The slog continues! I hope to get past the Interval by the end of this post, with any luck I can finish the whole thing by the New Year. Or at least, by not too far into the New Year. (part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, and part 7 here)
So, “Gerua”! Still not my favorite SRKajol song (actually, what is my favorite SRKajol song? Not counting Gazebo? Similar to their movies, I think they are all my favorites for different reason. “Jaati Hoon Main” makes me laugh, “Kaali Kaali Aankhen” makes me dance, “Tujhe Dekha” makes me fall in love all over again, “Tujha Yaad” makes me cry, “Bole Chudiyaan” makes me call my parents, and “Noor E Khuda” makes me want to slit my wrists). But anyway, it is still awesome, because it is SRKajol on the big screen. Although I am sticking with my theory that Kajol is really selling the “I love you so much that I just want your arms around me!” concept because she is actually freezing to death.
So, love song over! Cut to Shahrukh and Kajol all lovey-dovey on the grass in front of a pretty white church in Bulgaria. Kajol is wearing stupid jeans with big fake rips in them. Shahrukh looks hot (duh). They are discussing whether or not they should tell their parents that they are in love. And since they are having this conversation smack in front of a church, the implication is that this would be the first step before marriage. Shahrukh wants to wait a while, Kajol says “No, tell them now, it would be wrong if they heard it from anyone else.” Shahrukh goes along with it (see previous post for wisdom of always agreeing with Kajol), and thinks that he can convince his father, but isn’t sure that she will be able to convince hers. Kajol says, all cocky, “I know he loves me more than he hates you!” (see other previous post for wisdom of this sentiment).
Shahrukh kind of chuckles and looks hot and wise, and asks “what would you do if my father and I had planned this whole thing in order to trick you and your father?” Kajol looks surprised for just a second, then says, “I would shoot you in the heart.” Cut to, present day Hot Bearded SRK standing in front of a mirror (looking hot), with his shirt spread open so he can finger the perfect round scar on his pectoral muscle right over his heart. Whaaaaa??!?!?!?? Was he really tricking her? But he seemed to sweet! Surely not!
Shahrukh buttons up his shirt (booooo!) and cut to sleeping Varun who is lying against a car with stolen headlights. Bucket of water thrown on him (again). Why all these buckets on Varun? Why none on Shahrukh? We know he can take it!
Anyway, Varun jumps awake, and is immediately apologetic for falling asleep while on watch again and allowing imported headlights to be stolen. He swears he will replace them! Just then, shouting and hitting! They’ve caught the thief! Yay, we are done with this pointless plotline! But no, it is just Johnny Lever. They thought he was the thief, but actually he was bringing a cake to Shahrukh to thank him and for some reason was transporting it in a big blue garbage bag which made it look like it was headlights. Why not just carry it in the box it came in?
So, cake! I start thinking “ooo, cake! Maybe I should buy popcorn at the concession stand.” Anyway, they have cake, and the whole time Varun is belly-aching about the stolen headlights. After the grown-ups leave, Johnny Lever pulls Varun aside and says he knows a chop-shop where you can get anything, including these headlights.
And, we’re back to Oscar Bhai! Nooooooo! I thought we were through with him! Anyway, he promises that they are in luck, his number one thief (David Dhawan reference? In honor of Varun?) is coming and bringing those exact headlights with him! Varun and Johnny hide behind something, and who should they see walk in, but Sidhu! Of course! Swinging the stolen headlights in his hands!
Anger, chase, another big metal rod comes into play. They end up chasing him to a really pretty sort of overlook garden, that I am pretty sure was also used in Mujshe Shaadi Karoge.
(you can’t see it well, but where they are standing right at the beginning, before the fantasy starts. Also, aw! Priyanka’s old nose! I miss you!)
And then there is a “funny” conversation. Okay, the first joke is kind of okay. Varun has been hitting and hitting Sidhu with his newest metal rod, and Sidhu is screaming for him to stop. Varun finally stops, and Sidhu says “Why did you stop? When did I ask you to?” As the music swells and he has this really noble look on his face. I am guessing this is a reference to a classic 70s movie (probably Amitabh) and it is a pretty cool response to being beaten up. But, of course, Varun points out that Sidhu asked him to stop over and over again! Which kind of deflates him. And then there is a joke about a bus that I don’t get.
Anyway, Johnny, Sidhu, and Varun sit down and talk while I look at the pretty view over their shoulders and think about Mujshe Shaadi Karoge. What happened to that movie? It was like everywhere 10 years ago, we even watched it in my college common room, and now it is gone!
So, Sidhu has been stealing, not for himself, but because he is in love and needs money to go on dates. Varun immediately forgives him, and asks for his assistance with his own love affair. They also both promise to find a girl for Johnny Lever, with that “Mani-bhai, Mani-ben” joke that was in the trailer, which I also don’t get, but which gets a big laugh.
Before we move on from the “comedy”, let me mention three interesting character things we learn. First, Varun is extra mad at Sidhu, because not only did he betray a friendship “he took him as a brother”. So, again, the brother relationship is the highest possible honor. Second, Sidhu’s response is to point out that if they are brothers, he should act as his own brother does, and ask the reason for the actions. So, the brother relationship is the highest honor, and Shahrukh is the best possible brother. And third, Sidhu mentions something about when they were in boarding school together as boys. So I guess Shakti sent his little brother to stay in the same Bulgarian boarding school that his boss sent his brother too? Did they get a discount? Did they put pressure on the school so they didn’t have to pay at all? Why did Shakti take his brother to Bulgaria with him? But instead of answers to any of these questions, we get more “comedy” and grown men pretending to cry.
So, Sidhu has promised to help Veer in his love story. Cut to, that really cool Goa church that was in Josh. Sidhu, Jenny (she’s Christian, you know), and Kriti are coming down the steps. And there’s Varun, standing in front to surprise her! He’s got a bunch of poster-board signs. And if you think “no, they can’t possibly go there, that is just blatant plagerism”, you would be wrong! They do, in fact, go there! It is this exact scene from Love Actually.
(except with professional graphics, like from Kinkos, which I think is actually less romantic)
The only difference is that they use Indian celebrities for reference in the “hot women” slide. Kareena, Katrina, Priyanka, and Jacqueline Fernandez. Did not realize Jacqueline had reached that level! Oh, and the “until you look like this slide” is I think Zohra Sehgal. Which is a little mean, since she is an actual person.
Anyway, while I am still recovering from the blatant ripping off, Varun then does something super Indian and cool. He kisses his cross and whispers “be with me, Bhai!”, and then leans back and does the Shahrukh arms thing! Just like the promised in this interview!
And then, “Premika”! Except not, because they cut it at the last minute. But it feels like there should be a song here, because there hasn’t been a mutual love song for this couple yet. Just Varun’s dream song at the beginning. Oh! I just realized why that was in Bulgaria! Besides it being cheap to film! Varun grew up in Bulgaria, so of course his romantic fantasy would take place there! But Kriti has no connection, so it is clearly just his fantasy, not a mutual one. So they still need to confirm their true love with a shared fantasy! Especially because, post this scene, there will be no more real “falling in love” scenes for them. They are together forever and that’s it. So in my version of the movie, I am including “Premika” here.
(see, doesn’t it make you really feel the love? Or at least, confirm the love so we can move on and never think about it again?)
“Premika” over, Varun and Kriti sit next to each other sharing a drink? Ice cream? Some substance that their sharing of is indicative of a greater physical comfort than before the song, and also implies a sharing of resources in a marital fashion. Anyway, Kriti says “we should talk to our families about us. It would be wrong if they heard about it from anyone else ” (deja vu from the third paragraph!). Varun reluctantly agrees. Kriti is doubtful of his ability to tell his big brother about them on his own, Varun is confident.
Cut to a “comedy” sequence that I actually find comical! Possibly because Shahrukh is there. Varun is sitting opposite Shahrukh at a cafe, saying “I have to tell you something.” Shahrukh says “Yes, you have been saying that for 28 minutes. ‘I have to tell you, I have to tell you’, what is it?” I don’t know, somehow the 28 minutes is funny to me. And then it gets funnier, Anwar, Shakti, and Sidhu are all standing behind Shahrukh miming suggestions to Varun as to how to broach the subject (have they also been there for 28 minutes? Or did they just arrive?). In response to a mime of garlanding, Varun says “I want a Suhaarat! (wedding night)” Shahrukh says “What?”, Varun changes it to be “I want Suhaar to bring the bumper tonight!” Shahrukh agrees, “yes yes, I will take care of it, it took you 29 minutes to say this?” (29 minutes! Because it’s been a minute since the scene started! That’s actually clever! Or else I am just so happy to have any bit of humor that does not involve funny voices or body functions that it feels clever).
Varun’s next attempt to say “I want to get married” comes out as “I want to marry you!” (actually, I think it is “I want to put Sindoor on your forehead” When I saw that line in the trailer, I thought maybe it was something about how he wanted Shahrukh to be married, but no, it is just a simple miss-talking). And then finally, a mime of kissing from the peanut gallery results in “I want to lip-to-lip kiss you!” Which causes a spit take and startled leap to his feet from Shahrukh.
Let’s take a minute here, am I the only one who gets a bit of a homoerotic vibe from Shahrukh and Varun? Not like I think their character are in love or anything, but like I think the director is totally having fun with the idea that they could be. There’s this bit, there’s the love song later, and there’s the RAGING SEXUAL HEAT between them. Although I think that is just because Shahrukh would have RAGING SEXUAL HEAT with a lamppost he had enough scenes with it.
(Shahrukh and a puppy=RAGING SEXUAL HEAT)
Anyway, Kriti appears! In her second ugliest outfit of the film (Ugliest one still to come, because I don’t care what you say, I like the stupid pants from “Manma Emotion”!). It’s a sort of bland colored overall dress thing. It manages to make her look both matronly and childish at the same time. Anyway, she steps forward to speak for Varun, letting Shahrukh know that they are in love and want to be together and asking for his blessing. She calls him “Bhai” and uses the magical “it wouldn’t be right for you to learn this from others!” phrase, and he visibly melts.
Anwar and Shakti, in an effort to support the young people, have a punny conversation that the subtitles mess up. Shakti says “yes, it’s true, the other girls were just wrong numbers, this time he has made the right choice!” And Anwar leaps in with “yes, the right call! This is the right call-girl!” I don’t know, I laughed. See previous statement about being happy to have humor that does not involve body functions.
So, Shahrukh is in! He agrees to go to her house. Cut to, Shahrukh arriving at the house we saw before when Varun delivered the bike. He is invited in and sits in the nice warm colored living room nervously drinking his glass of water. So sweet! He just wants the rishtaa to work out for his little brother and is putting on the best face for the family that he can!
“Madamji” is called downstairs by the maid, she pauses at the top of the stairs, the sun briefly obscures her face, she starts down the steps, and it’s KAJOL! ?!?!?!? Last seen relaxing on the grass in front of a church in Bulgaria talking marriage with Shahrukh and threatening to shoot him if he betrays her. And now she has a house in Goa with her little sister? Anyway, she comes down the stairs, stands in the overly golden saturated shot opposite Shahrukh, and between them slowly appears the word “Interval”.
Okay, that’s cool. Because it’s like there’s an interval between the two characters, separating them. And also there was an interval between their last meeting and now. And also now it’s time for the interval in the film so we can all go buy popcorn and say “what the heck?!?!?” to each other.
In Chennai Express, I remember being really disappointed with where the interval fell. It felt like there were about 6 different, better, places to pause the film. But they were all too early or too late, so they picked a random spot smack in the middle instead. I guess it’s just a Shetty thing, he has this sort of multiple cliffhangers style of directing, because I felt the same way with this one. There could have been an interval right after Shahrukh finishes his flashback, when he is starring at himself in the mirror fingering his wound (that sounds kind of dirty, doesn’t it?). Or at a split screen moment that is coming up right after intermission. Rakesh Roshan (Hrithik’s Dad, big director/producer) said in an interview with Tejaswini Ganti that the way to set up a film is to bring the volume up and down around intermission. You have a low energy bit, followed by a really big scene right at intermission, and then post intermission you have another low energy piece. It makes the pre-intermission finale feel bigger that way. I think this may also just be how Shetty puts together a movie. He follows a fight-talkie- comedy-talkie-song-talkie-comedy-talkie-fight kind of pattern. Which lends itself to many false endings.
But all of that is just to say, this is a good ending! There were other possibilities for where he could cut it, but this is closest to the middle of the picture, it follows a fairly low stakes scene and then jolts you awake right when you start to relax. And it will definitely bring you back in post-interval to see what happens next!
Speaking of, I am not going to make you wait for the next post to find out what is next, I’m going to go right into it! Post interval, we pick up cutting between Shahrukh, upset, driving away in his car, and the conversation that is still ringing in his ears. It’s actually pretty smoothly done, cutting between Kajol in the living room, throwing him out and saying “If you ever come back, I will take your life!” (there it is again! So many repeated lines in this movie! Tight construction, or lack of originality?), and him driving the car away hearing her voice still in his ears. As he is driving, he also starts flashing back to their past (this can’t be safe! Remember, if you start to flashback, always pull over to the side of the road until it passes.)
(Rocky could have also used this advice)
So, past-Shahrukh, and past-Kajol are meeting with his Sex Cult father in their super glassy house. Sex Cult has been convinced by their love and is ready to give his blessing to the marriage. But he doesn’t believe her father will ever agree.
Cut to, Kajol alone talking to her Bond Villain father. She is wearing a really odd blue silk over shirt thing. It’s kind of like a robe, knee length and with a sash, but she is wearing it open over a shirt and pants. But it is also very pretty, a bright blue color with a big white flower pattern. I am noticing all this, because her father gives his blessing after all, and Kajol leaps up to embrace him allowing us, the audience, to see her outfit in full length.
After Kajol goes running out of the room (giving a new angle on the weird blue top thing), her father’s top goon says “wait a second here, you were totally lying, right?” Her father agrees, yes, he was totally lying! There are two ways to end an war, by forgiving the enemy, or by ending him.
And now, finally, cut to that fancy Bulgarian hotel lobby we kept seeing in Shahrukh’s flashbacks, going all the way to the opening sequence. It is, indeed, very fancy. There’s a piano!
Shahrukh and his Dad enter, no bodyguards. His Dad moves forward to greet Bond Villain, but Shahrukh moves a little more cautiously, and marks the location of every man, the bartender, the waiter, the piano player, and the group over by Bond Villain. As soon as they get over to him, Shahrukh realizes something is wrong and says “Where’s Kajol?” Bond Villain says “She really does love you. I didn’t want to make her watch me kill you and your father.” And, Guns!
Everyone pulls out weapons, and/or dives for cover. Lots of shooting! I am distracted, because I am positive that on one of the walls in the background I saw the oil painting from Ghostbusters 2, but they never cut back to it. But then I forget about it, because Shahrukh is amazing! He dives and runs and jumps and disarms two guys at once and grabs a machine gun off someone and shoots down a chandelier for no reason, and it is all super cool! In the middle of this, Bond Villain has his top goon call Kajol and say “We are under attack! Come quick! It was all a trick!” So evil!
(according to this, there were multiple concept art paintings drawn up, and of course fan art, so I suppose there could be someone in Bulgaria or on the set crew for Dilwale, who has one. We never see the face, but the chest portion looks exactly the same.)
Finally, Shahrukh has killed or wounded everybody. But the two top guys, Sex Cult and Bond Villain are facing off. Oh, and did I say that way back when we were first getting oriented to this flashback, we learned that they used to be best friends who parted ways? And now they are facing each other over guns! Oh the emotions! More importantly, there is this statue in the background that looks kind of like Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
So they kill each other. Shahrukh sees this from across the room and runs to catch his father just before he hits the ground and be there while he dies (just like Main Hoon Na!). Unlike Main Hoon Na, he is doing this while his one true love watches. Kajol arrives, in a peachy shirt and jeans outfit that fits kind of the same as the hideous green shirt outfit but at least is a better color, just in time to see Shahrukh grabbing his father’s gun, so it looks like Shahrukh is the one who shot her father.
And then, more great face acting! You can see Shahrukh try to process the death of his father, and her father, and having to explain it to her, and then just give up and know she will never believe him, and lay his gun down. Meanwhile, you can see Kajol’s face just completely fall for half a second as she discovers (as she thinks) that her lover has betrayed her and her heart breaks. She pulls her gun and steels herself to pull the trigger. But before she can, Shahrukh sets his gun down. Her face changes again, as she realizes that her love is true, but that she still has to kill him, because he killed her father and used her to do it. And she shoots him in the heart.
Which is apparently not that bad of an injury, because cut to Shahrukh looking basically fine in a hospital room with Anwar and Shakti. They tell him that Kajol is gone, no one knows where. They say he should forget her and focus on what he has of his life. Kajol, meanwhile, is being told the same thing by the top goon (who has a little sling, but is also basically fine. Gun battles: not injurious to health). She agrees that they should leave Bulgaria and start anew, and then goes to comfort her little sister, and it’s Kriti! Well, baby-Kriti. At the same time, Shahrukh leaves his hospital bed with his own little sling and walks into the corridor to embrace baby-Varun. Split-screen! This is the moment that could also have been intermission, but would have been over an hour and a half in, so too late. Also, this symbolizes what I talked about in an earlier review, how the most important action in their lives, what bonds Shahrukh and Kajol together, is not their love story, but their shared sense of duty to their siblings.
Okay, I’m coming up on 4 thousand words again, and we are well past intermission. Time to stop for the day.