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Mujhse dosti karoge!

(INDIA)

A Yash Raj Films release and production. Produced by Yash Chopra. Executive producer, Mahen Vakil.

Directed, written by Kunal Kohli. Camera (color, widescreen), Gopal Shah; editors, V. Karnik, Ritesh Soni; background music, Babloo Chakraborty; song music, Rahul Sharma; lyrics, Anand Bakshi; art director, Sharmishta Roy; costume designers, Manish Malhotra, Rocky S.; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS Digital), Kunal Mehta, Jayant Vajpayee; choreographer, Ahmed Khan; associate producers, Pamela Chopra, Aditya Chopra, Uday Chopra. Reviewed at Warner Village West End 3, London, Aug. 14, 2002. Running time: 148 MIN. (I: 72 MIN.; II: 76 MIN.).

With: Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukherjee, Satish Shah, Kareena Kapoor, Uday Chopra, Kiran Kumar, Sachin Khedekar, Smita Jayakar, Himani Shivpuri.

(Hindi dialogue)

Hard on the heels of "Mere yaar Id shaadi hai," producer Yash Chopra's well-tooled production machine scores yet again with "Mujhse dosti karoge!," an awesome demo of how to make a pic fly for 2 1/2 hours on technique and star power alone. Fluffy triangle of mistaken love and friendship is shuck, good-looking entertainment that not only revives the career of young matinee idol Hrithik Roshan but also underlines the natural screen charm of actress Rani Mukherjee, who's frequently given extra shine to many an adequate pic. Indian crix mostly knifed the movie, but the public has so far embraced it warmly since opening Aug. 9. In the U.K. alone, it hauled in a stellar $320,000 on its first weekend.

After living for 15 years in London as his father built a computer business, Raj (Roshan) returns home to the Himalayas for a brief visit with his childhood friends, sisters Tina (Kareena Kapoor) and Pooja (Mukherjee). Raj has fallen in love with Tina through her emails; in fact, these were actually written by Pooja, who has fallen in love with the chiseled hunk.

Pooja takes it on the chin when Raj makes a direct beeline for the pouting Tina; but after he returns to London, Pooja just pops up with his favorite homemade cookies. From a stray remark, Raj guesses the truth; they agree to marry, but, on returning home, find her father has passed away. Worse, Raj's dad had promised Tina and Pooja's dad that Raj would marry Tina.

Intermission.

Critic-turned-musicvid director Kunal Kohli pulls all the right levers in pic's first half, with four well-shot musical numbers (in London and, doubling for the Himalayas, Switzerland), using slick editing that compensates for Ahmed Khan's only OK choreography. Kapoor largely reprises her pampered bimbo from "Kabhi khushi kabhie gham," but Roshan proves a smart mover and good dance talent, as well as showing natural chemistry with the gravel-voiced, killer-smile Mukherjee.

Part 2 is maintains a generally light tone, as the "plot" chews over love vs. friendship, and the countdown to the mismatched couple's marriage proceeds. Surprise appearance of an upcoming star helps resolve the romantic equation.

Undoubted highlight of "MDK" is an 11-minute medley midway through Part 2 of classic filmi songs involving the entire cast and staged in one of ace art director Sharmishta Roy's tastefully extravagant sets. Justified by Raj and Pooja's shared love of Hindi pics, compilation cleverly reprises all plot threads before a conclusion that's realized entirely in cinematic terms, sans yards of talk.

Production values are marginally superior to those of "MYKSH," with Gopal Shah's lensing especially clean and sharp. Hindi title roughly means "Let's Be Friends!"
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Author:Elley, Derek; Kohli, Kunal
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:Aug 26, 2002
Words:559
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