Kiya the same year. According to Yash Raj Films, the soundtrack went four times Platinum by the day of the premiere. By the 25th week, it went 25 times Platinum, a new standard in the music industry.
|1.||"Mere Haathon Mein"||Lata Mangeshkar||05:34|
|2.||"Mehbooba"||Lata Mangeshkar, Vinod Rathod||04:53|
|3.||"Main Sasural Nahi Jaaungi"||Pamela Chopra||04:06|
|4.||"Mitwa (Tere Mere Honton Pe)"||Lata Mangeshkar, Babla Mehta||04:31|
|5.||"Aa Meri Jaan"||Lata Mangeshkar||04:21|
|7.||"Chandni O Meri Chandni"||Sridevi, Jolly Mukherjee||04:32|
|8.||"Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"||Suresh Wadkar, Anupama Deshpande||03:25|
|9.||"Parbat Se Kaali"||Asha Bhosle, Vinod Rathod||04:22|
|10.||"Tu Mujhe Suna"||Nitin Mukesh, Suresh Wadkar||04:30|
|11.||"Mere Haathon Mein"||Instrumental||05:47|
Reception and legacy
Chandni received highly positive reviews upon its release with critics highlighting the film's impact in being instrumental in bringing an end to an era of violent action movies in Indian Cinema and rejuvenating the genre of romantic musical. According to iDiva, Chandni was "more an event and less a movie. Even as its shooting rolled on the sets, the film was a constant subject of discussion in the press." Chandni emerged as one of the biggest blockbusters of 1989 with The Hindu stating that "the film opened to full houses and distributors had to drastically increase the number of theatres."' It was cited by Times of India as "one of the most watched films of Indian Cinema." Hindustan Times featured the movie in its list of 'Yash Chopra's Greatest Hits' saying "it was instrumental in ending the era of violence in Bollywood and bringing back the romance into Hindi films."
The film consolidated Sridevi's position as the top female star of the era. Describing Sridevi's performance in Chandni, Indiatimes wrote "True to her screen-name, she was an epitome of radiance, warmth and vivacity. She effortlessly introduced us to the powerful streaks, her classic, angelic character was laden with." The scene where she confronts Rishi Kapoor was ranked by Rediff as one of the "Ten Best Scenes from Yash Chopra Films." While Sridevi topped the Hindustan Times' list of Yash Chopra's "Top 5 Heroines," CNN-IBN ranked her no. 1 on its list of "Yash Chopra's 10 Most Sensuous Heroines," saying that "Yash Chopra immortalised Sridevi as the perfect Chandni."
The titular character became one of the most famous characters of Hindi cinema with India Today including it in its list of 'Yash Chopra's Iconic Characters'. CNN-IBN listed it among 'The Cult Characters Yash Chopra Created' while NDTV featured it in its list of 'Yash Chopra's Greatest Creations' stating that the film established Sridevi "as the nation's sweetheart" and "reinforced her position as the reigning actress in Bollywood."
Sridevi's iconic 'Chandni Look' revolutionized fashion in North India and became synonymous with the actress, with Rediff stating "A luminous Sridevi slips into every possible design in white for a major chunk of the romance and no one complains." Speaking about the look, Yash Chopra told film critic Rajeev Masand "While making Chandni, I had a vision of who I wanted this girl to be. I told Sridevi that most of her costumes in the film would be in white." The Tribune wrote "Leena Daru scored a winner again when she created the 'Chandni Look' for Sridevi. Every street corner sold the salwar-kameez and dupatta that gave the heroine a refreshingly understated look, rarely seen on the Indian screen." while Mid Day reported "Leena Daru dressed Bollywood's beauties for several years. But it was her simple white churidar and kurta with the leheriya dupatta for Sridevi in the film Chandni that gave the Southern belle an angelic image and caused the Chandni Chowk stores to hit the jackpot with thousands of copies." BizAsia described the effect of the look saying "Chopra never quite got over his Sridevi hangover and almost always chose to present his lead heroines in similar outfits (Juhi Chawla in Darr (1993), Madhuri Dixit in Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)), but none of them became half as iconic as Sridevi did after Chandni." The 'Chandni Look' was also highlighted in the film's famous Tandav dance sequence by Sridevi, where Rediff said "the actress transformed into a mythical goddess in a white number." Sridevi's chiffons became equally popular with Indian Express writing "This movie made the chiffon sari a must-have in every Indian woman's wardrobe."
The music of Chandni became a multi-Platinum success with Sridevi's famous dance number "Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan Hain" finding a place in the Rediff chart of 'Bollywood's Top 25 Wedding Songs.' The actress also lent her voice to the film's popular title-track 'Chandni O Meri Chandni' which featured among the 'Top 5 Songs' of Yash Chopra by Hindustan Times. Talking about her role in Chandni, Sridevi said it was "a lively and vibrant girl in the first half (who) becomes quiet and goes into a shell in the second half. I loved that transformation and when you have a director like Yash Chopra at the helm, you can be sure that he will make the best out of everything."
- Best Film - Yash Chopra & T. Subbarami Reddy
- Best Director - Yash Chopra
- Best Actress - Sridevi
- Best Actor - Rishi Kapoor
- Best Supporting Actor - Vinod Khanna
- Best Supporting Actress - Waheeda Rehman
- Best Music - Shiv-Hari
- Best Lyricist - Anand Bakshi - "Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"
- Best Male Singer - Suresh Wadkar - "Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"
- Yahoo. "Best of Yash Chopra".
- Rediff. "The Very Best of Yash Chopra".
- TOI. "Top 10 Yash Chopra Films".
- "India Today". India Today. Thomson Living Media India Limited. 15 (1): 103. 1990.
Yash Chopra's homage to good old-fashioned romance, is making it to the top. There are no fights, no villains, no politicians: "Nobody even shouts." says Chopra. Yet, the film is such a hit that many mini Chandnis are in the pipeline. Chopra sees the return of melody to Hindi film music as one of the reasons for his success: four platinum discs were sold by the time the film was released. But the diehard romanticist believes that a love story well told will neverfail at the box-office. He might be right. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak at the end of the decade and Ek Duje Ke Liye, Love Story, Ram Teh Ganga Maili and Betaab certainly had the audience spellbound.
- "India Today". India Today. Living Media: 342. 1994.
Then, in 1988 Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, and later Maine Pyar Kiya and Chandni heralded the return of melody to Indian cinema.
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- CNN-IBN. "Yash Chopra's 10 Most Sensuous Heroines".
- India Today. "Yash Chopra's iconic characters".
- CNN-IBN. "The cult characters Yash Chopra created".
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