SYNOPSIS - ISHQ
("LOVE")

  1. Ranjit Rai (RR) is a very wealthy man who believes the poor are a different species, beneath his contempt. Horrified that his servant has dared to touch him when preventing his fall, he scrambles to disinfect himself. His brother-in-law (Johnny Lever), helps. Lever refuses to leave because his late sister instructed him to stay with her husband until he is dead and cremated. RR is highly displeased by this final act of his wife. 

  2. Mr. Harban Lal (HL)'s attitude toward the poor exceeds even RR's in its inhumanity. He believes that, rather than eradicating poverty, the poor should be eradicated -- like vermin. He wants to build a five star hotel but the inhabitants of his chosen site will not vacate. Worse: his daughter has taken up their cause, as her best friend is a resident of the disputed land. His assistant commiserates with him on his daughter, the headstrong Madhu.

  3. HL's younger brother, Brijesh, appears, having returned early from a business trip in Germany. The occasion: his daughter has married her poor yet devoted lover, the son of the family driver. HL is outraged: the daughter of a family that pays attention even to the pedigrees of its pets has married the son of a servant! He throws them all out, swearing that he'd have killed his daughter before letting her commit such atrocity. Brijesh reminds him that even the sun and moon have eclipses, and predicts that HL may one day find himself in a similar situation.

  4. HL and RR meet. They trade friendly insults regarding HL's baldness and RR's darker complexion. RR asks HL to come along with him; he's off to see Brijesh's daughter as a possible match for his son. HL breaks the scandalous news that her sister has married a servant's son. Shaken, RR abandons the plan; instead the two of them go to consult a lawyer about ways to safeguard their children against such misfortune.  

  5. The lawyer, Gokhale, informs them that once their children come of age, nothing can stop them from marrying where they please. HL begs him to think of something; money is no object. Gokhale hands him a marriage certificate: if he can get his daughter's signature in the correct place, and then obtain the chosen boy's signature, Gokhale will file the certificate and voila: the two will be legally married. RR, impressed, wants one for his son as well.

  6. RR's son (AJAY DEVGAN) and Ajay's friend Raja (AAMIR KHAN) sell phony lizard oil that supposedly cures any ailment. RR appears, furious at the embarrassment of his son hawking tonics outside his very office building. Ajay says that since his father will no longer supply him with spending money, he has no choice but to go into business. RR says he doesn't care what Ajay does, as long as it's not outside his office, adding that until Ajay quits hanging around with Raja the mechanic, he won't see a penny.

  7. At the bank, Ajay is out of luck: RR has given orders to turn down Ajay's checks. Ajay calls his "dad," who shows up in the person of Raja. They swindle money out of the bank manager; then Ajay calls his father and pretends to be the bank manager reporting. RR, infuriated, vows to come immediately. Meanwhile Raja demands to know who was "impersonating" him and giving false directions regarding Ajay's access to funds. RR appears, and is mistaken as an impostor by the bank clerk.

  8. Ajay almost signs the marriage certificate, buried as it is beneath a bundle of property contracts, but Uncle (Lever) is there to remind him never to sign a paper without reading it. Raja shows up -- distracted, Ajay signs the certificate and runs off. Impressed by Ajay, HL offers to get his daughter to sign the same certificate. RR is thrilled. HL is confident of success; he says his daughter is as gentle and tractable as a cow.

  9. Kajal (KAJOL)'s birthday. Madhu (JUHI CHAWLA) gives her a present, the shiny wrapping of which distracts Ajay; he hits Madhu's car and her. Madhu is upset, and unimpressed with Raja, who orchestrates the recompensation for damages. He gives her an extra 500 Rs.. For what? she wants to know. For this. [No spoilers!] She retaliates in kind, giving him 5,000 Rs. -- for this. That's only 4,000, Raja says. Yes, Madhu agrees; the other 1000 is a tip.

  10. In the store. Raja is still very angry about Madhu. Meanwhile, a maharajah is so impressed with the statue that Ajay has...rearranged...that he decides to follow in the proud tradition of Shah Jehan and cut off the hands of the creator. Madhu and Raja have a run in.

  11. Madhu agrees to sign the papers if and when her dad signs a contract promising the disputed land will remain in the hands of the tenants. He signs -- and so does she.

  12. Raja is fed up with Ajay's moping lovesick demeanor. He tells Ajay to forget about Kajal -- another woman will come along soon enough. Ajay sees Kajal and heads on over -- a man who's arranged for the pipe to be cut cries for him to look down, fool -- Ajay does and flips out [too bad he can't see the wire and harness like we can; then he'd feel better!]. Raja goes to rescue him.

  13. They run into Kajal. Raja tells her that Ajay is mad with love for her, etc.. Ajay tells him to get lost, and declares his feelings his own way.

  14. Madhu flees her dad's wedding plans by going to Ooty, a hill station. She takes Kajal along. RR decides to send Ajay after her, but Ajay refuses to even consider some random girl his father has chosen for him. Raja castigates him for disrespecting his father. He declares that they're both going, and then, after RR's departure, explains that Ajay's betrothed is none other than Madhu, and Kajal is with her. The plan: off to Ooty where Ajay will romance Kajal, and Raja will handle Madhu. 

  15. Madhu, having explained to Kajal that her betrothed will have a red rose in hand, is shocked when Raja enters with said rose. At arrival, Madhu schemes to send the guys with Bahadur, a driver who has instructions to make their lives a bit more difficult.

  16. Bahadur informs Madhu that the two have been killed in a car crash. He wants to stay at her place because he fears their ghosts. Madhu then receives the scare of her life.

  17. Infuriated, Madhu slaps Raja. Kajal remonstrates her: they could have been killed by her sabotage of the brakes, and if she can't take jokes, she shouldn't play them!

  18. A sulky Raja goes to leave town. Madhu intercepts him and apologizes. She says he can't leave until he's forgiven her. A spectator says that Raja is very lucky, because in his forty years of marriage his wife has never apologized to him. Instead, Raja and Madhu kiss -- and Raja recites a poem: What sort of wine was it that you made me drink, that has moved my whole system?

  19. Return from Ooty. HL and RR aren't quite prepared for the sight that greets them at the airport. After enduring the indignity of indigents' company during the press photos, HL demands that RR bring forth the marriage certificate and end this charade. RR says no; he'll deal with the interlopers in the most final of ways. 

  20. HL buys the garage where Raja works and orders him fired. Raja asks HL: You threw me out of a job, but how are you going to throw me out of your daughter's heart? RR calls after him: We bought this garage so you could be the owner -- all you must do is sign this contract as surety that you'll never so much as look at Madhu again. Raja starts to shred it, but Kajal stops him, asks why he's changing his mind now? After all, they were just playacting in order to get their hands on the wealth of their lvoers. So sign it! Raja does. RR wants to know what it will take to buy Kajal out of Ajay's life. She says he must drink a cup of tea prepared by her hands. RR protests: he never drinks or eats with the poor. Raja reminds RR that they are no longer poor: they own the garage. RR and HL agree to drink the tea. Kajal makes chai -- Raja is shocked -- it's 25 million Rs. chai! He wants to taste it -- gee, it tastes pretty ordinary! Say, if 25 million couldn't change the taste of tea, how could it change a lover's intentions? Outraged, HL and RR set their goons on Raja and Kajal. Ajay saves the day, tells his dad that he will marry Kajal tomorrow in court. His dad produces the wedding certificate, which Madhu burns. The fathers vow to destroy their love -- the lovers vow this is impossible, and that anyone who tries to destroy love will be destroyed in the process. (INTERMISSION)

  21. Gaitonde, the banker who was fired due to Raja and Ajay's antics in the beginning of the film vows to have revenge on the two. Uncle (Lever) shows up -- bets the banker he has eleven fingers. Gaitonde takes the bet. Uncle counts backwards on one hand -- 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 -- stops and asks all how much is 6 + 5. 11! He wins. Runs off with Gaitonde's last 1000 Rs.. Gaitonde pursues. A man is standing looking at a hole yelling "25! 25!" Confused, Gaitonde goes to look -- the man pushes him in and yells, "26! 26!"

  22. Both Ajay and Madhu have run away from home. Brijesh shows up to gloat, offering congratulatory sweets since he's heard that Madhu is being married at the courthouse tomorrow. Offers HL a gun to follow through on his earlier promise (to kill his daughter if she married someone "beneath her"), then taunts him: no father can hurt his daughter; all you can do is stand aside and watch, impotent. RR eggs on HL -- let there be bullets and corpses for these fools who have challenged us!

  23. HL and RR give pictures of Kajal and Raja to assassins.

  24. The assassination attempt fails. Damliya, the hitman, is insulted by the insinuation Ajay and Raja make to Gaitonde that he has hired a cheap killer. Damliya spills the beans: his price was 2.5 million, from their fathers, to kill the girlfriend and boyfriend.  As Damliya threatens Raja, Kajal takes action. All four escape.

  25. Ajay is injured in the escape. When he awakes, he admits that he didn't want to go on living, but the love of his friends would not let him die. RR comes -- Ajay says he has no son here -- RR says he's realized his mistake and wants to beg forgiveness. Ajay refuses; R reacts violently; Raja counsels him to accept his father's apology, as there is no greater punishment than remorse. Begs him to accept for the sake of their friendship, if nothing else. Ajay does. RR vows he'll see the foursome's romances through.

  26. HL comes to RR's to lambaste him for his betrayal -- sheltering the enemy and distributing engagement announcements! "Go ahead and make a beggar your daughter-in-law, but I'll never accept this man as my son-in-law." He disowns Madhu. RR throws him out and assures Madhu that he himself will serve as her father in the wedding ceremony.

  27. Engagement ceremony. HL caves and appears, saying he cannot miss such an important occasion of his daughter's. But where are Raja and Kajal? Coming any moment. Meanwhile, Kajal is kidnapped. Raja barely saves her from The Fate Worse Than Death (TM).

  28. Raja and Kajal arrive; before they can explain, RR gives a speech: Those who wondered why I changed my mind about marrying my son to my friend's daughter, I want to tell you that it's all because of Ajay and his friend Raka. I have some moments in the form of pictures that I want to show you all. And he shows them pictures of the near-rape that has just occurred. The photos make it seem as though Raja and Kajal are lovers. Shocked, Ajay and Madhu repudiate their lovers. Kajal turns to her uncle, who witnessed the abduction, to back up their story. Her uncle tells the whole room that she and Raja have been lovers for months and have even aborted a child. Raja vows that he won't leave until he establishes his innocence. Ajay says, then only your corpse will leave. Kajal and Ajay are turned out of the house.  

  29. Kajal has nowhere to go. Raja takes her home with him, saying she's like a sister to him, and can a sister be a burden to her brother?

  30. Stress makes Kajal very ill. Raja tracks her doctor down at the maternity hospital, where he is making a visit. Due to her condition, the doctor agrees to see her immediately. He discovers that depression has caused her blood pressure to drop dangeorusly low. He gives her medicine. As they leave, they are spotted by Madhu and Ajay -- who, seeing that they are exiting a maternity hospital, assume the worst: that Kajal is, indeed, pregnant with Raja's child.

  31. Madhu is embittered by how casually the man who broke her heart is carrying on with his lover. She is also remorseful of how confidently she flouted her father's will and best intentions. When he asks her to, she agrees to marry Ajay. Ajay also agrees: why mourn something that didn't even exist in the first place? They'll show Kajal and Raja that they, too, can go on with life as though nothing happened! However, Uncle (Lever) tells Ajay that what he's doing isn't right.

  32. Ajay and Madhu visit Kajal and Raja. They are deliberately cruel, taunting Kajal with her ill health (Madhu: I hear your health is poor -- pregnant again?). They both agree that looks are deceptive, since who could have guessed that such an innocent looking girl is really so base? Raja loses his temper, and Ajay does too, announcing they have come only to deliver their wedding invitation. They depart, and Kajal does the "honorable" (???) thing and tries to kill herself [sadly, she's never heard the song "Gonna wash that man right out of my hair"]. Raja stops her and says death is not the way to prove their innocence. He vows to teach an unforgettable lesson to the people who brought them to this horrible low.

  33. Raja attacks Madhu and Ajay. Police come to arrest Raja. Madhu vows never to forgive Raja for behaving like an animal with her.

  34. Ajay and Madhu's wedding. Meanwhile, Raja is tortured by the police, and Kajal begs on his behalf, but the policeman is firm: he's a rapist and he won't leave alive. Kajal runs [next door; how convenient] and begs the dads for mercy. They mock her, "the one who claimed that love would triumph over all." They say that if she bows and says that love has no power before wealth, only then will they save her boyfriend. She does so; they tell her she must take Raja away from this country and never return. She promises. They order the police to let Raja free and send them both on tonight's ship to Nigeria, and if they are ever seen in this town again, to shoot them.

  35. Raja refuses to leave; he wants to stay and prove their innocence. He's ready to die in order to do so. Kajal demands: why did you save me then? I couldn't bear to see my brother die...you must come...nothing remains in this town for us... Raja reluctantly agrees to accompany her to the ship.

  36. Back at the wedding. Lights go off: photos of Madhu and Ajay in the same incriminating poses as witnessed at the engagement ceremony, between Raja and Kajal. Uncle (Lever) says that Raja reenacted the entire thing as a last-ditch effort to make Madhu and Ajay realize the truth. Kajal's uncle admits he was paid 200,000 Rs. by Ajay's father to lie. Ajay flips out -- only the memory of Raja keeps him from killing his dad -- he wants to die. Madhu stops him, saying this isn't the time to punish themselves, but to beg forgiveness from those who have suffered because of them.

  37. The lovers reunite. The evil dads approach. The captain reveals that RR called for the ship to be delayed a half hour so the lovers could find each other again. RR says that he realized if he didn't make that call, he would lose his child's respect forever. HL adds that "We always thought of the poor as insects, but today we realize that regardless of our wealth, it is we who are poor. Our children are our true wealth." RR adds that when children make mistakes, their parents always forgive them -- but it's also the duty of children to forgive their parents. A happy reconciliation for the most dysfunctional fathers and the most gullible children on the face of the planet! Until RR and HL put their heads together again, this is, arguably, HEA....

 

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