I left off with Anushka inviting Ranbir, really demanding Ranbir, to meet her that afternoon at 4 o’clock. Which is the 3rd time that Anushka has taken the lead in moving their relationship forward, first reaching out to him at the party to begin with, then suggesting the double date, and now suggesting another get together. Oh! And this scene right now! She didn’t have to come to his place and apologize, she didn’t really have to apologize at all, she’s been shown to not really care about what people think or feel about her, it’s kind of surprising that he is her one exception.
That afternoon, he shows up to meet her, and it’s at a strange storefront with music playing. Her “Bollywood” dance class! And have to say, if this wasn’t filmed on location at an actual “Bollywood” dance class, they have done a shockingly good job recreating it! Middle aged white ladies, a couple of older desi ladies, some guys who look kind of gay, young and peppy teacher, and only the cheesiest and catchiest songs. In this case, “Baby Doll”. Which really is shockingly catchy. Also, I got to see Kanika Kapoor sing this live! But I didn’t really care, because she was a pinch hitter for Yo Yo, and I was so mad about missing out on Yo Yo that I wasn’t even paying attention to her.
(Catchy, but I still find the hands crawling on her in the video scary)
Right, so, Ranbir jumps in to dance, which is pretty good sport of him. But he is only doing classy little moves. Anushka pulls him out and asks him why he is dancing like that? No one is here who knows him, he won’t ruin his father’s honor, why not dance like he was this morning?
Now, if one of my friends gave me this speech, I would quietly leave and never talk to them again. Because I DO NOT dance in public! Because it’s like physically painful for me to be the center of attention (that’s why I like writing so much). But Ranbir’s not like me. And Anushka saw that, even if no one else did. Way way back at the beginning, she was dancing like crazy at the party and he was standing at the bar and pretending he wasn’t dancing at all, because he wanted to be the cool guy, and he was afraid, and he didn’t think he could be himself. And he is always talking about how he wants to sing but is doing the MBA because his father wants it, he is with a woman who clearly doesn’t actually like him, this is a guy who needs someone to jumpstart him, to force him out of his shell.
Anyway, she gets through to him! Ranbir agrees to dance, to show her what he can do, and he is awesome! Wiggles his little bottom, dirty dances with an old lady, is generally awesome! And it makes him feel awesome! Class over, he is almost dancing down the sidewalk, accepting Anushka’s praise for his dancing and being all cocky about how is an even better singer than he is a dancer, wait til she hears him!
Which is Anushka’s second wise thing. Which, again, wouldn’t work for me. Because I don’t usually brag about myself, and when I do, it would crush me to be contradicted. But Anushka has seen that Ranbir has a bad habit of talking about things instead of doing them. So she is calling him on it, forcing him to actually move outside of his comfort zone again, but with a different tactic for a different situation.
Ranbir sings, and is TERRIBLE! I think it might be his real voice? It’s not great. Which Anushka tells him upfront. Which is probably good for him. Although, in the moment, it hurts his feelings.
Oh, and I think this is also where the Mohammed Rafi “insult” happens. Or else during that first conversation when they spend all night talking. But I think it’s here. Ranbir says he is going to be like Mohammed Rafi, and Anushka says Rafi always sounds like he is crying, Sonu Nigam is better. That’s it. That’s the whole insult that various people are issuing statements about.
But this whole thing is worth it, because it leads to the return of Lisa Haydon! YAAAAAY!!! Who is giving Ranbir the kind of feedback that is really not good for him. She is curled up on his chest while he is singing, making excellent little subtle bored and pained faces. And then as soon as Ranbir finishes, she immediately lies and tells him how great he was, just what he wanted to hear. And just what is going to keep him from improving what he needs to improve, or trying what he is afraid to try.
Lisa is rescued from his horrible voice when the phone rings, and it’s Anushka! She is not calling to apologize, because in friendship “No sorry, no thank you!” Ha! And interesting, because Maine Pyar Kiya is one of the many many movies that pretends men and women can’t be friends (Mohnish has a whole speech about it!), and this whole movie is about turning that trope on its head. But, Anushka does have a plan to get their boyfriend/girlfriends to get along again! Another double date! Dancing this time, so Ranbir can show off his moves.
And, CLUB SONG! Lisa shows up with Ranbir to meet Anushka and Handsome Imran at a night club, a silent disco. Which, my hip friends tell me, is not actually as much of a thing as this movie makes it out to be. But I think it’s brilliant! Because I don’t want to dance (as previously mentioned), and a silent disco with the headphone concept would let other people dance, and me sit in the corner and read or talk to people.
Anyway, Lisa is still amazing. She is all smiles and apologies. And Anushka is all fake smiles and apologies. And then passing out clear liquids in little bottles. Which, The Internet tells me, is probably something called MDMA? Which makes emotions feel extra strong?
I am a little disappointed, because I think this scene may have been cut down. Imran gave an interview saying he had more lines, and a bigger dance number. I don’t care about Imran (handsome though he is), but if that means we lost more awesome Lisa lines, I am HEARTBROKEN!
We also lost out on our Kajol cameo. Remember, months back? It was reported that Kajol would do a friendly appearance? But then the mysterious personal issues came up, and now the Devgans and Karan hat each other? And instead of Kajol, we get Alia.
This can’t have been the cameo they planned for Kajol, right? Hip, cool girl DJ? I mean, Kajol is cool, but I just don’t think she has the patience for night clubs. So, another unknown, but one that won’t be answered even in the DVD deleted scenes: what was Kajol going to be?
Alia’s cameo is great, by the way. A good role for her, but also a kind of important conversation. Anushka has been playing off her break up with Fawad (we haven’t met Fawad yet, but we know it’s going to be him) as just about him cheating and her realizing he never actually loved her. But Alia gives her a big greeting and says something about how when Anushka broke up with Fawad, she shouldn’t have broken up with all her friends too! Well, that’s a very different version!
(This isn’t a still from the movie, but she looks cute with earphones on, right?)
First, interesting that Anushka is giving Ranbir an edited version of her past. That she cares about how he sees her, and is protecting part of her past from him. But maybe it’s not about lying, maybe it’s about trying to be true to a new version of herself, a better version than what she was in the past.
And let’s look at what we just learned about that past! Anushka is the one who broke up with Fawad, not the other way around. At least, that’s how it looked to all their friends. But I believe Anushka’s version as well, that he “picked” a stewardess over her. So this just makes it way way more painful, that he cheated on her and she broke up but didn’t tell any of their friends why. And that apparently all of her friends were his friends, and she felt like she had to cut off contact with them and leave the whole country when they broke up. Which might also explain why she is clinging so hard to Ranbir, because she finally has a friend who is really her friend, not just a friend-in-law from her boyfriend. And, in fact, why she is trying so hard to build a life in London, a life that doesn’t revolve completely around Fawad. On my second watch in particular, I started noticed little bits and bobs of clues that Anushka was maybe really really young and really really messed up when she got with Fawad. She said she met him “at school”, which could be college, but now I am wondering if it was more high school. And with her family never really “getting” her, I’m beginning to get a picture of an unhappy teenage girl who falls in love with an older man and never really gets a chance to figure out her own personality and life separately from him. Sad! Thank goodness she has Ranbir now, someone who just knows are as herself, separate from Fawad.
Oh, and then there’s a song. Anushka begged Alia to play a Hindi song (see, this is what I was talking about in the last section about NRIs having a bigger cultural identity to just general pop culture South Asian stuff but not necessarily to religion or political stuff), so Alia plays it on one of the channels? Because I guess the headphones have multiple options on them? Anushka signals to Ranbir what channel to play, and for a moment the two of them are alone in this crowded room, listening to the same channel. Which is kind of the perfect metaphor for exactly how they relate to each other, all alone surrounded by people, and yet they are the only ones who can really hear the same thing.
But because this is a big dance number, it doesn’t take long for the rest of the people in the club to get on the same channel, and Dance Song!!!
After reading Imran’s interview, I got obsessed with trying to figure out where they cut him from this song. Not in the version above, but in the movie version, there were a couple times when all 4 of them, Lisa and Imran and Anushka and Ranbir, were leading the chorus. But it was just a couple of quick glimpses. And there were no real shots of Lisa and Imran dancing by themselves. And I am pretty sure they re-used a couple of shots of Ranbir dancing by himself. Which makes me think poor Imran got cut out of this. And even worse, that means Lisa got cut!
Because, just we were all hoping would happen, of course Imran and Lisa got together! At the end of the song, Anushka needs to use the restroom. So she drags Ranbir out of the dance floor, but the line to the ladies is too long. So she barges into the mens, and discovers Lisa and Imran, making out! Anushka’s response is to just laugh, but Ranbir ends up sobbing on the street.
First, kudos to Ranbir the actor for being willing to make a complete fool of himself! This is not the hero image most movie stars want to project. Second, The Internet also told me that this might be a side-effect of the MDMA thing, it does something to emotions? And third, the second time I saw this movie, I went with a friend who is in the middle of training her puppy, and I warned her that Ranbir might remind her a little too much of the puppy she was trying to get a night off from. And after it was over, she said it was spooky, because her puppy does this EXACT thing! Flopping around on the ground and whining until you comfort him.
And with that image, of Ranbir as a puppy, I will leave you! Until tomorrow (or whenever) when I pick back up.
(Ha! I am not the first person to have this thought!)