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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 7.08.14

Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! has just turned 20. t2 picks 10 reasons why this box-office topper is still a fun watch...

The opening sequence Filmed on Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit singing the title track, the opening sequence was shot in black and white, even as the credits played out. We love: Salman still looking like the boyish Prem of Maine Pyar Kiya and Madhuri’s million-watt smile.


She may have made our hearts go dhak dhak in many a film, but it was as the spunky Nisha that Madhuri stole our hearts. The younger daughter of Professor Choudhary (Anupam Kher), Nisha was the devoted daughter, the loving sister and the perfect girlfriend. Nisha loves “Chocolate… lime juice… ice-cream… toffee….”, is the life of any gathering and just has to flash her killer smile to win over anyone.

We love: Nisha’s turn from a childlike girl in her 20s to a responsible woman of the world when her elder sister Pooja (Renuka Shahane) dies.

salman khan AS prem

Five years after Maine Pyar Kiya, Salman was back with his boyish smile and easy charm. Mandolin in hand and a smile on his lips, Salman’s Prem was the ideal son and brother, sharing a unique and heart-warming bond with his bhabhi Pooja. Prem is the quintessential heart-throb… his white open-top jeep has ‘Boy of the Year’ written on it. Salman’s present-day image may be that of a toughie, but 20 years ago he was Bolly’s poster lover boy who could say so much through his eyes.

We love: How he takes off his shirt in the Pehla pehla pyaar hai number… but keeps his white vest on.

the nisha-prem romance

“Hum aapke hain koun?” Prem asks Nisha and the rest remains unspoken. Madhuri and Salman, who had shared screen space earlier in Saajan and Dil Tera Aashiq, conjured up some fresh chemistry. Remember that scene where they first meet and he mistakes her for an accountant and she thinks he’s her dad’s student who has come begging for grace marks… that scene by the swimming pool where he reaches out to touch her back and she turns around and pushes him into the pool… that scene where she sits in his jeep and he tells her: “Aaj pehli baar koi ladki hamari jeep ki front seat pe baithi hai.” And yes, the mock cough “Oohooo oohoo” became the code word between many a lover.

We love: The tender moment between the two after Pehla pehla pyaar… he carries her in his arms and lays her gently on the bonnet of his jeep. He inches towards her, but she tells him “Koi aa raha hai.” They look at each other and he moves away with a smile.

renuka shahane as pooja

The smile that had charmed us in Surabhi worked its magic in HAHK — and made Renuka Shahane a household name. Renuka made her Pooja the ideal woman and wife: the “sarva-guna sampanna ghar ki Lakshmi” who reads the Ramayana and prompts her devar Prem to sing: “Bhabhi tum khushiyon ka khazana.” Even now, a dozen or more watches later, our hearts skip a beat when Pooja misses a step and tumbles down the stairs. Even now, there isn’t a dry eye in the audience when she dies.

We love: The relationship between Prem and Pooja… lo chali main apni devar ki baaraat leke….


The snow-white Spitz was the life and soul of HAHK. “Tuffy never bites… he only loves,” Prem tells Nisha. Tuffy can polish off a plate of laddoos and drink up a bottle of cola in a jiffy. Tuffy’s word is final — from umpiring the family’s cricket matches to deciding the final plot twist. Even today, Tuffy remains top of our minds, courtesy Karan Johar’s rapid-fire round in Koffee with Karan.

We love: That scene towards the end when Tuffy, the handkerchief with Nisha’s necklace and note for Prem in its mouth, looks once at Prem and then at Rajesh (Mohnish Behl) and ultimately decides to give it to Rajesh, thus revealing to him that Nisha and Prem are a couple.


Alok Nath was the soft-spoken ‘Kaka’ Kailashnath, a man who has devoted his life to bringing up his nephews Rajesh and Prem. Anupam Kher was the fun-loving Professor Choudhary who butters up his wife (Reema Lagoo) by cooking her favourites dishes because: “Ragda Pattice plus makkhan is equal to biwi khush!” Mohnish Behl, saddled with negative roles till then, impressed with his quiet act as Rajesh, making our hearts go out to him in the end. Laxmikant Berde as Lallu gave the film its comic as well as emotional moments, touching a chord with his equation with Pooja bhauji. The side players — Ajit Vachani as the supportive Maama and Bindu as his complaining wife and the sher-spouting Satish Shah and wife Himani Shivpuri as the family friends — were top-notch. And who can forget Rita (Sahila Chadha) and her secret admirer Bhola Prasad (Dilip Joshi) who imagines her as Shakuntala to his Dushyant whenever he bumps, quite literally, into her?

We love: The bond between brothers Prem and Rajesh and the equation between the samdhis… “Raaz ki baat batayein samdhiji ghayal hai, aaj bhi jab samdhan ki khanakti payal hai!”


Today, most of those outfits would make us cringe, but each of Madhuri’s looks in HAHK remains memorable. From the green-and-white ensemble in Joote do to the red lace dress in Yeh mausam ka jadoo, the patchwork jacket in Nisha’s introduction scene to the baby pink dress and string of pearls in Pehla pehla pyaar, the orange churidar-kurta in Mai ni mai to the purple-and-gold sari of Didi tera devar. Almost every teen and tween then had queued up at the local tailor to get a replica of the Madhuri look in HAHK, with the purple sari selling in bulk.

We love: That iconic scene just before Didi tera devar in which Nisha in her purple-and-gold sari walks down the stairs with Prem gaping, mouth wide open.

THE family and festive feel

Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! brought the fun back into family time and made festivals larger-than-life. The big fat Rajesh-Pooja wedding was F.U.N. The family getting together for cricket matches and passing-the-parcel games made for a great watch. India learnt more about its rituals — stealing the groom’s shoes at a wedding, sangeet gatherings and godh-bharai ceremonies.

We love: The passing-the-parcel game, which is almost a 20-minute sequence. The highlight? Anupam Kher enacting Veeru’s drunk scene from Sholay.

...and a few reasons to the contrary

HAHK is unwatchable today

1) Because it is around three hours too long

2) Because it has around 14 songs too many

3) Because it has Salman Khan behaving like an idiot

4) Because it has Madhuri Dixit dressed like an overdone Christmas tree in summer (right)

5) Because parts of it are regressive with a capital R and parts saccharine sweet with a capital S and S.

6) Because the film triggered a flood of ‘family entertainers’ that drowned us for a decade.

Text: Priyanka Roy

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