Happy 28 Days to SRK’s Birthday! 28 SRK Romances, Part 2

I just thought this would be an interesting experiment, to take a brief look at 28 different films in terms of the romance plots.  and then try to come to some conclusions.  I did the first 7 already, now let’s look at another 7.

Trimurti

Now, this is a fascinating SRK romance, because it’s not actually a romance.  It’s supposed to be a separated brothers/revenge film.  Traditionally a “separated brothers” film has the “good” brother and the “bad” brother.  And if there is a “baby” brother, they get to be the comic relief, the light-hearted one.  Yaadon Ki Baarat, Amar Akbar Anthony, that’s how they worked.

And so in this film we have “good” Jackie Shroff and “bad” Anil Kapoor.  But Shahrukh isn’t exactly comic relief.  He is that, but he is also the driving force of the plot, because he falls in love.  He is passionately idealistically in love with his girlfriend.  And not willing to compromise or wait or do anything sensible about it.  Anil and Jackie are heroes from the past, from the whole history of “good” “bad” brother films with huge social statements and so on.  But Shahrukh is from the new era, when it’s all about falling in love and defying your family.

 

English Babu Desi Mem

Shahrukh launched sharing the hero role with Rishi Kapoor, and now he is starring in a Rishi Kapoor film remake.  Originally made as Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai, mostly remembered now for being the source of the all time hit “Pucho Na Yaar Kya Hua?”

This is also one of the least successful romances Shahrukh has ever been in.  He is trying to be someone he isn’t, not just playing a Rishi role, but playing an evil trickster.  He and the heroine Sonali are antagonists, not working together.  He sees her as a loose woman that he can seduce and weaken.  She sees him as a foolish rich man.  They are fighting over the same thing the right to raise their mutual nephew, but it isn’t until the very end of the film that they find their common ground.

 

Chaahat

Shahrukh started in a film in which a heroine was torn between two heroes, now he is the one torn between two heroines.  The gender bending which was always part of his personality is now stronger than ever before, he has become the damsel in distress.  The heroines, both of them, are the ones who take the lead in the romances while he merely follows along behind.

The happy ending comes when he is able to, not take the lead, but at least lead together.  Become an equal and a partner with Pooja Bhatt instead of merely worshiping her from afar and not feeling worthy.

 

Koyla

Shahrukh’s first real “marriage” romance.  That is, where they fall in love post marriage, rather than fall in love and then get married.  But an odd sort of marriage romance.  Madhuri falls in love with his photo and considers herself married to him.  He, after initial resistance, accepts this responsibility even if the rest of the world doesn’t see it.

It is also one of the first romances where the woman pursues him long before he pursues her.  Multiple women, again.  But while Chaahat had the sexually aggressive “bad” woman contrasted with the sweet and receptive “good” woman, in this case both women are equally aggressive in their own way.  Shahrukh has now gone from the loser chasing the woman, the prize that the women are chasing.

 

Yes Boss

One of the all time great Shahrukh Khan romances.  He is a loser and a winner all at once.  A loser who acts like a winner but doesn’t realize he really is one.  In every way.

What makes this film wonderful is the ending.  Where we learn that he had the girl all along.  He just had to reach out and say something and she would be his.  There is no need for big feats, impressive gestures, all of the angst and effort he went through.  She wasn’t some prize, or some mystery to be unlocked.  She was just a person, like him, who liked him from the start.

 

Pardes

The second Shahrukh romance with Subhash Ghai.  The first time, Ghai balanced the romance with other concerns.  This time, the romance is the main message.  And Shahrukh is the messenger.

Another weak man with a hidden strength.  This time, it’s about the way traveling across the seas can change your status, your persona.  Shahrukh in India is bossy and powerful.  But in America, he becomes a servant, a nothing.  And the romance is about him reconciling those two personalities, finding a woman who sees him for who he is, neither one nor the other exactly, gentler and kinder than that bossy persona, but stronger than a servant.

 

Dil To Pagal Hai

Very different kind of a romance here.  Once again, Shahrukh has two women vying for him.  But neither of them are “bad”.  Both are good.  And both truly love him for him, not for his sexiness or what he can do for them or anything like that.

And Shahrukh is a little different here too.  Not a loser in anyway, successful and confident and powerful and happy.  It is love that makes him a loser, that makes him weak suddenly.  First his awareness of his best friend being in love with him, his guilt over that.  And second his discovery that he himself has fallen in love.

That is what makes the audience love this character, the crazed cocky confidence combined with the fragile heart.

 

 

 

 

By this point, Shahrukh has been identified as a romantic hero.  Ghai cast him in Trimurti because he could sell that role.  DDLJ has already happened, everyone knows the winning combination is confidence combined with sweetness.

But the question is, how do you combine it?  You don’t want too sweet (Chaahat) or too confident (English Babu Desi Mem).  Most of all, you want a heroine who he cares about, who he respects.  You want him to respect all women.  In Koyla, even the “bad” woman got his respect.  He faught for her and tried to help her and rejected her advances gently.

The best of these films are primarily about him and the heroine working together.  Dil To Pagal Hai, Pardes, Koyla, even Yes Boss.  He is honest with her and she is honest with him.

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7 thoughts on “Happy 28 Days to SRK’s Birthday! 28 SRK Romances, Part 2

  1. Yep. like those ‘between two women’ positions he played.
    Honesty of emotions, respect, caring, his teasing humour and playfulness, also admiration for what the woman is as the person she is, showing the attraction she has for him, feminine side combined with manliness…it’s really a coctail of many ingredients his romances are made of…which other Hindi/Indian actor explored that many kind of romances (Margaret? others who know?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rajesh Khanna and Shammi Kapoor are the ones that come to mind for something close to that. But their careers didn’t have the longevity of Shahrukh’s. Not even related to talent necessarily, just the industry shifted and other changes happened (like, Shammi gained a ton of weight) which cut their careers short. Doing this whole 28, what I found fascinating was how Shahrukh’s persona has been able to mature through time in a really unique way thanks to 25 years of doing variations on the same stories.

      On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 10:03 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  2. So it’s like Anushka said…through romancing you learn to romance…his understanding for women made and makes him the perfect romantic hero – his way to portray such a variety of romance made and makes him the perfect ‘role model’ (even for those who don’t like him, I think).

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  3. Your last paragraph sums up what many women, including me, love about Shah Rukh’s persona and performances. The scenes in Dil Toh Pagal Hai between Karisma and Shah Rukh after she tells him she loves him are so poignant, and it’s good that they figure out how to stay friends.

    Is it blasphemy to say that the dynamic among Karisma, Madhuri, and Shah Rukh reminds me of the dynamic among Anushka, Kat, and Shah Rukh in JTHJ? Not comparing Madhuri and Kat AT ALL, but their characters are more idealized feminine types than real people, while both Karisma’s and Anushka’s characters have actual personalities.

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    • I see what you mean. The relationship of a man and a woman that is not a romance is such more more unusual in film, perhaps that is part of the reason we find it intriguing. You could say the same about KKHH, Rani is great, but even before the romance starts, there is something special about watching SRKajol together just as friends.

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    • No “blasphemy” at all…it’s a very good observation. I like it!

      Margaret, maybe, if Madhuri had died he would have turned towards Karisma…and if Rani had not died, he would think of Kajol still as a close friend.

      In KabhiAlvida I thought for a moment that Abhi and Preity would come together…and that the story would unfold in another way.

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      • My sister’s theory is that KANK is the partner film to DTPH, showing what would have happened if they had given up on love and married the practical choice. Preity clearly loved Shahrukh more than he ever loved her, just like Karisma and Shahrukh. But they were happy for a while, he did love her in his own way and they had a shared history and so on. And just like Akshay and Madhuri, Abhishek and Rani had a shared history, he truly loved her, they could build a nice life together. But ultimately, without love, it fell apart.

        On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 12:54 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        Liked by 1 person

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