DDLJ! 4 months ago, I started trying to work through every SRKajol movie, I finished Baazigar and Karan-Arjun, and then hit DDLJ and suddenly I turned into that picky eater kid who takes 4 hours to finish a bowl of cereal. I’m just savoring every single bite! And moving forward at a rate of 2,000 words per every 5 minutes.
(part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here, part 9 here, part 10 here, part 11 here, part 12 here, part 13 here, part 14 here, part 15 here, part 16 here)
So, I’ve already covered the first hour or so. I assume we all know what happens! Just in case you need a refresher on the high points, Shahrukh is a college drop out rich kid and Kajol is an obedient daughter to a dignified middle-class father. They both decide to travel with friends on a Eurorail trip after graduation, a last hurray for them both, Kajol before her arranged marriage with an Indian boy she’s never met and Shahrukh before he settles down and takes over the family business so his father can retire. At their first meeting, Shahrukh comes on a little strong, and Kajol reacts with panic, unable to handle a basic give and take with a boy, since she has never been allowed out on her own before. At their second meeting, her resentment of his flirtations with her friends and their eager responses leads her to put him on the spot and force him to perform. Her aggression and anger here for the first time cause him to really notice her, and to respond in a similarly aggressive manner. Again, she doesn’t know how to react, and so defaults to distrust and anger. But it is clear that he has already gotten under her skin, and vice versa, by the very depth of her anger, and his increasing focus on trying to force a reaction from her. It all culminates when they both miss the train, and she rejects his assistance, not trusting him even with that much. And he, rightfully, finds this the worst possible insult she could offer, that she doesn’t trust him to do his duty as a man and make sure she arrives safely at her destination. Despite the insult, he still rescues her when she is almost arrested and waits for her to join him in the car he has rented to take them both safely onward. And, finally, she apologizes for her behavior. And he immediately forgives her and turns it back into a joke, which is the nicest thing he could possibly do. And now, finally, they are getting along! And then the car breaks down, and they have to get out and walk. Which is where I left off!
So, they are walking side by side, perfectly in step, and Kajol is talking about her family. We know her character, and we know how important her family is to her, and we have seen how different she is with them than she is with anyone else, including her friends, and definitely including Shahrukh so far. She is letting him see the Kajol who sings and dances and laughs with her mother, not just the bitter uptight uncomfortable Kajol who isn’t sure how to handle male attention, and reacts to any obstacle with barely controlled panic.
And Shahrukh responds in kind, showing her a side of himself that only his father has seen. Remember way back at the beginning, when we first met Shahrukh? He was partying with his friends, playing rugby, failing class, being generally horrible. But then, after all of that, he goes back and talks to his father, admitting that he didn’t graduate. His father treated it all as a joke, they ran around laughing, but then Anupum ran out of breath and suddenly Shahrukh was serious, and caring. He stopped laughing and immediately offered to start working now, so his father could rest. He revealed the serious and caring part of himself, the one that worries about others and thinks about the future and how the world works, and is ultimately much more ready to be an adult than Kajol is.
Which is why, when Kajol keeps talking about how happy she is just being with her family, how her mother is her best friend, he stops her and says “but you can’t just be with friends and family forever; some day you will need a friend who can walk with you through life.” And, okay, Adi, a little on the nose to have them having this conversation AS THEY WALK TOGETHER THROUGH LIFE! But I will forgive it, because I don’t think either of them even realize how on the nose it is. At least, not consciously. Kajol is talking about her family, letting him see this small private part of herself because she wants him to see her as her family sees her, and because she is trying to tell him why she is so scared of the world, and of him. And he responds by gently trying to move her out of her comfort zone, pointing out that she can’t stay with her family forever, she will need to grow up and move on.
Which is when Kajol gives him another test. Back in the last section, I interpreted her questions to him about how long the drive would be, where they were going, etc. as a series of small tests. She wasn’t confrontational or doubting, she was testing the waters of treating him like a man and a protector, and she wanted to see how well he would do with those responsibilities. He passed those tests (sort of, I mean the car did break down, but that wasn’t his fault), and now as he pushes her to start thinking about life after leaving her childhood family, she gives him another test, announcing “I can’t walk any more.”
Shahrukh stops and turns to her, saying, “What, do you expect me to carry you?” And yeah, I kind of did! It’s what would normally happen in a super romantic movie like this remember in Yaadein when Hrithik pulled Kareena in a boat across the ocean because she was sick? Am I remembering that right? It seems ridiculous, but that was a ridiculous movie. But, this is a better movie than that.
(Also, what is Kareena wearing?!?! No, more importantly, WHAT IS HRITHIK WEARING?!?!? Did the dog eat his shirt?)
Shahrukh makes the joke, and then immediately comes up with a better plan, suggesting they try to rent a room from one of the houses nearby for the night, as he has no money left for a hotel. Hmm. Not sure if this is a thing that actually happens in Switzerland, that you can just stop at a house and ask to spend the night. But I will let it go, because maybe it is a thing and I just don’t know! And anyway, it makes a lot more sense that they would stop and spend the night like this than that they would just happen upon a hotel. And, more importantly, this way it makes sense that Kajol wouldn’t hear the whole discussion with the owner about rooms. Unlike Kareena in Jab We Met, who was right there part of the discussion, suggesting they just take the one room and only for an hour (I love that scene).
(Even with French subtitles, it’s still funny!)
So, Shahrukh talks with a man standing in front of a house, we just hear the end of the discussion when he thanks him in English and pinches the baby’s cheek (thank goodness, no awkward European extra acting!), then he goes over to where Kajol is sitting on a chair in the yard and tells her it is all taken care of. This whole quick bit is another sign of her growing trust, that she is just sitting where he no doubt told her to wait, expecting him to come back having solved all their problems. And its a sign that Shahrukh really can solve problems, using the skills we’ve already seen in his character but which haven’t been put to very good use so far. He can talk people around, gain their trust, get what he wants, just like he got Amrish Puri to open his store and sell him beer way back at the beginning. Only now it is being used to get Amrish Puri’s daughter a room for the night.
In an odd way, all of his trickery and deceit serve to show what a gentlemen he is. He could easily use these same skills to run game on girls, to really truly trick them, instead of just pulling out lame lines like “Your eyes remind me of my grandmother.” Think about Ranbir Kapoor’s character in Bachnea Ae Haseeno, especially in the sequence with Manisha Lamba when he tries to recreate this whole scenario (since her character is obsessed with DDLJ). He spies on her, he stalks her, he separates her from her friends, he pretends to be truly in love with her, and then he seduces and abandons her. That is very different from just using a clever line to start a conversation and maybe get to hold hands a bit. Shahrukh will go that far and do those things to buy beer for his friends, to save Kajol from the police, to get them a place to spend the night, but it would never occur to him to go to such extremes in order to seduce a woman into sleeping with him.
(In this, as in all things, Shahrukh > Ranbir. Well, and also, Ranbir in Bachna < Ranbir in Yeh Jawaani)
Which is exactly what Kajol doesn’t grasp here! She walks into the room they have and says “Wow, what a beautiful room!” And it is nice! And also, completely believable as an upstairs room that might be rented out, probably because it is an upstairs room that the film crew rented out. There is a stair entrance, then a table and some chairs, a sofa and a coffee table, a fireplace, and a bed. It’s a completely reasonable sort of guest suite/lodger kind of space.
Kajol goes over to warm her hands by the fire, and Shahrukh immediately leaps on the bed. Oh, and time is already a little out of the sense here (it will only get worse once we get into the song). Supposedly they have been walking long enough for her to get tired, and Shahrukh is now ready to go to bed already, but it’s completely bright out! If this is spring in Europe, still chilly enough that they are wearing coats, I would guess the sun is going down around 6 or 7, way too early for them to already be thinking about bed and finding a place for the night. But, who knows, maybe it just set super fast between the time he was getting Kajol from the backyard and when they got up to the room, and Shahrukh is super tired from all that walking, so that’s why he is already for bed! It is a really nice looking bed too, big poofy white down comforter and a bunch of pillows.
Kajol notices immediately that there is only one room and goes, basically, “Wait a minute! This is not going to work!” You can see Shahrukh in the foreground sitting on the bed, sort of working his face and he figures out how to play this. Clearly, he knew her well enough to know it would be a problem! He decides to play it casual. First saying “What problem?” Then just laughing and saying “Obviously, you will take the bed, and I will take the sofa! This is all good!” Kajol is standing now, arms crossed, back in her super defensive mode that she drops into whenever she is scared or uncomfortable. She is not having this, and tells him she is leaving! Shahrukh is in his worst possible habit as well, going into extreme joking and nervous laughter, because he doesn’t think her behavior deserves a serious response. He flops down on the bed and tells her “Fine! Leave!” She says “I’m really going!”, giving him a chance to respond to her concerns and solve them. But Shahrukh is stubborn now, and there is no solution for her concerns, the only solution is to try to laugh her out of them and accept the shelter he has found for them. Plus, of course, her concerns really are ridiculous, unless she is back to assuming that any man, even one she has been traveling under the protection of for an entire day, will attack her as soon as they are alone over night. So, instead of trying to reassure or comfort her, he just pops back up briefly out of his sprawl on the bed, tells her she can leave, and then flops back down again.
Hey, look at that! I got through another five minutes! Come back tomorrow for the barn scene! Maybe I’ll manage to make it all the way to the song!