DDLJ Part 16: Shahrukh makes his move (part 2) Ready for the Moment I Fell in Love with Shahrukh?

I broke off sort of in the middle of a scene last time, because I was going soooooooooooo slowly, and because there was so much important stuff to cover!  But now I’m back, and I’m going to get through to the moment when I fell in love with Shahrukh 12 years ago.  Actually, I think it was 12 years ago this month.  It was during summer school, and July sounds about right.

(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)

Last time, I got through first 3 parts of the bridge scene.  Shahrukh sincerely confessed his love to Kajol.  Then backed off and turned it into a joke when she couldn’t handle it.  Then landed somewhere in the middle, half joke and half serious, asking her to just “suppose” she actually fell in love with someone on this trip, and he fell in love with her, would she still marry a stranger?  And then there was a loooooooooooooong pause while he studied her face and she thought about an answer.  Only, the train whistle blew, interrupting them, so instead she just said she didn’t want to miss the train again, and walked away, not hearing Shahrukh’s response “I want to miss it again and again.”  Well, she heard something, enough to make her turn back and smile.

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But, I don’t think she is smiling because she heard what he said.  I think she is smiling because she just heard him say something.  The very fact of his voice makes her happy and contented.  Hearing what he actually said, being challenged to do something about her feelings, that terrifies her.  But just feeling them makes her feel happy and light.

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Shahrukh is happy too, because he IS doing something.  He just half confessed his feelings, and he knows he got to her.  He just needs a little confirmation.  See how he starts out being a little nervous about his personal challenge to himself, that he can make her turn around.

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But then he starts to smile, because he can feel it is going to happen.  He knows he has her in the palm of his hand already, and the farther he gets from that last conversation, the more sure he is.

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Oh yeah, he’s got her!!!  Look at that smile when she actually does turn!  It’s partly “woo!  She loves me!”  But it’s also a little bit “oh yeah, I am a God among men who has just managed to break through this girl’s impossible reserve and managed to make her feel something by using a lot of fast talk and mental gymnastics!”

And then there’s another little filler moment.  I completely forgot this was here until I started watching the film shot by shot, but it is here for a reason.  Just like those establishing shots, which both showed us the train station or bus station or where ever, but also told us something about their personality and relationships through where they were standing, what they were wearing, how they were moving across the screen.

There’s just like 10 seconds here, between the moment when she turns and the moment they say good-bye in London, when we see them both on the train.  In any other movie, this would just be a shot to bridge the point between “still on vacation” and “arriving in London”.  But in this film, Adi uses it to give us a little glimpse of their mental state.

Well, Adi and the music director.  I just watched Fan for the 7th time, on DVD, and I remembered my least favorite part of the film: the music.  It is so obtrusive!  And meaningless.  Okay, there is a sort of “love theme” for Gaurav and Aryan.  But mostly it is just “fight scene here, so peppy fast fight music!  Dramatic scene here, so lots of strings!”  It’s completely out of synch with the sort of reflective and thoughtful mood of the rest of the film.

Unlike in DDLJ, where the music is used perfectly!  Most of all, the “Tujhe Dekho To” tune that Shahrukh keeps playing on his ukulele or whatever that is.  It’s their love theme, but it’s not a sweet and wistful dreamy love theme, it’s a frantic one, that gets in your mind and you can’t get it out.  The more love is over-powering Shahrukh, the more he plays it and the faster and faster it goes.  And the more Kajol is over-powered by her feelings, the more she hears it.

Which brings me here, to this little 10 second bit.  Shahrukh is playing his love theme, over and over, sitting in the compartment where they first met, sitting the place Kajol was sitting when he first talked to her.  And he is playing it to her, even though she isn’t there.  Notice how he has the bag positioned like a person, with the bell she bought and he is carrying hanging out of the top.  And how he is gazing at it while he plays.  The bell has been a “thing” all along, but for the next half hour or so, it is very definitively Kajol’s heart.  For this moment, Shahrukh has Kajol’s heart in his possession, and he is enjoying his last few minutes of having it, and trying to imprint his personality on to it.

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And it is working, because Kajol can hear the music he is playing and feel the pull he is inducing on her, all the way inside the compartment sitting on her seat.  This is also the first time we get this particular shot, Kajol looking out a train window as the world passes by.  It will come up again when she arrives in the Punjab for the first time.  It’s a nice sign of how her life is right now, speeding along the track her father chose for her, unlike the rest of this trip when she was jumping onto her own trains, missing trains, taking buses, riding cars, walking, experiencing every possible transit option.  And that is what she will return to in the end, of course, when she gets to pick the train she wants to ride. (Of course, in 2014, we got a re-imagining of that ending in Humpty Sharma, where the girl not only gets to pick the transport, she gets to drive it herself and it’s up the boy to hop on!)

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And then we are in London for the good-bye scene.  It’s more abrupt than I remembered, at least the first bit.  Everyone is saying good-bye very quickly in a big group, all the boys and girls splitting off in different directions, the camera is obscured, by crowds walking by, the dialogue is unclear, it is all very rushed and confused.  Until, suddenly, it is just Kajol and Shahrukh left.  Somehow, in my mind, I thought there must have been some “reason” for them to have this individual good-bye, that he held her back to give her the bell, or all the other friends took different trains or something.  But, nope!  They could have had a quick handshake and a good-bye just like they said to everyone else, in the middle of all that rush and crush.  But instead, they chose to hang back for a second and grab one more moment “alone” together.

 

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I don’t think it’s really hitting them at this moment what is happening.  Or maybe it isn’t hitting Kajol.  She is deep deep in denial mode, all happy and cheerful and “well, that was a nice vacation, now I am going home to marry a man I have never met and everything will work out fine!”

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But I think Shahrukh has a little more going on.  He almost looks indulgent, like he knows she is being flip and happy and he thinks it’s “cute” that she is pretending not to feel anything.  Plus, he knows he still has her “heart” (the bell).

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It is telling that she doesn’t remember to get it back from him.  I think it’s probably more that she doesn’t “remember”.  On some level, she wants him to have something from her, either as an excuse to see her again, or just so they will stay connected in some way.

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She thinks she can break that connection so easily, just turn away and run off.  But then of course she turns back a second later because she can’t quite do it.  She isn’t strong enough to be the one who walks away.  And Shahrukh knows that, because he knows he “has her” now, which is why he is so silent and cool for most of this conversation.  He knows he can just sit back and she will do exactly what he needs her to do.

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This bit, I think is completely sincere.  At least, on Shahrukh’s part.  He honestly can’t come to her wedding.  But it is also a little bit of a “look in your heart, you know it to be true!” moment towards Kajol.  She’s been denying denying denying, ever since they met, first that she could ever like a guy like him, be amused by him.  Then that she could ever trust him.  Then that she could ever love him.  And finally that she could ever let herself love anyone, let herself break through her father’s dictates and forget for a second that she is “Baldev Singh’s daughter” as she promised she wouldn’t before the trip started.

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It’s the little “tchu!” sign he makes after that, shaking his head, that’s what gets me!  That’s where he is really putting himself out there.  The statement could be read other ways, even just that he won’t come see a teenager be married off to a man she doesn’t know.  But the “tchu!”, that’s a clear “what a pity this all is, that I love you and you are getting married.”  And then he walks away, still looking at her face, letting his whole heart show in his eyes.  In my book, I talked about how I started to cry in the movie theater the first time I saw this scene, and I really really did!  I don’t know how it happened for anyone else, but for me, this is the moment I fell completely and hopelessly in love with Shahrukh Khan.  After spending an hour+ thinking he was nothing special, suddenly it just swept over me in a massive wave.

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And he knows it to!  He knows he “got” Kajol in that little moment.  And he also knows he “got” the audience.  Look at that little smile!  That little “whoa, I just did something really big!” smile!

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And the director knew he got that moment too.  When I was pulling screenshots, I noticed for the first time how long Adi gives us to recover.  We see Kajol’s reaction, and then we see Kajol through a crowd, really obscured by a crowd, for 3 different angles.  Before the crowd finally parts, and we see her face again.  They are odd shots, I couldn’t really get a clean one because there are so many people moving in front of the camera.  But I think Adi did that on purpose.  Because he knew Shahrukh just took our breath away.  So he showed us that he took Kajol’s breath away too with the reaction shot of her.

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And then he gave us a few seconds to collect ourselves, watching random people move through the London train station and block the camera for a bit, literally putting what had just happened in perspective by showing the size of the crowd around them, the size of the room, and so on, in those 3 different angles.

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And then finally, the crowds part, and there’s Kajol, looking super super tiny in the middle of them all, and clutching her bell.  Remember, for this bit, the bell IS her heart.  Shahrukh had it in his keeping, and now he has given it back to her, and she doesn’t even recognize it any more.  And just in case you missed that, Adi makes sure we get it with how he frames the opening of the song.

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I don’t think I can talk logically about this song, partly because it is the part of this movie I have seen way more than any other.  Not because I like it better, but because my DVD had a rough spot right there, so I used to play the song over and over to try to wear it down.  You can watch it for yourself down below, I’ll just mention that part of her fantasy is to see him as a Londoner, in rugby outfits and so on.  Although she may never have admitted it to herself, Kajol likes him because he is so western and comfortable in the west.  Another sign that she could never have been happy with an  Indian husband, that despite her protestations of being a traditional Indian girl, she wants a guy who can think beyond that.  Oh, and I also really like the way he looks in the block hoodie outfit.  But not so much in the faux-cowboy outfit.

 

50 thoughts on “DDLJ Part 16: Shahrukh makes his move (part 2) Ready for the Moment I Fell in Love with Shahrukh?

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  24. That moment in his black hoodie is SRK at his hottest ever.
    In those few seconds he is the best looking guy in the world.

    p.s I started out by reading the Badrinath Ki Dulhania teaser which led me the comparison with HSKD and DDLJ…and here I am now 🙂

    Can’t wait to rewatch DDLJ this weekend.

    Like

    • I am so proud of my DDLJ posts. And now you have finished them all 😦

      Maybe now that Raees is out and nothing else big is coming for a while, I will have time to go back to them.

      On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 4:16 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

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  28. Bonjour!
    I was just wandering on the internet and looking for information about hindi movies and found your website. It is really great! I love your articles, it’s deeply thoughgt, sometimes silly, sometimes passionating….. I appreciate all the work you did and it is a pleasure to read you.
    And I wanted to say that I love Dilwale dulhania le jayenge, so if one day you have time and the wil, can you write some more about it.
    Sorry if I did some writing mistakes, I am French.
    Anyway keep going!!!

    Like

    • I am so glad you enjoyed it! And yes, I plan to go back and finish this someday. It just takes a long time to write them, and I don’t get as many views as I do on other posts. I love writing them, but it’s kind of an indulgence for me 🙂

      Like

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  32. You said you cried the first time you saw it in the movie theater, and I had a moment of – “Hang on. Did she start watching Hindi movies like, way back in 1995?” Then I realized, it doesn’t matter when you started watching Hindi Movies. Even today, there is one theater where you can walk in and get a showing of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. And it hit me wit the force of an anvil – this movie is still running! You could have caught any show since 1995 if you wanted to see it on the big screen! How incredible is that!

    Like

    • Isn’t that amazing? I did see it at Maratha Mandir in 2007, but that wasn’t my first time.

      I saw it in 2004, in America, at a small art theater that was playing it for two shows only. Which is still pretty amazing! That DDLJ is such a classic, it is still being randomly picked up by art festivals and so on. I had a chance to see it again a couple of years ago at a film festival, and another time my dorm did a showing.

      On Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 5:23 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  33. When he says “I wish we miss the train again and again” she doesn’t turn back and smile, she turns and goes “huh?” (meaning I didn’t quite catch that, what did you say?) and he goes “nothing, you go along, I’ll be there in a bit” and then she smiles and say ok and goes back in the train 🙂

    Like

    • Clearly I need to take a second pass on the whole film pulling out different bits to focus on the next time around 🙂

      Ooo, now I am tempted! I could totally do that! Just endless cycles of DDLJ posts.

      On Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 8:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

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  35. I’m pretty sure I heard an SRK interview where he says that the part where Raj refuses come to her wedding was an improvisation. Shahrukh just felt that’s what Raj would do and Adi liked it and kept it. Now you can cry all over again.

    Thanks so much for having taken the time to do this.

    Like

    • I can believe it, I remember that the silent meeting in the present day between Shahrukh and Kajol was an improve too, and the scenes have a similar feel, the two of them just feeling the moment and reacting with each other.

      On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 10:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  36. One other thing – that “palat” (turn) line is a classic of Hindi cinema. Did it start with this movie, do you know, or were there echoes of it in previous movies and this one just did it SO perfectly?

    Like

  37. That shot of Kajol in the train before they reached London…I completely missed it the first 10 times I watched the movie. But when I did notice it, I cried and cried. I was all “omg EVERYTHING has changed!” You know the way you feel at the end of a life-changing vacation too? You go back home, and it’s weird how things are the same and the people are the same, and it feels so weird because YOU have changed. The last bit of Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko also felt that way to me….looking at it all through Kajol’s eyes, watching her smile and hug everyone, but very aware that she’s a changed person now and NOBODY here gets it or knows yet.

    Like

    • Yes! And the same with Shahrukh, except it’s different for him because he has control of his own life. He’s working through things on the train, but when he gets off the train, he is ready to actually change his life to match his new reality. His return home is to sit alone under the stars and think about what he wants, while Kajol’s is to be surrounded by her family and their expectations and try to forget what she wants.

      On Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 9:50 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

  38. I was 13 when DDLJ released and I watched in the theatre with my mom in the very first weekend. I was already a fan by then as I had watched him on TV and his other movies (I wasn’t allowed to watch Anjaam till later coz of the kind of violence in it).

    I cried at a couple of places and this station scene was one of them. He is very good with micro expressions – irrespective of how a movie is, if you watch him – you will see such moments in all his movies.

    When people ask me why I love SRK, I never have a simple answer – its the actor, the person, the aura – every single thing about him and as a whole too.

    Like

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