I Skipped Baadshaho and Watched Judwaa Instead. I Am a GENIUS!

Truly, one of the all time best decisions of my life, right up there with the time I realized I could mix peanut butter and chocolate syrup together before I put it on the ice cream.  I got to have a lovely evening on my couch with 90s happiness, instead of a dull evening in the movie theaters with 2000s angst and macho.

So, let me see if I grasp the underlying scientific principle here.  Since they were born connected, even after they had been cut apart, strong physical reactions are still shared twin to twin.  However, since this seems to be new to them as adults, I guess there is some kind of geographical limitation?  So long as “Prem” was in America, “Raja” couldn’t influence him, and vice versa?  Also, it’s not normal stuff like walking or sleeping that triggers the connection, but only sudden shocking things, like kissing or throwing something away in anger, or slapping a ladies’ bottom?  Sure, this all seems totally logically and scientifically sound!

That sounded sarcastic, but it really wasn’t.  I love how this film just embraces the madness!  No need to try to be realistic or “believable”, it’s a movie!  Just let it be a movie!  I would say “I wish they made them like this”, but they do!  Thank goodness!  We are getting Judwaa 2 coming our way in just a few weeks, with just as much silliness and moviness as this one.

Although less Karisma, which is a pity.  I remember from my first watch, years and years and years ago, thinking “wow, she is as much a comedienne as anyone else onscreen!”  And then I watched Biwi No. 1 and Andaz Apna Apna and saw that it wasn’t just a one-off, she really is this good.

Although there’s nothing wrong with the other heroine.  Rambha, who seems to be mostly a southern person, does a fine job.  She just doesn’t light up the screen and go hard on the comedy the way Karisma does.  I can see why Karisma was given the more over the top role.

Speaking of, the female parts in this film are so awesome!  Karisma, falling in love with a thief and chasing him hard.  Rambha, the “good” one, similar falling in love and chasing her man hard.  There’s no false worship of the shy virtuous Indian woman.  Even the hero’s sister is outspoken and eager to get married!

Really, there’s no false virtues at all!  The police are hilarious and incompetent, thieves are cheerful and never get punished, even brotherly devotion isn’t really necessary.  Life is here to be a good time in blindingly bright colors and many hip shaking dance moves.

Well, except for the 3 serious scenes, just thrown in there to keep us awake.  That’s what I am most nervous about in the remake.  The comedy is no problem, that I am sure Varun can handle and obviously so can his Dad, since he directed the last one.  But it’s the serious bits, the few scenes with the parents and that one scene with Anupam that just KILLS, that’s that I am less sure about.

Oh, but the best part of the film I already know they are going to nail!  “Chalte Hai Kya 9 Se 12”.  Not just the song (super catchy!), but the flavor of it.  When was the last time we had a love song about going to the 9pm show at a theater and making out in the back row?  Not a multiplex theater, but the kind with neem juice and all that?

That’s what I really loved about Judwaa!  It was so single-screen!  The slang, the costumes, the sets, no interest at all in the global audience or the high brow audience, it was there for the people who would get these references and enjoy them.  I mean, I don’t even get all these references, but that’s okay, I don’t want to watch a movie where I understand everything!  That just means all the rough edges and personality has been shaved off.  I want something with a little bite to it.

 

Okay, now SPOILERS.  But really don’t read on, it’s on googleplay, just go over and watch it yourself!  Unless you have already seen it, then you can keep reading.

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I keep changing my mind about what the best part of this movie is!  Another potential “best part” is that the “good” twin is the comic relief and the “bad” twin is the hero!  And not in a Deewar like “the tormented one carrying the sins of society” kind of way.  No, he’s just the one whose more fun to watch!  Bad Salman gets into fights and has an adopted sister and brother and a running feud with two humorous cops, AND gets to date Karisma (clearly the better choice).  Good Salman is just along for the ride, getting into scraps and confusions thanks to his brother’s actions.

Let me back up.  We open with one of the few “serious” scenes.  Reema Lagoo (aw, now I’m sad!) gives birth to twins.  Shortly after, a criminal her husband Dalip Tahil had arrested, escapes from jail and shows up at the hospital and kidnaps one of the twins.  Chase chase chase, he ends up trapped in a house that blows up.  Dalip thinks the baby has died, goes back to Reema who is now comatose with grief.  And I buy it!  I am sincerely concerned about this nice young couple who has lost their son.

But then it immediately gets un-sad again.  Young Salman is already a street tough at age 8.  He finds an abandoned baby at the temple and adopts it as his “sister” and shortly after helps another young boy who is being chased as a thief and adopts him as his “brother”.  The whole thing could be a sad Amitabh origin story, but instead it is played for laughs and I love it!  Why not laugh at the whole over the top melodrama of these plots?

And it stays un-sad and consciously un-melodramatic all the way through to two scenes at the very end.  Even when Bad Salman’s sister is raped/attacked (I don’t know, the shoulder of her dress is torn, what is that supposed to mean?  Torn dress or torn hymen?), it just serves to make him very angry and go beat up Mukesh Rishi.  No, the sadness comes from a completely unexpected quarter, which is what makes it so devastating.

All along Anupam Kher and Satish Shah have been a bumbling police team, competing with each other and trying to undermine each other as they try to arrest Bad Salman in order to get a promotion.  Which, first, it’s really neat to see actors of that caliber throwing themselves into these silly tiny roles.  This cast is so stacked, Kadar Khan and Anupam Kher and Satish Shah and Dalip Tahil and so on and so on.  In a film now, we would have to make do with one of these guys, and here we have all of them!  Oh, and also Bindu!  And not just a little Bindu like in Main Hoon Na, but a lot of Bindu!

Anyway, Anupam and Satish are pure comic relief.  They aren’t even part of the main plot, just popping up here and there, unrelated to Bad or Good Salman’s romances, or the estranged family plot, or even the fight against evil Mukesh Rishi.  Until suddenly, without any warning, it changes.  Satish Shah is on top, promoted to inspector with Anupam underneath him.  They have another humorous exchange with Satish flaunting his power, and then Satish goes to talk to their new prisoner.  And there’s a shock for the audience as we see that prisoner is Mukesh Rishi!  Plots colliding!

And then the real shock for the audience, Satish goes to talk to Mukesh, and Mukesh kills him!  Satish Shah!  Funny mustache Satish Shah!  And Anupam discovers the body and BREAKS OUR HEARTS.  Funny incompetent Anupam Kher.  He doesn’t overact it at all, and he also doesn’t really break character.  He is still that silly guy he was before, but now he is that silly guy with a broken heart.

And then the film shifts back to wacky.  Until another moment later.  Bad Salman’s sister is kidnapped by Mukesh Rishi (while giving birth, but didn’t she JUST get married?  How long a time period is this film supposed to cover?), and Mukesh forces Bad Salman to bring him Dalip Tahil.  Bad Salman breaks into Good Salman’s house, Reema Lagoo recognizes him and comes out of her catatonic state, that’s not what I find touching though.  What I find touching is Dalip’s reaction.  Once he and Salman arrive, and he realizes who Bad Salman is, he immediately offers to go with him, because this is his son, he will do whatever he needs.  And, more than that, Bad Salman’s sister must also be his daughter, so even though he had not even met her, he will do anything for her.  It’s surprisingly sweet because of the surprisingly matter of fact way he says it.

Oh, and also because it isn’t the expected emotional connection.  We are waiting for the brothers to connect, which they never do.  Or more pay off on the mother-son connection, which never really comes.  Instead it is the practical serious father who comes out with the heartfelt immediate connection.

(the brothers did try to romance each other’s girlfriends in order to save the other’s romance, but that’s just being a good bro, not a good brother, you know?)

Speaking of the brother connection, love it that they both just accept their doppelganger status!  There’s no moment of “wait, are we twins?  What’s happening?”  No, they just go “oh yeah, that explains all the misunderstandings lately!  Oh well, glad that’s solved!”  It’s both a moment of casually brave narrative work, to not even want to deal with the issue, and a moment of almost meta commentary, because there are so many movies where they really are just two people who look identical and not actual brothers.

Let’s see, what is my final point?  Oh, I know, I like it that the “good” brother is a rockstar.  Not normally what you think of the “good” boy doing, but leads to some great dance numbers!

53 thoughts on “I Skipped Baadshaho and Watched Judwaa Instead. I Am a GENIUS!

  1. I love your commentary on the single screen culture of the 90s. I remember Judwa and all the Karisma Kapoor comedies of the time. They were the “leave your brains at home” films that were totally enjoyable. You didn’t ask for logic or complexities. Probably because our TV was this things. Logical and realistic and complex. Judwa 2, even if you discount VD’s overacting, just won’t translate the same way. Mostly because we’ve got engineering students making memes who are definitely going to try to find logic and it would be hilarious. If they spend money on this film at all that is!

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      • Maybe we need a new rating system, based on how much of your gray matter needs to be left at the door to enjoy the movie. Because there’s room in the world for mindless fun, deep intellectual stuff, and everything in between. (My world, anyway.)

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      • That would be stupid smart broke people who can afford either booze and cigarettes or a bad overpriced film per week. So they opt for booze and cigarettes and watch pirated copies of bad overpriced films and then make smart memes to entertain the rest of us

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  2. I thought if you skipped Badshaho, you were going to see Arjun Reddy? NVM, Judwaa for sure is way more enjoyable. 🙂

    (Oh, to answer your question, the sister was just beaten up, nothing more traumatic.)

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    • I was gonna see Arjun Reddy, but they changed the showtimes, it’s only on the late late show, or the morning matinee. There is still hope though, I may be able to catch a matinee sometime over this three day weekend.

      On Sat, Sep 2, 2017 at 2:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  3. Did you get a chance to google this movie before you watched it? Because it is a remake of Telugu movie Hello Brother starring your favourites Nagarjuna and Ramya Krishna (The role that Karishma plays here) I hope you catch it someday. I really wish you watched it before the remake.
    About the sister molesting scene, in the Telugu version even the villain is repulsed by the idea of rape (And because the makers were targeting a wider audience, they didn’t want to make it too dark) So, they instead make it look like she was attacked, so she will suffer through all the public humiliation without actually being raped. Not sure what to make of it, but that’s the same idea is used in Pokiri when the creepy cop gets his goons to attack Ileana in her house. Of course, I don’t think the makers here were too worried about the tone, heroines just have to be pure and virginal and all.

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      • SEE??? That’s what I thought!!! Unless we explicitly see the “bad guy” just tear the shirt and then stop (like in Pokkiri) or else be interrupted by the hero just then, torn clothes and lost duppatta mean rape. But thanks for the explanation, it did seem odd that she was all crying and upset and it just never came up again. Plus, it seems like Salman would have been way way angrier if it actually was rape.

        On Sat, Sep 2, 2017 at 6:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

        >

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  4. Ha, ha…actually I wanted to skip that blog post but then did not (it’s Sunday, I’m on family vacation, so…)…learned some really interesting Hindi…sometimes it needs a man…

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  7. I really enjoyed Judwaa! I didn’t think I would like it so much but it was a lot of fun to watch. Now I’m kinda upset that they gave Karisma’s role to Jacqueline. She doesn’t even have good chemistry with Varun! I would have really loved to see Alia or maybe Anushka in that role instead of Jacqueline. Or even Taapsee would be really good!

    I find it really interesting that Rambha is in Judwaa. Tholi Muddhu, one of her first movies, was a movie in which Divya Bharti was the lead. After she passed away, they got Rambha to finish the film since she resembled Divya Bharti. Maybe that’s why Sajid Nadiadwala decided to sign Rambha for this movie?

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    • I bet you are right, about Rambha. There is that whole opening shot of Divya, clearly it was still raw.

      Isn’t Karisma WONDERFUL??? So good with Salman, so good with comedy, really is the second lead of the film in a way Rambha just isn’t. I have been impressed with Jacqueline’s comic abilities, so she does have that, but I don’t know if she will be able to pull of that same instant chemistry with Salman.

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      • Yes, Karisma was wonderful! I’ve seen her in other movies with Salman like Biwi No.1 but their chemistry is so much more fun in Judwaa!

        I’m not convinced that Jacqueline has good chemistry with Varun on screen. Off-screen they seem to be really good friends but I wish they took someone else for Karisma’s role.

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