Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) meets Chandni (Sridevi) at a wedding of her relative and falls instantly in love with her. He pursues her relentlessly until she agrees to date him. Eventually they become engaged to be married. His family is very much against this because of the difference in their social status, but Rohit doesnt care. One day, Rohit calls Chandni and asks her to wait for him on the terrace of her house.
As shes waiting, the afternoons silence is broken by the roaring blades of a helicopter. Rohit appears and proceeds to shower Chandni in red rose petals from the copter. When he disappears, she is surrounded again by silence, but she has a feeling something has happened.Seconds later, Chandni hears the phone ringing and runs to answer, knowing it is Rohit. She is told that he is in the hospital.
His family at the hospital greet her with stony expressions and accuse her of being the cause for Rohits falling from the helicopter. Learning that he is paralysed on his right side, his family continues to berate her. Rohit too berates her, which is too much. Intent on erasing every memory of Rohit, Chandni moves to Bombay (now Mumbai).There she starts working for a travel agency headed by Lalit (Vinod Khanna), a handsome and charming man.
He has his own heartache. He soon falls in love with Chandni and asks her to marry him. She finally agrees to his and his mothers delight. On a business trip in Switzerland, Lalit meets Rohit, who has traveled there for treatment for his paralysis and no longer needs a wheelchair. The men tell each other their stories and sing with the joy of love, not knowing they are singing about the same woman.
Back in India, Rohit shows up one evening at Chandnis door. To her amazement, he stands up and does a little dance. They are keyed up with emotion and Rohit proposes to her. Chandni tells him she is committed to someone else.When Rohit becomes angry, Chandni asks him what he would have done in her place.
He regretfully leaves. As Rohit and Lalit had become good friends in Switzerland, Lalit invited him to his wedding. Lalit invites Chandni to meet this new friend.Rohit and Chandni pretend to be strangers to spare Lalit. On the day of the wedding, Rohit has drunk too much and stumbles down a flight of stairs.
When Chandni screams and yearns for him to be saved, Lalit realises she really loves Rohit and encourages her to go to the latter.According to iDiva, Chandni was more an event and less a movie. Even as it's shooting rolled on the sets, the film was a constant subject of discussion in the press. Chandni emerged as one of the biggest blockbusters of 1989 with The Hindu stating that the film opened to full houses and distributors had to drastically increase the number of theatres. It was cited by Times of India as one of the most watched films of Indian Cinema.
Hindustan Times featured the movie in its list of Yash Chopras Greatest Hits saying it was instrumental in ending the era of violence in Bollywood and bringing back the romance into Hindi films.The film reaffirmed Sridevi's position as the top female star of the 1980s. Describing Sridevis performance in Chandni, Indiatimes wrote True to her screen-name, she was an epitome of radiance, warmth and vivacity. She effortlessly introduced us to the powerful streaks, her classic, angelic character was laden with. The scene where she confronts Rishi Kapoor was ranked by Rediff as one of the Ten Best Scenes from Yash Chopra Films.
While Sridevi topped the Hindustan Times list of Yash Chopras Top 5 Heroines, CNN-IBN ranked her no. 1 on its list of Yash Chopras 10 Most Sensuous Heroines saying that Yash Chopra immortalised Sridevi as the perfect Chandni. The title role became one of the most famous characters of Hindi cinema with India Today including it in its list of Yash Chopras Iconic Characters. CNN-IBN listed it among The Cult Characters Yash Chopra Created while NDTV featured it in its list of Yash Chopras Greatest Creations stating that the film established Sridevi as the nations sweetheart and reinforced her position as the reigning actress in Bollywood. Sridevis iconic Chandni Look revolutionized fashion in North India and became synonymous with the actress, with Rediff stating A luminous Sridevi slips into every possible design in white for a major chunk of the romance and no one complains.
Speaking about the look, Yash Chopra told film critic Rajeev Masand While making Chandni, I had a vision of who I wanted this girl to be. I told Sridevi that most of her costumes in the film would be in white. The Tribune wrote Leena Daru scored a winner again when she created the Chandni Look for Sridevi. Every street corner sold the salwar-kameez and dupatta that gave the heroine a refreshingly understated look, rarely seen on the Indian screen. while Mid Day reported Leena Daru dressed Bollywood's beauties for several years.
But it was her simple white churidar and kurta with the leheriya dupatta for Sridevi in the film Chandni that gave the Southern belle an angelic image and caused the Chandni Chowk stores to hit the jackpot with thousands of copies. BizAsia described the effect of the look saying Chopra never quite got over his Sridevi hangover and almost always chose to present his lead heroines in similar outfits (Juhi Chawla in â€˜Darr' , Madhuri Dixit in â€˜Dil To Pagal Hai' , but none of them became half as iconic as Sridevi did after â€˜Chandni.' The Chandni Look was also highlighted in the films famous Tandav dance sequence by Sridevi where Rediff said the actress transformed into a mythical goddess in a white number. Sridevis chiffons became equally popular with Indian Express writing This movie made the chiffon sari a must-have in every Indian womans wardrobe. The music of Chandni became a multi-Platinum success with Sridevis famous dance number Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan Hain finding a place in the Rediff chart of Bollywoods Top 25 Wedding Songs.
The actress also lent her voice to the films popular title-track Chandni O Meri Chandni which featured among the Top 5 Songs of Yash Chopra by Hindustan Times. Talking about her role in Chandni, Sridevi said it was a lively and vibrant girl in the first half (who) becomes quiet and goes into a shell in the second half. I loved that transformation and when you have a director like Yash Chopra at the helm, you can be sure that he will make the best out of everything.
Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Sridevi
T. Subbarami Reddy
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