Pardes directed by Subhash Ghai and starring Shahrukh Khan and newcomer Mahima Chaudhury is one of the popular Bollywood romantic movies. A commercial venture, Pardes deals with many of the important issues including the ideological conflicts between the East and the West. Released in 1997, this romantic flick revolves around Ganga who has grown up in an Indian village and values family sentiments and ideologies more than anything. She is the daughter of the soil who has imbibed the teachings of her parents and believes in small happiness.
Kishorilal aka Amrish Puri, a wealthy NRI comes to stay at Suraj Dev`s house in India and meets Ganga who is Suraj Dev`s daughter. Kishorilal is in love with his motherland and has great respect for Indian culture and traditions. He receives warm welcome in his friend`s house and gradually becomes attached with all the family members. During his stay, he meets Ganga and is impressed with her beliefs and upbringing.
He proposes an alliance between his son Rajiv and Ganga. Kishorilal is however unsure of his American-born son who has never visited India and is more a Westerner.
He forms a plan and sends Arjun, his foster son to India to meet Ganga. Shahrukh Khan essays the role of Arjun who is named "Little Master" in the film. Arjun is the perfect mediator who not only convinces Rajiv or Apoorva Agnihotri to visit India to meet Ganga, but also makes certain changes in the household so that Rajiv can come and meet Ganga. He becomes close to all the family members and treats Ganga as a good friend. Initially skeptical about the idea, Rajiv comes to India and the duo gets engaged.
After the engagement, Ganga sets off for America with her aunt played by Himani Shivpuri. Arjun remains her confidant in this new land where he can rely on his guidance and help for small matters. She is shocked to find that Rajiv is a totally different person from what Arjun has portrayed and finds out about his affairs and drinking and smoking. She accuses Arjun of lying and breach of trust and Arjun realizes to have fallen in love with Ganga. Kishorilal, who is skeptical about Arjun and Ganga`s friendship, asks him to leave the place.
In a state of drunkenness Rajiv tries to misbehave with Ganga and she escapes from the hotel in Las Vegas. She meets Arjun and they come to India. Suraj Dev, who is already informed about this event, completely ignores his daughter`s pleas and both of them are separated. Ganga realizes she loves Arjun. Kishorilal who feels that his plan has flopped miserably tries to kill both of them. The ending is a happy one where all confusions are cleared, all misunderstandings solved while Rajiv`s misdeeds come to the front. Ganga and Arjun are forgiven by both the families and is blessed.
Pardes was an eye-opener in many senses especially as it delves into the cultural difference between the two countries and difficulties that Indian girls face as a bride in "Pardes" or in a "foreign land". Mahima Chaudhury received the "Filmfare Best Debut Award" for Pardes. The soulful music by Nadeem Shravan remains of the key points of this romantic flick.
Online information about Pardes is available in sitagita.