Hum Aapke Hain Koun turns 25 in August: how a single-screen family film became an all-time classic
Hum Aapkke Hain Koun was inspired by Rajshri Productions’ earlier small-budget in-house production Nadiya e Paar (1982), a rural love story.
It’s been 25 years since one of the biggest hits and an all-time classic, Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! Back then, there were factors that ensured that movies had what was called replay value. In Sholay, it was the special effects and stereo sound and dialogue that made the film replayable. Deewaar, because of Amitabh Bachchan’s fiery performance as well as the dialogues. In Rajesh Khanna’s film Dushman, a single song, Vaada tera vaada, was enough to keep the audience enthralled.
There have been many such instances. In fact, this growing popularity of film dialogues prompted the music company Polydor India to start a new trend of releasing the dialogue tracks on cassettes, and in the case of Sholay, which had a weak music, the dialogue cassettes sold many times more than the music album.
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All this glory of repeat viewing was lost to piracy when movies were copied overnight on pirated video cassettes and released on the same day of the theatrical release. In addition, piracy shifted from videocassettes to cable networks, and new films were beamed directly into homes. The Rajshris, however, had the advantage of a distribution network throughout India as well as branches in far-flung locations.
Hum Aapkke Hain Koun…. was inspired by Rajshri Productions’ earlier small-budget home production Nadiya e Paar (1982), a rural love story. Though the film went largely unnoticed in the rest of the country, it was a big hit in some parts of UP, especially eastern UP and Bihar.
Piracy did not affect Hum Aapke Hain Koun…. The company made sure that every copy of the film was in the possession of a security guard assigned by the company and that the copy remained in his possession when the film was not being screened. Moreover, by this time, praise for the film had peaked and every movie lover wanted to see it in theaters.
The films of the 80’s and 90’s offered a varied selection. While Amitabh Bachchan’s films dominated until the mid-80s, the field was open to films with other stars as well. However, in the 90s, a new set of actors broke through with Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Kahn, etc. Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol and Jackie Shroff continue to have their following.
Among all of them, it was in 1994 that Rajshris Hum Aapke Hain Koun… By Rajshris. It was like no other film that had been seen till then. The film was three and a half hours long and contained no less than 14 songs! And there was no solid script, so to speak, to sustain the length or the 14 songs. If the movie had a story to tell, it was in the last 40 minutes or so before it came to a happy ending that left the viewer pleased and satisfied. (Most of them wanted to see the movie again!).