Yay! I finally get to the part where we meet Shahrukh-Aryan and nameless star-Sid Kapoor. So much interesting stuff in these two scenes!
Gaurav-Shahrukh, when last seen, was staring at his phone and ignoring the world around him in his fan obsessions. And now, for the first time in the film, we get to break out of his perspective, cutting to a shot of a car window exploding (exciting!), which then pulls back to show that we are seeing an outdoor shoot of an action scene, with that same anonymous handsome guy from the interviews about Shahrukh punching him, standing on the top of a car with a bunch of people around the wheels collapsed. And then a voice says “Cut!” and all the guys laying (lying?) on the ground just stand up and start moving again. And handsome man walks over to the camera, asking “is that a good shot?” The director immediately tells him that it was a great shot, fabulous! Handsome Man smiles, like this makes him happy. And then he smiles bigger when the crowd starts cheering for him, and he fights his way through, but indicates to his security that they can let the young women through for him to sign autographs.
And now, finally, we see Gaurav again. He is in the crowd, with a hat on his head and a scarf around his neck and sunglasses, shouting out “Sid! Sid Kapoor! Let me through! I am your Fan!” Sid notices his excitement and smiles wider and waves him through. Gaurav immediately starts getting all excited, kneels down and touches his feet, then gets pulled up and is all “I love you! I love you! I look like Aryan Khanna, but I always pretend to be you at the lookalike contest!” Sid Kapoor is eating this up. He’s got a smile on his face, like he is trying to be coolly amused and not totally into these compliments, but he is definitely interested and not bored by it all, not the way Aryan-Shahrukh looked bored even when he was waving to a crowd of thousands.
And his actions speak even louder than his face, as Sid Kapoor is the first person in the film to take Gaurav-Shahrukh up on his offer of doing his act for him (in this case, a Sid Kapoor act instead of an Aryan one). Even Aryan Khanna’s gate guard was too sophisticated to care about seeing his act, but here is Sid Kapoor, lapping it up, encouraging him to do more. And rewarding him by inviting him to come back to his trailer and chat for a while.
(Gate-guard: no interest in seeing a lame imitation act when he can see actual Aryan Khanna any day of the week)
This is all just so fascinating! At first glance, Sid Kapoor comes off much better than Aryan Khanna in this movie, he is kind and approachable, he gives his fans what they want. But does he give them what is good for them? Is it right to let young women through the line, to encourage a young imitator to do his act for him, to post the filming location on twitter in the first place so you can be found? It makes the Sid Kapoor character look small, petty, in need to affirmation and love. Just like he needed the director to compliment him after the shot, and he needed the reporters to affirm his bravery in his interview post-birthday brawl.
But, in a bigger sense, this is not a sustainable Star-fan relationship. The Star is going to wear himself out, lower his value through ease of access. And the Fan will run the risk of getting too close, of seeing that their idol is merely a man. It may appear cold and uncaring, and in fact it is cold and uncaring, the way Aryan Khanna limits his interactions and seems not to even care about all the love coming to him. But it’s the only way this works, the only way he can keep his power in the eyes of his followers, the only way he can keep himself from drowning in their love. And the only way he can protect himself from being swept up in their insanity.
Really, it gets back to the idea of “connection”. Gaurav-Shahrukh thinks that he is connected to Aryan-Shahrukh because he is his fan. Sid Kapoor thinks that his fans are connected to him, that they are just a bigger part of his own stardom, that’s why he has no fear of them, no distance between them and himself. But Aryan-Shahrukh knows there is a distance, that there NEEDS to be a distance.
And that’s why Sid Kapoor is an idiot and will never be a big star. I was thinking in my last post who he was supposed to be, Hrithik because of the way he looks? Ranbir because of the name (Wake Up Sid+Ranbir Kapoor=Sid Kapoor)? But really, it could be anyone of a dozen young stars, any of the up and comers in the past 15 years who have threatened Shahrukh and then sunk back to a level below him. And this is why they sink, because they don’t have the strength and the power to ignore the fame and the love that is offered them.
(Remember when Vivek Oboroi was going to be the next big thing? Does anyone remember? Besides Vivek himself?)
Speaking of, now Sid Kapoor is letting Gaurav-Shahrukh into his trailer. He’s looking at his phone, not even really thinking about Gaurav-Shahrukh, even when Gaurav-Shahrukh starts talking to him, asking why he doesn’t let go of the Aryan Khanna thing, Sid Kapoor is still not really thinking or looking at him, just looking down at his phone and talking about how he is going to take Aryan Khanna down.
Gaurav in the background is still sort of looking and hopping around, and for us, the viewers, it is nerve-wracking. Because we don’t know what he is planning, but we know he must be planning something. Because we know he is a real person with his own motivations and complications. While Sid Kapoor, the idiot, thinks he is just a mirror that reflects worship back at him.
And so he is unprepared when Gaurav-Shahrukh offers to help him off with his jacket, and takes the chance to tie him up with it instead, then forcing him into a chair, tying him down with his scarf, and shoving his phone in his mouth. The whole time, Sid Kapoor just looks scared and confused, and doesn’t even fight back. It culminates when he shoves his phone in his mouth to keep him quiet, and then it starts ringing in his mouth. Sid looks down at it in terror and hope. It’s a great moment, Gaurav-Shahrukh sees a phone and sees a way to physically dominate someone. Sid Kapoor sees a phone and sees a magical tool that can save him from anything. Of course, it doesn’t save him. Gaurav-Shahrukh simply throws it away, and then threatens him with his trophy (trophy! I have been trying to remember that word for 3 posts! Finally!) to keep him quiet.
And then he backs up and pulls out his own phone, which of course has Aryan on the back of it, holds it up and hands Sid a script and orders him to read it. Sid takes a look at it, and says “This is in Hindi, I can’t read it.” Gaurav looks at him in disgust, then beats him with the trophy, saying “You are in our Hindi films and you can’t even read the language!” And then backs up with his phone again. And cut to, the actual video, Sid Kapoor in English apologizing for everything he said about Aryan and asking forgiveness, as we see the video trend on twitter, be posted and reposted on Facebook, and spread from phone to phone.
But before we move on to that, how interesting is the “can’t speak Hindi” thing, huh? Especially since we already had the louts in his store in Delhi saying they couldn’t read the sign he had posted in English. Hindi is the language of the streets, the tough guys, the violent ones, the hard ones. Gaurav can speak both English and Hindi, he can pretend to be innocent and delicate, but at heart he thinks in Hindi. When he is putting up a sign on the wall of his store, it is printed out from a computer in English. But when he is breaking into a film star’s trailer and beating him up, he has it handwritten in Hindi. And of course cowardly weakling Sid Kapoor can’t even read it.
Now that we’ve seen how Sid Kapoor is as a star, how superficial and surface he is, let’s see how Aryan Khanna does it! Oh, but first, what is up with that horse statue? And the purple? Everything inside “Aryan Khanna”‘s house is purple, including his wife, in every scene we see. I’m not sure if it is supposed to be some sort of subconscious “royal” thing, or if it is based on SRK’s house in real life (I need to dig out the last time they did an inside Mannat magazine spread), or just that they wanted to have a specific color theme for every area of his life and picked purple for Mannat. More disturbingly, why does he have a statue of a horse’s head made out of wood on the table right next to the TV? Godfather reference? “Art”? Who knows! But it gave me nightmares.
Not-Gauri is sitting on the couch watching a replay of the Sid Kapoor apology while Aryan-Shahrukh walks into the room from behind, bending down to talk to an adorable little girl, whispering to her that her brother only bullies her because he is afraid of her strength. And they will defeat him through cheating. And then he comes up behind a little cute little boy in glasses who is playing with a wii, and is all excited about playing with “Papa” (Aryan-Shahrukh). Aryan-Shahrukh says, no no, he has to play with Isha! He has been coaching her! Isha takes the remote, and swings, and Aryan-Shahrukh reaches over and knocks his son over so that Isha wins. The son objects, but Aryan-Shahrukh rolls right over them and declares that this last point will decide the game!
And then, that fire put out, he moves on to sit on the couch next to not-Gauri (seriously, the cast a woman with a vague similarity, and then styled her EXACTLY the same way), and casually grabs a cup from the coffee table and takes a sip while they watch TV. Aryan-Shahrukh on the TV is saying nice things about Sid Kapoor, how he is glad this is all settled now, it is good to have new young actors in the industry, and so on and so on, the same stuff we have heard Shahrukh-Shahrukh say a million times in real life every time he is asked about some young rival.
(See, vague similarity here. But give her those same wavy locks and “natural” make-up, and they turn into twins)
On the couch, Aryan-Shahrukh and not-Gauri are watching him. Not-Gauri says she is glad it is all over now, but why did he has to make such a thing anyway? Aryan-Shahrukh says “It was not a thing, I didn’t even hit him, it was just a little slap. And besides, if he comes to my house and drinks my good red wine, why does he think he can flirt with my wife?” Not-Gauri nods in agreement, then points out “You are never around, I have to flirt with someone!” Aryan-Shahrukh nods in fake seriousness, “Yes yes, that makes sense.” And then he makes a little moue and says “But not with him. Find someone else!” Gauri smiles and laughs with him.
Now, isn’t this interesting! In so many many ways! First, notice how different he is from Sid Kapoor. He doesn’t need random girls at his sets, or to invite a fan back to his trailer to keep him company, or to spend time watching bad imitations of himself by adoring fans. He is happy within his own little world. His huge house, his nice family, spending time with his wife and kids and no one else.
Second, his first words are “he bullies you because he is afraid of you.” This is a character who is very aware of the games people play and how to see through them and beat them. But this is also a character who can be thrown by his own tactics, just as he helps his daughter beat her brother by an unfair use of force and trickery, in response to his bullying her, so he will be defeated by the one he bullies.
Third, that whole revelation about what really happened at the birthday party with Sid Kapoor is fascinating. Both he and his wife treat it so casually! That of course he is going to be beating down people who come into his own home and disrespect him. And that it might result in a big crazy press story, but it’s still just a joke to both of them. They are solid in their power and position, both as a couple and as beloved public figures, and they really don’t care about little things like this. Oh, and I really like how they are set up as a couple, besides the little laugh together, there is the really nice gesture that he takes a sip from her cup of tea, and then she takes it back and drinks from it as well. It’s a great moment of marital intimacy, it tells you all you need to know about how solid and comfortable these people are together. And how far he is from Sid Kapoor and his parade of groupies.
Now, I think there may be a cut back to Gaurav-Shahrukh in his hotel room watching it all play out, but I’m not sure. I know that we come back on Shahrukh sleeping on a sofa in a room with a bunch of awards and a glimpse of the DDLJ leather jacket and ukulele in the background. His wife is shaking him up and handing him a cup of coffee. He wakes up and mentions that he fell asleep reading the script last night. This, by the way, is the only time the film deals with him as an actor, rather than a movie star. We never see him dealing with directors, producers, co-stars, or on a film set. I think this is on purpose, when he is acting, he is just an actor. But this film wants to deal with all the other areas of his life, all the things that come with stardom, not just acting. All the places where he is the one true king of the world, not just another working person on set.
Oh right, why are they waking him up? Well, because his assistant, Sunaina, has something for him. Sunaina, by the way, is the real hero of this movie! Oh my gosh, her job is so horrible! She has to constantly clean up her boss’ messes, be always on call, and try to keep up with a crazy amount of energy.
On the other hand, she does seem to have a sincerely warm relationship with Aryan-Shahrukh. He makes a joke when she comes in “Are you pregnant?” But it’s said in a nice way, not a jerky way. Like, “I know you are so smart and focused, it would be funny if I treated you in the way women are usually treated, as if being pregnant is the only important thing they could ever announce.” She just ignores his lame joke, so clearly part of her job is not laughing at him and making him feel smart. She just pulls out a laptop and props it up and says that they just got a disturbing video through his facebook account.
(Also, this actress has great hair. It looks even better in the film than it does in this picture)
One of my friends pointed out how this film/script feels slightly out of date because there is so little social media interaction between Gaurav-Shahrukh and Aryan-Shahrukh. This is really the only time it is used, Gaurav-Shahrukh sending him the video through Facebook. Although he does follow Sid on twitter. And there is that comment about “Facebook fans” when he is trying to get past the guard.
I think maybe it is a bigger statement? That stars like Sid Kapoor feel the need to stay in touch constantly through social media, while stars like Aryan-Shahrukh have their assistants check through Facebook feeds for them. And that fans like those who follow Sid Kapoor, or the ones who stay on Aryan-Shahrukh’s Facebook all the time, have a shallower connection than those like Gaurav-Shahrukh who go out into the real world and do things like lookalike contests and creating rooms papered in posters.
Oh, right, then they watch the video. All three of them look legitimately disturbed by what they are watching. But while not-Gauri looks disturbed, and Sunaina looks alert and braced for action, Aryan-Shahrukh looks calculating. Like he has already jumped ahead and is figuring out what his next move should be. So he is ready when Sunaina says that Gaurav-Shahrukh left a number where they can reach him.
Bam! That’s 2800 words and 20 minutes! One more post will get me to intermission! And if I skip the chase scenes, I can so do the second half in like two posts! I’m gonna finish by Monday.