SYNOPSIS - ISHQ
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?
- 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.
- 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)
- 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!"
- 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!
- HL and RR give pictures of Kajal and Raja to
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Raja attacks Madhu and Ajay. Police come to
arrest Raja. Madhu vows never to forgive Raja for behaving like an animal
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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....