The film is a cute love story (as the title, translated as 'Tale of Love', suggests) of college students Raj and Nikita. In many ways, the formulaic approach to cinema in the early 1990s guides it. Yet, some good acting and excellent chemistry between Aamir Khan and Neelam make it a good film. Here are some highlights/notes:
1. The pehli mulaaqaat: The first time Raj and Nikita meet is well portrayed. The classroom scene, with Raj getting to class late, intent on being noticed by the 'fantabulous' (as described in the film) Nikita is nicely done. Ditto to a discussion on Physics and the speed of light leading to the noor (i.e. light) reflecting off Nikita's face!
2. The scene in which Saeed Jaffrey (Neelam's mama-ji) calls Raj a word smith. I particularly liked Raj's bold response to mama-ji's question on the lines of 'what do you see on this blank piece of paper?', to which Raj responded: 'the state of the heart that has no love in it'. Waah! All right, so I admit that my waah-waahs are easy to earn, but the delivery of the dialog must count for something, and that is top-notch in this sequence.
3. Aamir Khan and Neelam are fantastic. The movie offers a decent reflection of college life back in the early 1990s, and the two play the role of romantic partners rather well. This ends up being the most important factor in the film's favor. (I was missing Neelam after I watched the film, so I posted this entry.) Here, Neelam gives him a piece of her mind.
4. The film is accompanied by a good soundtrack. Tip Tip Baarish is the most popular of the lot (watch it below). The song appears after a nice scene in which there is a little party and a game of lighting candles with one match stick. Dil Mera Deewana Pyar Ka (watch it here)and Yaad Teri Aati Hai (part of this post) were popular love songs of their time, and are placed well. The film starts off with Aashiq Deewana hoon), in which Raj is seen singing the words 'Mein Aawara' to the tune of La Bamba. Just another instance of adaptation without due credit to the original (which in this case was also an adaptation). Of course, we still find, as we always have, a certain element of joy and value in singing around trees!
5. The formulaic approach is the biggest downside to the film. Then again, which film was immune to this back then? Afsana Pyar Ka could have done without one sentence in particular: Mein tumhare bina jee nahin sakta/sakti (I cannot live without you). The sentence is used often and loses its effectiveness. That and the fighting at the end. Anyone miss those mandatory fight sequences? Still, definitely more believable than the car chase in Race (2008).
6. The boxing match was good, except that it came about a year after the boxing match in Dil (1990), also starring Aamir!
7. Finally, a note on the good-turned-evil mama-ji. Saeed Jaffrey played that role quite well. Yet, because of his dislike for his niece's lover's 'blood' belonging to a certain family, he turns antagonistic, albeit for a third of the film.
I am boldly going with three and a half stars for Afsana Pyar Ka. 'Boldly' because it has been dismissed as 'horrible' by too many people over the years. Yet, by the only barometer that matters -- how one finds a film after watching it, as opposed to after hearing or reading about it -- I found the results to be quite the opposite. It is a love story at its core, and as that, it works.
The film is admittedly in the lower tier of Aamir Khan works, but good and entertaining nevertheless. Watch it for the laughs and the love story, for Aamir and Neelam, and chances are you will like it. Then again, maybe my being a die-hard Aamir Khan fan, and a mighty fan of the stunning Neelam, clouds my judgment. If you think that is the case, please feel free to disagree.
Movie rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
Soundtrack rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
My classification: U/G