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35 years of Prem Pratigya, a tale of unspoken love and sacrifice

Cast: Mithun Chakraborty, Madhuri Dixit, Neelu Phule, Vinod Mehra, Satish Kaushik and Ranjeet Music: Bappi Lahiri Director: Bapu Prem ...

Cast: Mithun Chakraborty, Madhuri Dixit, Neelu Phule, Vinod Mehra, Satish Kaushik and Ranjeet

Music: Bappi Lahiri

Director: Bapu

Prem Pratigya is a romantic drama film released 35 years ago on 19th of May, 1989. A remake of a Sivakumar starrer Tamil film Vandichakkaram (1980), Prem Pratigya is a rare “remake” film that got more critical acclaim than the original. It was also a decent commercial success and was a popular choice for home viewing throughout the early 90s.

Storyline: Prem Pratigya starts with the depiction of a unique bond shared by Mohan (Neelu Phule) and his granddaughter Laxmi (Madhuri Dixit). While Mohan is a hardworking cargo Rickshaw puller, Laxmi is a beautiful and no-nonsense “tiffin career” girl, who believes in earning money through hard work. One day, Laxmi comes across Raja (Mithun), a local ruffian, who collects protection money from the shopkeepers. Laxmi starts hating him but Raja helps her ward off the advances from another local goon Kallu (Ranjeet), he even gives her shelter when Mohan passes away. Laxmi comes to know that Raja and his friend Charan (Satish Kaushik) were once innocent villagers who came to the big, bad city of Mumbai for work, at that time they were helped by Mohan. Slowly, Raja and Laxmi begin to like each other. Laxmi to an extent mends Raja’s wayward nature, just when everything between them is hunky dory, confusion arises when a professor (Vinod Mehra), who secretly loved Laxmi proposes marriage to her which means a stable life for Laxmi. What happens next forms the rest of the story.

Performances: Mithun has always performed to the best of his abilities under the direction of Bapu and his portrayal of Raja is no exception here. He gives a tour de force performance as Raja, a local don. It’s a complex character but Mithun makes it endearing and relatable for the audience. Madhuri looks completely in sync with the character of Laxmi and gives an excellent performance, she was nominated for the best actress Filmfare award, and rightfully so. Bapu masterfully uses her million-dollar smile and charming screen presence aptly. The always-reliable Vinod Mehra and Satish Kaushik are superb in their respective roles. Neelu Phule is excellent as “Daddu” and so is Ranjeet, delightfully evil as Kallu Dada.

The cinematography by Baba Azmi is another high point of this film. The experienced cameraman has captured tender, emotional moments as well as fight scenes with equal elan.

Music by Bappi Lahiri, who was at the top of his game back then is melodious as well as peppy. The impactful background score with thumping beats, whenever Mithun arrives at the scene, is still a favourite with the masses. The lilting melody of Pyaar kabhi kam nahi karna, the fast-paced sarcastic notes of Sheeshe ki umar pyale ki (superbly written by Indeevar) and the massy bahon mein botal are still very popular.

Yes, the pre-climax looks rushed and could have been better but overall Prem Pratigya is still a decent watch for those old-school romantics who still believe that love can conquer all vices with its tenderness and commitment i.e. “Pratigya”.    

By Ayushmaan Mitra

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