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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 July 2018

Ten reasons Maine Pyar Kiya is an evergreen tale of young love

Starring Salman Khan as Prem and Bhagyashree as Suman, this film is a story of young love triumphing in the face of familial opposition. Here are 10 reasons why Barjatya's debut film is just as endearing today as it was a quarter of a century ago.

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The birth of Prem: Khan may have received all the accolades, but it was the fictional Prem who became a household name. In fact, Khan's best-loved films - save for Dabangg - are those in which he's retained his famous on screen nom du plume - including Barjatya's Hum Aapke Hain Kaun as well as Andaz Apna Apna, Biwi No 1, Partner and Ready. Unsurprisingly, Khan's next film with Barjatya, due for release this year, is called Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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The wardrobe: Prem makes his first appearance wearing a jacket that can best be described as biker-pirate meets navy officer. It went on to become all the rage, with Khan wearing it to award shows at which he performed in the early 1990s. Suman's outfits were in keeping with her simple-girl image - from shalwaar-kameez suits to modest maxi dresses. And who can forget the "Friend" cap that spawned a million imitations?

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The devil wears red lipstick: Pervin Dastur gave a memorable performance as the curly-haired Seema, who tries every trick in the book to get Prem to marry her. The actress was a stage performer in England when Barjatya spotted her - he thought she looked like Jennifer Grey and that it might be interesting to cast her in a negative role. Just like Baby in Dirty Dancing, Dastur's wicked acting skills, even in a small role, made it clear that nobody puts Seema in a corner.

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The best-ever man Friday: The late comedian Laxmikant Berde played the ever-hungry Manohar bhaiya, who was scared witless of Prem's Papaji (father). Manohar's attempt to steal cigarettes - by struggling to open what was, let's face it, a most intriguing cigarette holder - is one of the most hilarious scenes in the film.

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Catchy dialogue and catchphrases galore: "Ek ladka ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte" (A boy and a girl can never be just friends); "Dosti ka ek usool hai - no sorry, no thank you" (Friendship has one rule - no sorry, no . well, you get it). These epic friendship quotes aside, the film boasted such oft-tossed-about gems as: "Aaj kal darwaze pe knock/lock karna ka zamana nahin raha" (These days, nobody bothers to knock / lock the door); "Abhi mood nahin hai" (I'm not in the mood right now); and "Pyaar sab kuch sikha deta hai, papa" (Love teaches you everything). Cheesy doesn't get more delicious.

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The pigeon that saved the day: Handsome, the white pigeon that played Cupid and carried messages between the young lovers, became a star in his own right. From delivering love letters to collecting the scattered money Prem laboured to earn, this bird was as loyal as he was wise.

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It's Antakshari time: Antakshari, a musical game that involves alphabetised song-singing, got its biggest boost in the form of MPK's nine-minute-long musical sequence. Capitalising on the music of Bollywood's biggest stars and best movies, the scene became so popular that the exact order of songs became something of a given each time a game of living-room Antakshari started.

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On song: Of the almost three-hour run time, the film's 11 songs take up 65 minutes, with four songs - Kabootar Ja, Aaja Shyam Hone Aayi, Dil Deewana and Mere Rang Mein - all within a few minutes of each other.

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The king of weeping fathers: The character actor Alok Nath became a household name after portraying Suman's poor, honest father, who spends most of his on-screen time looking hurt and baffled because his best friend (Rajeev Verma in an unforgettable role as Prem's haughty, scornful dad) suddenly won't have anything to do with him anymore. Nath went on to essay more roles of the kind, both on the big screen and television, and is considered the male equivalent of Nirupa Roy, Bollywood's queen of weeping mothers.

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Young love never goes out of style: Rising above all the music and drama, Prem and Suman's friendship-turned-love saga has a naive charm. The many moods of love - coyness, impatience, celebration, separation and reconciliation - are beautifully captured, and therein lies the true magic of Maine Pyar Kiya. Now back to that rerun.

pmunyal@thenational.ae