Poor Baazigar! I started this over a week ago, but I keep getting distracted by Sunny Deol (Ghayal Once Again opening soon! Which means I need to track down a copy of Ghayal the first one before that somehow!), and by new movies (check out the review and synopsis of Airlift), so Baazigar keeps getting short shrift. Plus, it is so haaaaaard to write! Compared to the next 3 SRKajol films, which I know so well I can basically write them in my sleep.
So I am going to do my darndest to actually run this thing out to the end so I can coast through the DDLJ–KKHH–K3G goodness, followed by the massive depression and sobbing of MNIK. And maybe throw in some bonus friendly appearances along the way (Did you know they have a scene together in Duplicate? Has anyone but me actually seen Duplicate?).
Right, flashback! Preceded (or followed by? Either way, framed by) Shahrukh doing the super cool insulting foot thing.
And we open at Holi! Thank goodness! This was almost a movie from the 90s without a Holi scene! Raakhee (remember how she was crazy and depressed when we saw her with Baby Shahrukh and later with grown up Shahrukh?) is sane! And dressed younger, and holding a baby and interacting with Baby Shahrukh. They are throwing a big Holi party at their big fancy house with a big fancy yard. When Daddy shows up! Kajol’s Daddy, that is, there is an adult man acting like a father to Shahrukh already, so I am assuming that is Shahrukh’s Daddy. Kajol’s Daddy is there with Baby Shilpa and Baby Kajol. He looks humble and awkward. He comes sort of bending and hesitating up to Shahrukh’s father. Shahrukh’s Dad is cautious, but listening. Raakhee is watching the background, all “I don’t know about this, but I’m just the little woman, so I can’t express an opinion.”
See, Kajol’s Daddy, apparently, just got out of jail after 3 years for stealing from Shahrukh’s Daddy. And his wife died while he was inside. And now he has these two innocent little girls to care for. He swears, on Baby Shilpa, that he will never cheat Shahrukh’s Daddy again if he just gives him another chance. See, this is why you never swear on your daughter and then break your vow! Because a psycho with contact lenses will hunt her down years later and throw her off a building!
(“Daddy, why did you break your vow!” is what she is screaming)
Shahrukh’s Daddy is a trusting soul, and believes all this (who would swear on their daughter and then lie? Everyone knows it will inevitably lead to her death from falling from a great height 10 years later!). And, montage! Kajol’s Daddy is working at Shahrukh’s Daddy’s business, he is slowly becoming more and more trusted, and now we are going on vacation! That is, the Shahrukh family is. Before they leave, his Daddy gives Kajol’s Daddy power of attorney. This is in like their living room, Raakhee calls him out in the middle of the conversation. And then Kajol’s Daddy stares into space, in the living room of his enemy, and delivers a lengthy speech explaining his whole evil plan. Duu-uuude! Why would you do that! Just think these things, don’t say them! Also, DIRECTOR!!! Why would you do this! Just have a voice over, not a monologue!
No one overhears his plan, apparently, and it isn’t even that complicated of a plan. As you would expect, the death of his wife through stress and poverty while he was in prison is still a bit of a sore spot. So he has snuck back into Shahrukh’s Daddy’s life, gained his trust, just to finally get power of attorney and take over everything! So evil!
While Shahrukh’s family is on vacation, and apparently in total communications blackout (maybe Raakhee has really strict “family time” rules?), we see a bunch of newspapers showing the evil rise of Kajol’s Daddy. He changes the name of the company and takes over complete. Shahrukh’s Daddy arrives home to find his factory sign name changed. He confronts Kajol’s Daddy, who gives him the whole “dead wife, still mad” rundown. Then goes home to find out they are losing their house as well. It’s a tough time, is what I am saying.
But why does Baby Shahrukh care about all of this? Beyond a general sort of losing their home way? Well, we are about to see! Raakhee has taken Baby Shahrukh with her and is meeting with Kajol’s Daddy in his office. Kajol’s Daddy implies he will help her keep her home, if she lets him have his way with her! Kajol’s Daddy! You are terrible!!!! Also, why would you say this with her young son in the room? Both because it will inevitably lead to a burning desire for revenge that still drives him years later, and because it is creepy! Oh, and this whole thing is very shades of Mother India. Of course, in that, the son grew up with a burning desire for revenge, and ended up kidnapping the evil guy’s daughter, but not killing her. Because his mother wasn’t crazy and killed him before he could go too far. And then Nargis married Sunil Dutt in real life, so there was a happy (and very Oedipal) ending after all. The point is, don’t come on to married women because either their son will kill your daughter, or dishonor your daughter, and either way you will learn a lesson about why women should not be disrespected. Unless you are in a movie, in which case it may lead to a long and happy marriage between actors in real life (well, happy-ish).
(Long and happy marriage! Also, check out baby Sanjay Dutt!)
And we are out of flashback!!! Shahrukh and Kajol are in a jewelry store. Aw, he is such a good fiance! Keeping her company while she picks out the wedding jewelry! And, unlike Sunny Deol in Darr, he is not subtly feminized by actually trying on the jewelry with her. But, who should they bump into at the jewelry store, but ugly hair friend! You remember, from that birthday party that Shilpa was at? Shahrukh does another one of those awesome quiet freak outs as she mentions that she thinks she may have seen Shilpa’s secret boyfriend, no not Ravi (Ravi! Blech!), some other guy. Kajol is interested, but Shahrukh manages to pull her away in a “if I were less charming, this would be rude” kind of way.
Party! Party Party! Kajol’s Daddy is throwing a big fancy engagement party for them. Kajol is in a gold sari that is way too eighties. And, song! Not a fun big dance number song, a one guy serenading the crowd song. Kajol and Shahrukh dance together, and it is awesome. If you remember in my Dilwale posts, I talked about how amazing it is when they dance together like this? Like they feel like a couple that’s been together for 50 years? Well, this is their first movie, and it already feels like that. They really are just magic.
Watching them dance is weird cop college friend. Who suddenly starts singing. What is it with these guys at Hindi movie parties? Just let the hired performer do the song! It’s what they’re paid for! And college friend starts flashing back to college, when apparently he stalked Kajol? Okay, so the “bad” boyfriend in this is the guy the girls actually like and interact with and stuff? And the “good” boyfriends are the ones who stalk them and hide behind trees and stuff? No! This is terrible! Also, apparently they went to college in Ooty, which means cop guy is doing all of this in the standard ugly Ooty sweaters. In fact, this whole song is a lot like my favorite song from Sarfarosh, except terrible. They’re even both flashbacks!
(yes, that is Naseeruddin Shah)
And, Johnny Lever!!! He is serving drinks at the party, when he hears the phone ring and goes to answer it. It’s the ugly hair friend! You know, from one scene ago at the jewelry store? She is calling because she has found a photo from the birthday that shows Shahrukh in the distance through a window. And I guess she doesn’t recognize Shahrukh? Or isn’t sure? Thank goodness he was wearing those glasses! They really are the perfect disguise, whether you are superman or a super killer. Anyway, she asks Johnny Lever to go get Kajol, it’s important, it’s about Shilpa. Johnny Lever conscientiously goes off through the party looking for Kajol, repeating the message out loud over and over so he will remember it. It’s like that scene in Hrithik’s Agneepath when the little boy runs and gets Hrithik to tell him his sister is there. But less cute. Like, a lot less cute.
Along the way, Shahrukh hears him. And I have a moment of supreme joy and excitement when I think Shahrukh is actually going to kill Johnny Lever. Yes! A thousand times yes! Do it Shahrukh! I will love you even more than I already do, for killing icky “nice guy” Ravi and proving your love to Kajol by killing Shilpa! Kill Johnny Lever and remove all elements from this film that prevent SRKajol from being the main plotline all the time!
But, he breaks my heart (you break my heart, Shahrukh!) by instead just distracting Johnny with a request for ice cream, so that by the time he finds Kajol the phone message is all mixed up with the ice cream and it makes no sense, so she ignores it. Meanwhile, Shahrukh has gone to the phone. I briefly think that he is going to put on a girl’s voice to talk on the phone, just like he did in real life to sneak phone calls with Gauri while they were teenagers (as discussed in this excellent book which you should all read). But, no, he puts on a slightly older voice and pretends to be Kajol’s Daddy. Ew ew ew, that sentence sounded so gross!
Oh! And I forgot the most important part of the whole party sequence! Shahrukh is wearing the ugliest jacket! Huge lapels, and a really loose fit, but that’s par for the course in the 90s. No, what takes it to a whole new level is that it has this odd white embroidered pattern on the shoulders right under the lapels in front. Why? Why would you do that? What is wrong with just a simple black jacket?
Also, as he finishes the phone call, college friend/cop walks in. Shahrukh has a moment where he isn’t sure how much he was overheard and I think “Yes! Kill him! He wears ugly sweaters! And once he is out of the picture, you and Kajol can be happy forever and ever and ever!” And then he doesn’t. And I am disappointed. This movie really messes with my moral compass.
But, his yucky incest ridden masquerade works, the friend tells him that she has a photo of the secret boyfriend, and tells him that she thinks maybe the guy in the photo might be Kajol’s Shahrukh. Wait, how did she pierce the impenetrable disguise of wearing glasses? Hopefully she never moves to Metropolis!
And then, cool dude look! Shahrukh walks into the hotel in sunglasses, a loose peacoat, and a white dress shirt with a popped collar. It’s way cooler than it sounds. Also cool is the way this sequence is shot, starting with the elevator doors opening to reveal him, continuing with him walking down the hall towards the calendar, passing it, and still visible going the other way in a mirror reflection. And quietly turning to hide his face when a waiter walks by him. And then he gets to the room of Shilpa’s friend, and it is really nice! I want to work for this hotel and live in their staff quarters! She’s got a huge bed, plus a TV, sofa, and presumably also room service and anything else she would want. And I should put in my application now, because I suspect they have an opening, since Shahrukh breaks into her room and strangles her with his bare hands her. And then stuffs her body into a suitcase. And I know I know, you think we should probably stop rooting for him at this point. But just look how well-dressed he is while doing it!
(what the well-dressed man wears to murder)
Also, on the wall of her super nice hotel room, frequently glimpsed in the background of the fight, is a big blown up picture of koi which is the exact same picture that was hanging in the most popular Thai restaurant in the town where I grew up. Thank goodness, I never go there any more, because I would keep looking around for a hot and murderous SRK.
There are a couple of other cool things with this murder scene. First, when she finally dies, her hand knocks the plug out of the wall and turns off her TV, which is a cool way to show that she is actually really completely dead. Power off, as it were. And second, after killing her, Shahrukh’s face is soaked in sweat. Just like when he takes his race car helmet off. Except that time it was supposed to be (metaphorically) hot, and this time it is just supposed to be kind of gross and showing his loss of control. Which works a lot better for me with sweat than the racecar helmet use of it.
And then he stuffs her in a suitcase, wheels the suitcase through the lobby, puts it in the boot of his car, and throws it in the ocean. But he’s wearing the awesome coat and glasses the whole time, so I am still rooting for him all the way!
And Johnny Lever! He is over hearing Kajol talk to cop college guy who is asking her if she knew the dead girl, because she has disappeared. Kajol is sort of tossing off this scene, just saying her lines like whatever, and I don’t care about Johnny Lever or the cop guy, so I’m skipping it.
And then Shahrukh arrives! And I am back in! But I am also exhausted, so I’m going to stop for now, but come back tomorrow. I have high hopes that I can finally finish this thing in only a few more parts!