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Paheli is a 2005 Bollywood fantasy movie. It is a remake of Mani Kaul's 1973 Hindi film Duvidha, which was based on a Rajasthani short story by Vijayadan Detha. The movie, which was directed by Amol Palekar and was made by Red Chillies Entertainment, is about a wife whose husband travels for business as is customary. While she's away, she receives a visit from a Jinn who is actually her husband but who falls in love with her and replaces her husband. The movie stars Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji in lead roles along with Amitabh Bachchan, Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kher and Rishi Deshpande in supporting roles.
Lachchi, a young, eager rural girl from Rajasthan, gets married to Kishan, a wealthy merchant's son from a remote village. When the group stops to rest in the middle of the journey on the way from her house to her in-laws' house—which is too far away—a ghost spots Lachchi and falls in love with her. Later that night, it is revealed that Kishan, an obedient son, will respect his father's intention to launch a brand-new, far-off company on an auspicious date, which just so happens to be the next day. After finishing his bookkeeping at night and turning away from his wife, Kishan leaves for a five-year business trip early the next morning. The ghost makes an appearance in Bhanwarlal's home the following day, having adopted Kishan's appearance and voice as a result of his own devotion to Lachchi.
Even though he presents himself as Kishan to the rest of the household, the ghost only tells Lachchi who he really is at night. Lachchi is thus faced with a choice between the ghost who has assumed the appearance of her real husband, who is the embodiment of all of her wishes, and this choice. She adopts this newly discovered, passionate, magical, sociable, and self-assured Kishan as her own. The ghost, posing as Kishan, becomes friends with every member of the real Kishan's household and makes Bhanwarlal happy by giving him enchanted, maybe imaginary gold money. The only mistake he makes is how he treats the messenger Bhoja, who finds it strange that Kishan sent a message from his work trip just to collect it himself.
For four years, Lachchi and the ghost live happily together. During that time, he also maintains the happiness of her in-law's family and provides solutions to numerous issues that the household and the community face. The real Kishan returns to check on the veracity of the pregnancy rumours when Lachchi gets impregnated with the ghost's baby. Upon his return, Kishan discovers the spirit in his own guise. Due to the ghost's reluctance to confess, his family seems unable to identify which of the doppelgängers is the real Kishan. They make the decision to go see the ruler so that he can intervene. Sundarlal rejoins his family while also going back to his house to apologise to Gajrobai for his lengthy and unexpected absence.
They encounter an elderly shepherd named Gadariya on their route to the king, who offers to help. In front of the genuine Kishan, he administers three tests. He claims that the person who can pick up burning coals will demonstrate that he is Bhanwalal's real son, the person who can quickly gather the sheep will demonstrate that he is the bride's true husband, and the person who can enter his water bottle will demonstrate that he is the bride's true lover. When the shepherd says, "the real lover of the bride," Kishan tries his hardest to accomplish the first two, which the spirit did not attempt to try, but he enters the water bottle to demonstrate his love for Lachchi.
The shepherd hastily seals his bottle so the spirit cannot escape after the real Kishan is discovered. Having made this realisation, Kishan dumps the bottle in the desert before everyone heads back home. Lachchi is grieved by the ghost's loss. At the very end, it is made clear that the ghost broke free from the bottle and took possession of Kishan's body so that he could live with her. Looni Ma, the daughter that Lachchi has now given birth to, is the medium through which the spirit reveals his existence to Lachchi. Lachchi begins to live blissfully as a result, having both her real spouse and her ghostly lover inhabit the same body. The puppets conclude the tale by saying that it is a very old folktale.
Paheli was a critical and commercial success, with it being screened at various film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It was praised for its unique storyline and the acting performance by the lead cast. It also managed to earn close to INR 32 crores at the box office, deeming it a box office hit.
|Red Chillies Entertainment
|24 Jun 2005
|Country of Origin