Pardes (transl. foreign land) is a 1997 Indian Hindi-language musical drama film directed, produced, and co-written by Subhash Ghai. Distributed by Mukta Arts, it stars Shah Rukh Khan, newcomers Mahima Chaudhry and Apurva Agnihotri, Alok Nath, and Amrish Puri in leading roles. The film was theatrically released in India on 8 August 1997. It received generally positive reviews, with praise for Khan, Chaudhry, and Agnihotri’s performances. Pardes grossed over ₹490 million (US$6.9 million) worldwide, emerging as a commercial success, and was the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1997, behind Dil To Pagal Hai (also starring Khan), Border, and Ishq.
A rich NRI businessman, Kishorilal, is looking for an Indian bride who will also be a good influence on his wayward westernised son, Rajiv. On a visit to India, he is impressed with his friend’s daughter, Ganga, in whom he sees all the qualities that he hopes to instil in his son.
He decides to orchestrate their match – he first sends his foster son, Arjun, to “prepare” Ganga’s family, and then sends his son Rajiv to India a week later. Despite initial setbacks owing to their cultural differences, Rajiv and Ganga approve of each other. They are engaged in the village and Ganga flies to the US with Rajiv to get accustomed to American life.
Everything changes almost immediately for Ganga as soon as she lands in the US. She learns that the rest of Kishorilal’s family is not so keen on the match, many openly expressing their disapproval of Ganga. She also realizes that Rajiv is not the same person in the US as the one who visited her house in India. Among other things, she discovers his excesses, temper, and secrets of his past affairs. Arjun is the only person she can confide in, though she partly blames him for her situation (having presented an idealized picture of Rajiv before her engagement).
To stop any growing closeness between Arjun and Ganga, Kishorilal is urged by his family to relocate him. He also arranges for Rajiv and Ganga to take a trip together to Las Vegas. Things come to a head, however, when a drunk Rajiv insists Ganga have sex with him in their hotel in Vegas. When she refuses (wanting to wait for marriage), Rajiv tries to assault her. Ganga injures him and manages to escape, before being tracked down by Arjun. She calls off the engagement and has Arjun escort her back to India.
Meanwhile, unaware of the incident at the Vegas hotel, everyone concludes that Arjun and Ganga are in love and have eloped. This is partially true since Arjun and Ganga are really in love, though Arjun will not confess out of respect for Kishorilal and deference to Ganga’s engagement with Rajiv. Finally, he is made to accept when Kishorilal arrives in India and demands an explanation. Ganga shows everyone the marks inflicted on her shoulder by Rajiv in Vegas, leading Kishorilal to slap his son. Abandoning any hope of correcting him, he orders him to return to the US. He then announces that Ganga will also return to the US, though this time as Arjun’s bride.
A credits montage shows Arjun and Ganga living a happy married life in the US.
Shah Rukh Khan as Arjun Sagar, Kishorilal’s foster son who is also a talented singer.
Mahima Chaudhry as Kusum Ganga/Ganga Arjun Sagar, a.k.a.Ganga Rajiv’s fiancee to be who falls in love with Arjun,Arjun’s wife.
Amrish Puri as Kishorilal a wealthy businessman who lives in America.
Apurva Agnihotri as Rajiv, Kishorilal’s son and Arjun’s foster brother.
Alok Nath as Suraj Dev, Ganga’s father
Padmavati Rao as Narmada, wife of Suraj Dev
Dina Pathak as Suraj’s mother
Himani Shivpuri as Kulwanti
Madhuri Bhatia as Neeta, Rajiv’s aunt who despises Ganga.
Smita Jaykar as Paddy
Pawan Malhotra as Sharafat Ali
Prachi Save as Daksha
Aditya Narayan as Potla (Ganga’s little brother)
Ajay Nagrath as Daboo (Ganga’s little brother)
Samta Sagar as Sonali
Subhash Ghai as Singer on the boat (special appearance)
Remo D’Souza as Arjun’s Friend (Meri Mehbooba Song)
Rakesh Thareja as Paul (Rajiv’s friend)
Ruhshad Nariman Daruwalla (Potla’s friend)