Before I begin, I must tell you that I have always loved watching romantic films. Being a 90s kid, I was fond of romantic movies that showcased love through the lens of sensitivity and innocence. Movies such as Mani Ratnam’s ‘Dil Se’ (1998) and Anees Bazmee’s ‘Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha’ would certainly feature on my all-time favourite list.

Then in October 2001, released Gautham Menon’s “Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein”. Starring R. Madhavan, Dia Mirza, and a very young and charming Saif Ali Khan in the lead roles, the film was a light-hearted romantic comedy film with a pinch of salt and pepper. The film might have bombed at the box office in 2001, but it has garnered a lot of fan following in recent times.

A Sweet and Simple Love Story

Loving someone back in the early 2000s used to be an uncomplicated affair. I say this because people did not have a myriad of social media tools to complicate matters. In the film, Madhavan’s character Maddy watches a girl during a rainy evening in Mumbai and it turns out to be a case of Love at first sight. I guess most of us who have seen the film would remember Maddy telling his father ( played by Anupam Kher) ” Dad, Mujhe mil gayi my kind of girl”. This 2-3 scene is decorated with countless traces of innocence and naivety. Also, a sincere thanks to “Mumbai ki barsaat for making this scene memorable.

Tujhe Paa Ke Rahenge Type of a Love Story

After that, Maddy, with a little help from his dad, plans to impress and woo the lovely young lady (Dia Mirza).  Maddy, in his attempt to win the girl’s heart, assumes the identity of Rajiv Samra ( played by a young and charming Saif Ali Khan), a guy to whom the girl is supposed to get engaged.  After Maddy assumes Sam’s identity, he tries whatever he can in his bid to impress the young lady. Now comes the big plot twist. Sam turns out to be none other than Maddy’s biggest rival. After the actual Sam bumps into the picture, Reena is left shaken and heartbroken.

After the revelation,  as one would expect, the film goes into ” Tere bin naa jee sakunga” mode wherein Maddy loses his cool and confronts Sam in a secluded parking lot, where he is about to break Sam’s jaw, but changes his mind at the last minute.

The Comic Timing is Quite Impressive

The story might sound a bit too predictable, but it has quite a lot of moments to keep the viewer on the edge of his/her seat. Not only is Vrajesh Hirjee’s comic timing spot on, but several comic scenes and sequences featuring Madhavan himself are just as impressive.

The scene wherein  Maddy goes on a date with Reena thinking it is her birthday is enough to make anybody laugh. A date at a Taj Hotel ends up being a ‘sasta jugaad’ at a Panipuri ka thela.   Also, who can forget Maddy gulping down big and juicy chunks of chicken at a restaurant after pretending to be a non-veg lover? He then quietly sneaks into the restroom and vomits out everything.  Well, it certainly would be no hyperbole to say that these sequences are enough to make anybody burst into laughter.  Moreover, the lead pair’s effortless and youthful chemistry looks believable and sweet.

Not to Forget, the Music is Just as Good

A lot of us fell in love with the young and stylish Saif when he picks up the guitar and sings “Dil ko tum se pyaar hua”  Vocals, provided by Roop Kumar Rathod sound easy on the ears. Harris Jayaraj’s music is spot on. There’s a song for every mood.  There’s melody of the highest order in the song ” Zara Zara” sung by the evergreen Jayashree Ramnath. The song aptly portrays the vulnerability and fragility present in the leading lady’s heart. Then comes “Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana” sung by KK ( I must admit  I sang the same song when the girl I had a crush on declined my proposal 🙂 ). Lyrics, penned by Sameer Anjaan, are easy on the ears and do not sound laboured and heavy.  Even 17 years down the line, RHTDM’s music sounds as fresh and charming as it sounded back in 2001.

Your Typical Bollywood Love Story

The film had all the ingredients of a typical Bollywood romantic comedy. Madhavan, with his ‘bad-boy’ image, became the heartthrob of many. Saif, as Rajiv Samra, was your elegant and sophisticated NRI guy with a huge stock of one-liners at his disposal, and not to forget, Dia Mirza was your young, charming, and naive girl who falls in love with the wrong guy at the wrong time.

One would agree that Saif turns out to be the unlikely villain towards the end and Maddy wins over the girl despite being rough and flawed. The ending was exactly what all of us wanted it to be. It had that ” feel-good” factor attached to it.

Despite being one of the most well-packed romantic comedy flicks of the year, RHTDM  performed way below the expectations. It is quite astounding to see that the film’s popularity, over all these years, has grown by leaps and bounds. The urban youth has connected well with the film. They love it for the sheer simplicity and raw charm.

It would be no hyperbole to say that Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein occupies a special space in the hearts of the film’s fans.

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