The charm of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun

It's been 20 years since Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was released. The epic family drama went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters in the history of the Hindi film industry, and we've decoded just what made this film tick.

1 The perfect family

A lot of films in the 1990s were action dramas with guns, gore and blood. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun..! (HAHK), with its simplicity and clean family fun stood out. There was no plotting against others, no property battles - just a family, including servants and a pet dog, who loved each other and lived in peace.

2 Tuffy the courageous dog

This spunky little furball not only multitasked as Cupid, a cricket umpire and the fashionista of the family, he also had the sense to deliver the letter to the right person at the end of the movie - a feat that not a single human (among the hundreds in the film) could accomplish.

3 The songs

There were 14 songs in this film which, spread over a running time of three hours, makes for a lot of song and dance. From

Maye Ni Maye

and

Wah Wah Raamji

to

Didi Tera Devar Deewana

, they are all hummable and the choreography was flawless. Who can forget Madhuri Dixit shimmying in splendid outfits?

4 The purple sari

It spawned a million copies as women in India rushed to their nearest tailor to get one of their own.

Note: The poster of Madhuri wearing the sari can still be found in beauty salons across India.

5 The wedding scenes

This film showcased the big fat Indian wedding in all its glory, before Karan Johar took over and made it more sophisticated with designer outfits and snazzy locations. From the mounds of sweers to all the antakshari (sing-offs), the wedding in this film hit closer to home for a large section of the population.

6 Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit

There was a bit of a role-reversal here: Khan was the coy one, Dixit was feisty, and they went about their their romance without a single kiss.

7. The lack of villains

The film didn't have a single baddie - except for a staircase. Every Hindi film has a villain, but this one didn't. The only thing that went wrong was Renuka Shahane's untimely death after falling down the stairs.

8 The middle-class god-fearing family struck a chord with the Indian masses

While Alok Nath's family was rich, Anupam Kher plays a middle-class professor in the film. Neither of the families had any airs about them and displayed "good Indian values" such as praying every day, being respectful to their elders and being there for their families. It ticked all the right boxes and given that a majority of the Indian population (at least in the 1990s) belonged to the middle class, the film got their seal of approval.

9 The cricket

If there's anything Indians love as much as movies and weddings, it's cricket. The sports scenes were short but fun - and got extra brownie points for having a dog as the umpire.

10 The ensemble cast

Mohnish Behl, Reema Lagoo, Alok Nath, Anupam Kher, Bindu, Ajit Vachani and Satish Shah were the most prominent members of the ensemble cast, and they shine in their roles. Shahane - who steals the show as the sweet daughter-in-law who believes in educating the poor, takes care of the family from dawn to dusk and then dies a bizarre death - deserves a special mention.

ajhurani@thenational.ae