Terrace scene, part two! What better way to celebrate SRK’s birthday than with a DDLJ post. And this bit is just too good, I went a little bit crazy with the screenshots (full index of DDLJ coverage here)
The last section ended with Kajol ordering Shahrukh to “be serious”. He is happy with their adventure, delighted to be sneaking around the roof and just talking with her, living in this moment. But Kajol is looking ahead to the next moment and the next, and she wants him to join her in that, to shake out of today’s moment of joy and look to preventing tomorrow’s sorrow. Which he does, because that’s how relationships work. They both started by pushing at the other in order to get them into their mood, Shahrukh determinedly frivolous and cheerful, Kajol determinedly serious. But once she put it on the line and ordered him “Be Serious!” he knew that he had to go along. Because she needed him to be serious more than he needed her to be frivolous.
So now he is listening seriously while she talks. And it’s slightly odd framing, Kajol is the only one facing the camera, we can’t see even a bit of Shahrukh’s face. But His shoulder and head dominate one half of the frame. The end result is that we are totally focused on Kajol’s face, but we are also very aware of who she is talking to, she isn’t just giving a monologue, she is trying to reach the unreachable Shahrukh.
The speech needs to be convincing, not just for Shahrukh but for the audience. Shahrukh is here risking everything to win over her family, and she is giving him an additional silly challenge. She has to explain not exactly why it is important, but why it is important to her, why she is so upset over this one seemingly small thing.
Shahrukh is resisting her explanation. Because he knows she can convince him, of anything, and if it is something she really wants and he can’t get it for her, that will break his heart. So he remains purposefully obtuse.
And so she patiently explains. Why this is important to her, why she should respect her wishes. Because it is the most important thing in her life, that is, her devotion to him. This is part of being a “good husband”, your wife’s duty is only to you, and you need to help her fulfill her duty. It’s the same reason that Shahrukh is being a good husband at the end of Jab Harry Met Sejal when he gives Anushka a blessing. Because he knows, as a “good wife”, that is what she would want must in the world.
And so when Kajol declares she will not let anyone else put a ring on her, it is both a declaration of devotion to her chosen God, and a demand to that God. Not an exaggeration, a husband is supposed to be as a God to his wife. Which means to let another man take his place would be blasphemy to her, a failure in her deepest held beliefs. And it means that she has the right to demand anything from him, because he is her God, and you are supposed to be able to ask things of your God in return for your devotion.
But, as he has been all along, Shahrukh is uncomfortable with this role. He was uncomfortable in Europe when she tried to make him into a scary aggressive man instead of the playful boy he wanted to be. And he was uncomfortable when he had to be “the man” and take control and take care of her, doing it all a bit tongue in cheek so she wouldn’t feel like he was really in charge of her. And now he doesn’t like this speech of constant devotion, doesn’t like being asked to do the impossible just because he is “her man”. Instead, chooses to remind her (again) that he is just a boy.
Shahrukh is moving a lot during this speech, but Kajol is completely still. Because she is unshaken. He can pretend and joke all he wants, she is sure that anything she asks for, he will be able to do.
I also like that Shahrukh feels like he can show genuine irritation with her. Their relationship isn’t so fragile that he has to be always respectful and polite and so on, it’s never been like that. When he gets mad, he shows he is mad. And when she gets mad, she shows it too. Not in this scene, but in later ones.
He is also trying to make a sincere argument. Yes, he will do whatever she asks, but think of the consequences! She can’t just ask for any old thing she wants, she has to be sensible and think long term.
But he goes to far. Her anger this time isn’t because she thinks he is silly and frivolous (like she thought during their time in Europe). It’s because she knows he isn’t, and yet he is still pretending. She wants him to grow up and live up to his potential, not keep joking around. And when he does keep joking around, it makes her start to doubt that he is taking this seriously. As seriously as she knows he is capable of doing.
This line here “you can never understand my situation”, that’s a BIG BIG one!!!! Remember when she and Farida talked it out and she realized that a woman’s lot is always to be slightly disappointed and sad, and to never let the men (who have done this to you) know how you feel? And then we went to the party downstairs and everyone was laughing and smiling because it’s true, the men had no idea the agony their women were suffering every minute of every day. That’s what is terrifying and infuriating Kajol. Has she just signed up for a different kind of agony? A man she picked herself, but one who will still not be able to understand what she is going through?
And that’s where Shahrukh has to respond. Because now they have gotten to what the fight is “really” about. It’s not about the engagement ring or him making jokes while she wants to be serious. It’s about the fact that she has taken a leap, placed her entire life in his hand, and she is afraid that he doesn’t appreciate what she has done, her sacrifice and suffering will be silent, he will be yet another man who doesn’t “understand” what women do.
It’s not a fight about “do you love me?” because they are passed that. He loves her and is doing all that for her, she knows that. And it doesn’t matter any more anyway, she has given herself body and soul to him for a lifetime, nothing he says or does will make her truly leave him. They are just fighting about what this lifetime together is going to look like. Is it him being always happy and carefree while she shoulders the burdens that he is blind to? Or is it him being a real partner to her?
And so Shahrukh has to break through to her, to reassure her, to make her see that he does “understand”, he is not treating her pain lightly or wanting her to hide it away.
Kajol’s face in these too shots is so good. In the first she is fighting him, trying to stay strong and angry. But as soon as he grabs her face and forces her to look up, she becomes fragile and open. It’s not just that his hands are cradling her hole face, showing that she is literally in the palm of his hands, her eyes are telling us that too. She is looking to him for everything in the world, reassurance and safety and faith and trust, it is all on him.
You know the footprints poem/story/whatever? The “during my hardest times, why is there only one set of footprints in the stand? Because I carried you” story? That’s what Shahrukh is trying to argue here. Kind of. Kajol is angry and afraid because she fears she has chosen a faithless God. But Shahrukh is telling her “no, even in these darkest times, I understand. But I see things bigger than you”.
This is the scene that most clearly states the difference between Shahrukh and Amrish Puri. He sees her pains, her sorrows, her tears. The things that Amrish ordered her to hide away, that he does not want to see or try to understand. Shahrukh doesn’t just see them, he understands them. And takes them on himself, to help her carry that burden.
But that doesn’t mean they react to them the same way. Both of them are trying to solve the same problem, Kajol being scared and unhappy and engaged to someone else. But Shahrukh’s solution is big picture, win over her family, get married with their blessing, have decades of marital bliss with no family strife. Kajol is looking little picture, “I don’t want another man’s ring on my finger tomorrow”.
I like how, even while presenting his perspective, Shahrukh is still trying to cheer her up a little. Tipping his head and smiling a bit to reassure, and saying his plan in the softest possible terms, “they don’t know me”. Not, “they want to kill me and I am tricking them”, but just, “they don’t know me”. Although there is also a touch of a threat there, like maybe if they knew him better, they would be afraid of him and would just let him take Kajol away.
But he isn’t disrespecting her opinion. He knows it is hard for her to keep doing this, to keep waiting, to overcome her fears. And so he asks for her “courage”. He doesn’t dismiss what she is doing as nothing, swallowing all her pain and just waiting for him to do something.
He is telling her to hide her pain and keep smiling, just like Amrish says. Only with a difference, he is appreciating that labor from her, he is aware of her pain, he knows the value it has. And, as you can see in this screenshot, he doesn’t demand it. He wants it, but she is still not smiling, and he isn’t getting angry over that.
And finally he addresses her other fear, that she will lose him, that their plan will fail and she will live a hopeless life. Again, remember, she has promised to be “his”, which means that if she is married to another man, she will not just be unhappy, she will be unfaithful, ruined, wrong in every way. As badly off as a person forced to give up their religion.
But what Shahrukh is reminding her is that her faith and his promise to her in reward for that faith, it is more than these little symbols. He is almost arguing that it is more than marriage itself, that their bond is more than any social ritual you could imagine.
And my favorite part is that he waits here, just for a second, to see if that was enough to comfort her. And it wasn’t, she is still scared. So he has to say the thing he has been avoiding, the thing that puts them on a different plane, that makes him the all powerful force in their relationship, not her light and joking equal. But it is also the one thing she wants and needs to hear.
When Shahrukh says “you’re mine” here, if you look at it in isolation, it seems, well, not great. A whole sort of “possession” thing going on that, combined with his need for her father to hand her over to him, just sends us down bad paths. But you have to look at the entire film. We saw in the European segment that Kajol truly cannot survive on her own. She does not have the skills. She may get them someday, but right now she doesn’t have them. Simply leaving her father’s house and starting out on her own is not something she is able to do. She needs a protector.
And she wants a protector. That is what this scene is about, and the mustard field scene too. She wants someone to take her away, to take care of her, to jump from one man in control of her life to another. But Shahrukh is saying “take it slow”. No need to jump into his arms without a parachute. He wants her to be gently handed off, with someone behind her for support and someone in front of her. And so he has been resisting that responsibility, resisting saying “no, you’re right, you’re mine now and it’s all on me”. Until now. She is scared and frustrated and helpless and looking to him for everything. And he has to acknowledge it, say that she has not only given herself to him, he has accepted her. She is his. Only his. Not her father’s or her family’s any more.
And then they are interrupted by a slight noise. But they would have said good-bye soon anyway. This moment was too important to sully by talking after it. And all their “tasks” for the conversation were done, Shahrukh had gotten his Kajol fix for the night, Kajol had expressed her fear and been reassured, her faith had strengthened him and his power had strengthened her.
That moment of being interrupted also brings it back to how it started, with Shahrukh joyfully sneaking around, the happy adventure. They have had this deep argument that is about all kinds of big things, but now they are brought back to being alone together on a roof, being young and in love and hiding from her family, the fun part of it.
Which is what this smile is saying “isn’t it nice to be young and silly and sneaking around? Isn’t it a relief to stop being grown up and intense and emotional?”
Shahrukh finally gave in and gave Kajol what she needed. The strength and reassurance and vows and all of that. Even though he would have rather been just young and silly and in love. And now that she is reassured, at the last minute, she is ready to give him what he wanted.
I love the obedient way he comes back to her. It doesn’t feel like “young man in love ready to prove devotion”, it feels like “polite young man who always comes when a lady calls.” I don’t think he is even expecting anything here, no last words of love or anything like that, just thinks she is going to give him directions as to the best way off the roof.
And then she surprises him! Because for all his “understanding”, he still doesn’t fully understand how much and in what way she loves him. Doesn’t see that the kiss comes not for the “you’re mine” declaration, or all his begging earlier in the day, but because he was a nice boy who was all ready to leave because her sister was waking up, because he is there for the emotional moments and also the light ones. And because she is finally feeling light and young and happy, now that he has taken on all her burdens.
And that’s his face at the end. Happy for the kiss, but also happy for the surprise of it, happy to be puzzled and out of his depth with this bewitching and confusing woman.