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Special Feature: Revisiting ‘Main Hoon Na’ on its 20th anniversary

Not only was this Farah Khan’s big debut as a director but also the start to many iconic films that would be loved by audiences in years to come. It may be hard to believe but ‘Main Hoon Na’ was released 20 years ago today on 30th April 2004. Hindi cinema may have evolved over the years but when it comes to this film it can still be enjoyed even today.

To celebrate 20 years of ‘Main Hoon Na’, will look back at all the reasons why this film was loved so much.

StoryMajor Ram Prasad Sharma (Shah Rukh Khan) is an army man just like his father Brigadier Shekhar Sharma (Naseeruddin Shah). As far as Ram (Khan) can remember it has always been him and his father. It is only when Shekhar (Shah) is on his deathbed that he reveals that he has a wife named Madhu (Kirron Kher) and son named Laxman who he hasn’t seen in twenty years. Ram is shocked to hear this news but forgives his father, his father wishes that his wife and son would also forgive him. Shekhar wants Ram to promise that when he dies both his sons will complete his final rites so that he can be at peace. Ram promises that no matter what he will fulfil his father’s last wish.

Shekhar’s best friend and colleague General Bakshi (Kabir Bedi) knew about his friend’s wife and son and how he had kept this a secret from Ram. He promises to help Ram locate his family. At the same time General Bakshi (Bedi) needs Ram’s help to ensure that a special project involving two countries should continue to take place as it involves a matter of peace and trust.

However not everyone wants peace and General Bakshi has been threatened that his daughter will be harmed if he doesn’t stop with this project. Therefore in order to protect his daughter he wants Ram to go undercover as a student and protect her. While there he can search for his brother too as he is also a student there.

The castIn terms of casting Farah Khan made the right choices when it came to choosing the actors for her characters. Perhaps it is this reason that there was great chemistry all around.

It was the first time that the audience got to see Shah Rukh Khan and Sushmita Sen star opposite one another and boy what a treat that was. Sen played the role of Ms Chandni, the chemistry teacher who is just trying to do her job but her student Ram (Khan) can’t help but distract her.

Another pairing in the film was that of Amrita Rao and Zayed Khan, two actors who sadly we don’t get to see very much of in films. However this film really did bring the best out of them. Rao played the role of Sanjana the daughter of General Bakshi. She was a girl with her own unique style but as a person she was just as beautiful inside as she was on the outside. Farah Khan had said that Ayesha Takia had auditioned for the part of Sanjana and she had done extremely well. However things were not meant to be and Rao took on the role of Sanjana and she did a great job too.

Lucky aka Laxman Prasad Sharma (Zayed Khan) was the popular guy who had girls vying for his attention. For him Sanjana (Rao) was just his best friend but she secretly loved him. This was a pairing that nobody saw coming but surprisingly their chemistry together worked really well and they looked good on screen.

How can we forget the main villain of this story the legendary Suniel Shetty as Raghavan. It was the first time the audience saw Shetty in a role like this and while many were a bit shocked to see their favourite action hero play a negative role, he convinced them all that he was the correct choice. Farah Khan did say in one interview that she had asked different actors to take on this role but for various reasons they couldn’t take up the role. It was a blessing in disguise and Shetty ate that role up like no one else could. He was evil but he played his part convincingly.

There were also some other familiar faces that the audience would have seen. One was Rakhi Sawant who had the role of Micro Mini. Her character didn’t have much to say but the audience will remember her as the glamorous girl who Lucky and the other boys would try to impress.

Tabu also made a quick appearance in one scene where she is seen watching the character Ram dance very badly.

Background music/ ThemesThe background music deserves a special mention because it really made the film what it is, without it perhaps the story telling wouldn’t have had the same impact. Even the themes for the characters really stood out. When the audience is introduced to the villain Raghavan a metallic piece starts to play in the background which gives off this dark yet cool sort of aura. After that every time Raghavan appeared on screen the villain’s theme tune would play so while the main characters didn’t know who the bad guy was the audience always knew.

Even Shah Rukh Khan in his action scenes would have fast paced music with vocals. This added more tension to the drama that was unfolding. In some parts it almost sounded like the ‘Mission Impossible’ (1996) theme but with a twist as Khan’s theme used vocals with high notes to create greater impact.

It would be wrong if we didn’t mention the 70’s Bollywood classics that would play in the background every time Ram saw Ms Chandni. The music usually consisted of guitars, saxophones and violins. It was a great way to get even the older generation connected to the film through its music.MusicIt is very rare when one can say that every song in a film is good but when it comes to this film that maybe true. Anu Malik created magic with this soundtrack. Every song had foot tapping music except for the sad song of course. Javed Akhtar was in charge of writing the lyrics and he did not disappoint with his use of poetic words. A lot of care was taken to ensure the songs had meaning and weren’t just put in there to fill the time.

The partnership between Malik and Akhtar worked tremendously well to create songs that even after two decades can be heard and enjoyed even now.

Tumse milke dil ka was a spectacular song that had qawali elements to it. It was one of those songs that could get anyone up and dancing. Visually to watch the song was exciting with eye catching backgrounds, the main leads dancing their hearts out and the entrances by the female leads now that was unforgettable. Sonu Nigam, Altaf Sabri and Hashim Sabri made this song even more energetic with their vocals.

There were so many upbeat and peppy numbers like gori gori, tumhe jo maine dekha, yeh fizaein and chale jaise hawaien where we are introduced to the characters Sanjana and lucky.

The title track ‘main hoon na’ had three versions. One was a happy version that had Ram assuring his friends and family that he’s there for them, all they have to do is just look once. The tune with the whistle made it even more memorable. This version had Shreya Ghoshal and Sonu Nigam’s vocals showing many characters point of views.

Ranjeet Barot’s vocals could be heard with him rapping in the remix version which had an edgy beat. In the music video the whole college is trying to teach Ram how to dance so he is ready for prom night.

As for the sad version Abhijeet made sure that everyone cried their hearts out with his vocals. Also Malik cleverly used the violins to add to the sadness, the music really did fit the situation perfectly.

There was also the great K.K., Anu Malik, Sunidhi Chauhan and Vasundhara Das who sang for the film. Without them the songs couldn’t have been complete.

ComedyIt would be difficult to mention all the funny moments but we will try to mention a few.

Mrs Kakkar was the Hindi teacher who struggled with her English. Every time she appeared on screen all the characters would run for their life in fear that she would bore them to death with her lectures. However for the audience they couldn’t get enough of her. Bindu played this delightful character and it was one role that she is remembered for dearly.

Boman Irani was the playful principal who usually did the opposite of what he was supposed to say and do. When Ram first introduces himself he specifically tells him not to mention anything related to the army because he is undercover but what does the principal do, he starts saluting and mentioning anything and everything related to the army.

Another scene is when Ram has been sent to the office because he was singing a song for Ms Chandni. The principal asks which song it was at which Ram starts singing. The principal then says ‘yeh mera bhi favourite gana hai.. kaunsa gana hai?’ (This is my favourite song too, what song is this?) it was a hilarious situation that had the audience in splits.

Last but not least was Satish Shah who had such a funny character to play that it must have been difficult to film his scenes. His character is of a teacher who has a problem every time he opens his mouth. Whenever he speaks he sprays the person in front of him with his spit and no one is spared.

There is one scene when Ram visits the staff room to apologise to Ms Chandni but he interferes and almost sprays Ram with his saliva. Ram being an army man manages to escape the situation by doing the famous Matrix move, wowing all the teachers present.

Even Shah Rukh Khan had some comedic scenes which made the audience smile at times. For some reason every time his character would see Ms Chandni he would start to hear violins or even old Bollywood music. Sometimes he would burst out into a romantic number.

Main Hoon Na is a full on entertainer with great music, drama, comedy, romance and some iconic dialogues. It’s time to take a trip back in time and remember the good moments with this film.

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