The world has moved on, but Subhash Ghai continues to cling to the essential values of his storytelling style: glitz, glamour, visual sweep and loads of melodrama.
And that, in the context of Kaanchi, the veteran director?s first film in five years, isn?t such a bad thing.
It makes the film quaintly anachronistic and, therefore, watchable, if only for reasons that lie beyond its text.
Subhash Ghai seeks to connect into the rising tide of anger among today?s youth with narrative devices that have seen better days.
Kaanchi is essentially the doomed love story of a simple girl from an Uttarakhand village of retired soldiers.
It works only till a point. The revenge motive that rides on the heroine?s rage fails to acquire any kind of urgency.
The bid to link her personal mission to a people?s movement on the streets of Mumbai is also rather laboured.
But, yes, Kaanchi makes all the right noises. It talks about the men in corridors of power who create, manipulate and exploit the system with impunity.
It laments that it is businessmen who are allowed to lay down the rules of business.
It speaks of the helplessness of the common populace faced with an unresponsive bureaucracy and government.
Kaanchi would have been far more effective had the methods employed to drive the point home been just a little less trite.
Kaanchi (debutant Mishti), also addressed by villagers as Sigdi because of her fiery temperament, is a martyred soldier?s daughter.
Proud of her father?s legacy, she struts around wearing the thick khaki belt that was part the departed man?s military uniform.
She is in love with Binda (two films old Kartik Tiwari), who runs a military training school in the village.
The first quarter of Kaanchi is devoted entirely to youthful fun and games as the made-for-each-other pair gives full rein to their romance.
Kaanchi gathers some pace when the protagonists are pushed into resorting to desperate measures by the wealthy and powerful Kakda brothers, politician Shyam Dada (Mithun Chakraborty) and business tycoon Jhoomar Babu (Rishi Kapoor).
The greedy Kakdas want to buy out the idyllic village and turn it into an urbanized settlement.
But that is only one of the many threats that the young lovebirds are up against.
Mishti?s life is shattered when Sushant (Rishabh Sinha), the scion of the Kakda business empire, takes a shine to her and resolves to eliminate anybody that comes in his way.
In the second half, the action shifts to Mumbai where the hapless Kaanchi goes after the evil brood with the help of an old village acquaintance, Ratanlal Bagula (Chandan Roy Sanyal), a pliable policeman.
The Kakdas are an abhorred lot and in the big city a people?s movement against them gathers steam.
Kaanchi has reason to be angry with the world, but her ire is drowned out somewhat by the meanderings of the mean men whose home she infiltrates in the guise of a housekeeper.
This is a Subhash Ghai film, and so it is studded with elaborately mounted musical set pieces galore that hark back to the sounds of Karz, Khalnayak and Pardes.
One number, which refers to a whole lot of things that can happen Kambal Ke Neeche, has a barely recognizable Mahima Chaudhary putting in a brief appearance.
Amid the song and dance, Rishi Kapoor plays to the gallery with gay abandon and provides some moments of mirth.
On the other hand, Mithun Chakraborty, given puffed-up cheeks and stuffy lines, is reduced to a far cry from the flashy disco dancer of the era during which Subhash Ghai was a force to reckon with.
Chandan Roy Sanyal, in what is by far his longest role in a mainstream Hindi film, grabs the opportunity with both hands. Sadly, his character is grossly underdeveloped.
New find Mishti is a great discovery. More than just a pretty face, she is quite effective as the spunky Kaanchi, especially as long as she is allowed to operate within a certain bandwidth.
But when she screams and shrieks her voice turns overly screechy and tinny, an aspect that she would definitely need to work on for the long haul.
Kartik Tiwari exudes strong screen presence and shows flashes of qualities needed to be a mainstream Bollywood lover boy.
Kaanchi is strictly for old time?s sake.