Kajol has signed another movie! And one that no one expected from her. I am very very curious how it will turn out.
A very different movie! Tamil, she plays the villain. Both of these are things Kajol has done before, but not for a long time. She was in a Tamil movie back in 1997, Minsara Kanavu, which is kind of a variation on the Cyrano story. She was the point of a love triangle between Arvind Swamy and Prabhudeva, Prabhudeva was supposed to soften her up and break through her reserve so Arvind could swoop in and make her fall in love with him. But of course it didn’t work out like that. Oh, AR Rahman did the music. With Prabhudeva dancing and doing the choreography. If only Mani Ratnam had directed, it would have been about the best Tamil cinema has to offer. But it’s still pretty good even without that. It was so good, that it was dubbed into Hindi and re-released as Sapnay.
Bonus fact, well “fact”. It’s just my interpretation, but it’s pretty obvious. Prabhudeva included one of his biggest Gene Kelly tributes in it, remixing and re-framing the “Our Love is Here To Stay” dance from An American in Paris.
(It’s not as obvious as “Get Happy” from Summer Stock and “Kay Sera Sera” from Pukar, but it’s pretty close.)
Minsara Kanavu was the one and only time Kajol did a Tamil film, but it was a pretty great one. Really good role for her, really talented co-stars, Evergreen soundtrack. Which gives me hope for this next movie, that there must be something really spectacular there to draw Kajol down south again.
The producer and her co-star is in this new picture Dhanush. The director, interestingly, is a woman, Soundarya Rajnikanth (Rajni Sir’s daughter/Dhanush’s sister-in-law). She previously directed the very ambitious, and ultimately flop, film Kochadaiyaan featuring her father and lots and lots of CGI.
I mentioned in my Kabali review that there is an added meaning to Kabali having two daughters, and being super happy about it, since Rajni Sir has always seemed so happy about his two daughters in real life. From the little I know about him, that is. I could be completely wrong, correct me if I am.
But from the little I know, both daughters have been encouraged to work and pursue their passions. Soundarya in particular studied graphic design, and worked on the title sequences of all his films, before being moved up to producer, and finally director. Aishwarya, Dhanush’s wife, also worked behind the scenes, producing and directing.
This is very different from the usual “star daughter” path (at least, in the Hindi industry) where they are either married off and expected to do appropriate womanly type jobs (interior decorator, jewelry designer, you know the kind of thing) in between raising children. Or they are launched as actresses at a young age, their father’s name expected to carry them through to modest fame (Shruti Haasan, Twinkle Khanna, Sonakshi Sinha, Kajol herself). Not only are Rajnikanth’s daughters pursuing challenging careers far outside of the “womanly realm”, they are doing it with their father’s encouragement and support.
And husband’s support! Well, at least Dhanush. He starred in the first film his wife directed, and helped make it a hit through the song he wrote which became a viral sensation.
And now he is starring and helping to produce a movie directed by his sister-in-law. Very sexy and supportive, I have to say. Nothing more attractive than a man believing in a woman’s career goals.
And nothing less attractive than a man NOT believing in a woman’s career goals. I have no idea if this is related to anything in any way, but Soundarya is in the middle of a divorce that was just announced from her businessman husband of 6 years. Maybe he was less supportive of an ambitious working wife than Dhanush and her father were? Maybe because he wasn’t part of the film industry he couldn’t understand and forgive her working schedule? Or maybe it is about something else entirely, like disputes over their child’s schooling or his work schedule or I don’t even know what.
But no matter what, doesn’t Kajol seem like a great person to hang out with while getting over a divorce? She won’t let you sink into self-pity, she will be as angry and insulting as you want to the other party, and she will distract you with her own demands and concerns. And there’s your brother-in-law there too! To tell you that you don’t need that loser, he and his wife/your sister will always be there to support you.
That’s the Tamil part, there’s also the actual plot of the movie in which Kajol is apparently playing a villain? It’s a sequel, VIP 2, so of course I looked up VIP 1 to see what happened. And it looks like a very odd and confused movie, but it was also a big hit, so maybe it’s one of those films that makes more sense when you watch it than when you read the synopsis?
The main conflict of VIP 1 was that Dhanush was a Civil Engineering graduate who couldn’t get a job in his field and refused to compromise and settle for anything less. His mother and the girl next door supported his dreams, but his father did not. After many plot shenanigans, he finally got a commission to build low income housing units. But a jealous rival, a son of a rich man who had had everything handed to him, kept trying to prevent Dhanush from building. And then there’s a fight and a happy ending.
I’m thinking the big thematic thing was supposed to be the contrast between Dhanush who had to struggle and overcome unbelievable odds to even get his first break, versus the Bad Guy who lucked into his position through inheritance. And I am assuming something related to that theme will carry over into the sequel?
It’s possible this could be a real “sequel” of the Don 2 type, not of the Golmaal 2 type. Not just returning themes and actors, but the actual story of the characters from the first film continuing. Dhanush is coming back, so is Amala Paul (who I didn’t like in Oru Indian Pranayakatha, but I liked better in Mili) who was the love interest in the first film. And Samuthirakani as his father, who I have seen in nothing (although he has been in a lot of things, and is also a respected director, trained by R. Balachandran, Tamil directing legend).
Either way, with a returning theme or with a returning characters and everything else, how the heck is Kajol going to fit in? She’s supposed to be the villain, so I guess she is somehow against progress-by-merit. Or low-income housing. Or something.
It doesn’t make much sense, but I am still thrilled that Kajol is playing a villain! I felt like she had the most fun in the scenes in Dilwale where she was “eeeeeeevil”. And playing the big bad older woman has got to be more interesting than “mother” roles, or even love interest parts.
Kajol has done “eeeeeevil” before of course, in Gupt. That was a straight up “bad woman” part, but she’s always been a little more than just the “shy virgin” type of heroine. In Baazigar she is introduced imitating Gabbar Singh, in Dushman she avenges her sister’s rape and murder, heck even in Minsara Kanavu she isn’t interested in romance because she would rather be a nun and fight for social justice. Moving into playing a juicy villain role kind of makes more sense for her style and career path than if she were to move on to some kind of saccharine “mother” part.
(Although Kajol’s mother Tanuja had some fun with the mother parts!)