Not nearly as fun as the last part, because SRKajol aren’t together. But we do get to see their happiness after being together, which is nice! (full index of DDLJ here)
This whole sequence felt strangely familiar to me in a way I couldn’t quite pinpoint. And then I figured it out! It’s very “morning after” feeling. Like, the first time you have sex. As you will see in the next section, Shahrukh cannot stop smiling and acting like he is cock of the walk. Kajol is more quiet about it, because she is a different kind of person. And because deep down she has The Shirelles playing in her internal soundtrack. But she also is a little extra happy, and wants to share this very important life changing thing in her life with her sister (not her mother or someone else she is less close to, but her closest age mate).
Before we get into that, let’s take a moment for the frame by frame perfection of this movie. See in this one shot (which is once again blurry because either I need new internet or a new laptop), we have the red bag hanging in the upper left. And the reddish chair thing in the lower right. And the square of blue sky above Kajol, drawing our attention to her. And the square off to the right, drawing our attention to what she is looking at in that direction (Pooja).
It’s a tiny less than 10 second shot, and I don’t think Adi sat down and storyboarded it or anything. But I think Adi, or the people he hired, knew “okay, Kajol will be coming through that door then moving to the right”. And they took an extra few minutes to rummage through random props and decide “this bag and that stool are kind of close in color, will put one on either side of the door, and make sure the camera catches that other block of light to the right”. When you watch a movie now and come out of it going “I don’t know, it just didn’t feel right somehow”, this is what you are missing, the little things like this. This is why Ittefaq was so exciting, and Tubelight was such a disappointment. It’s not just bad/good performances or script or the moments that anyone can notice as beautiful/terrible. It’s the over all cumulative effect of all these little moments that were either just right, or just wrong.
And then she goes to bed and covers herself with her blanket and the subtitles go wrong. Pooja is saying “Didi” not “Simran”. And it kind of matters, with Shahrukh she is “Simran”, herself. But to Pooja she is “big sister” and to her parents she is “daughter” and to Satish Shah she is “daughter-in-law” and to Kuljit she is “bride”. But now she is trying to put the “Simran” part of her to sleep, to go back to being what her family wants her to be (a peacefully innocently sleeping woman, at the moment).
That “yes” face, that’s cautious. She is afraid of being found out, not necessarily for what she was just doing, but in general, for Pooja to figure out she is no longer just “Didi”, she has other identities outside of that, that she isn’t “sleeping” any more.
Oh, and can I take a moment for what it means that Pooja and Kajal are sharing a bed here? How Amrish Puri expects his daughter to happily marry a total stranger and become a wife and, no doubt very shortly after, a mother, but until that moment she is supposed to sleep in the same bed as her little sister? She goes from being lumped in with the 12 year old to being thrown into the deep end of adulthood with no transition, she is never supposed to just be a woman, it’s child to wife straight on.
Pooja is fascinating to me on this watch, how she is represents a slightly more honest, less worn down by the world, version of Kajol. Several scenes ago, we saw Kuljit’s failure to respect her boundaries, to reach out without her permission and grab her face, but we also saw her reaction. Immediate visible disgust. She has not yet been trained in the ways of women, as Kajol has, to always hide your emotions, make the man feel good, keep yourself visibly calm and peaceful and unemotional. And we see that here, contrasting Kajol’s smooth fake sleeping face, with Pooja’s active imperfect version.
It’s not just in her words, it’s how she says them, sure but casual. This isn’t a big thing for her to say, she thinks. If you don’t like the guy, don’t marry him! Why would you? Man, I kind of want to see a sequel with Amrish trying to force THIS daughter to be married! She would just laugh in his face and go off to her Physics program (I changed my mind from my fanfic and decided she is going to get a Physics PhD instead of a med school degree. She’s too smart for med school. Let her be a awesome spinster Physics professor who mentors a bunch of female students who all love her and want to grow up to be her).
Meanwhile, Kajol is lying (laying?) there, still too scared and unsure to even open her eyes, even give that much of a response. Oh, and can we take a moment for her make-up here? She’s clearly wearing make-up, but it is just barely light enough not to seem fake. I could believe that a woman has naturally bluish eyelids, flushed cheeks, and pinkish lips, especially after having just returned from an exciting romantic engagement.
She answers, and slightly opens her eyes, but keeps her words short and doesn’t allow a reaction, is still mostly still. Also, there is that slight wrinkle on her forehead, this is worrisome for her, this conversation. She doesn’t even dare to directly respond, to acknowledge that Pooja is saying these forbidden things.
But Pooja isn’t scared! Her eyes are open, her mouth is smiling, her body is turning, she isn’t huddled underneath a blanket, trying to shut out the world, she is facing it with bright eyes and a smile. Although we also see that she is still a child, wearing the western style nightgown instead of sleeping in a Salwar like older women do. And with her braid. Now that I think of it, we never see Kajol in a braid in this movie, do we? We see loads of hair styles, strait, up, loose and natural, but no braids. Because she is on the cusp of womanhood, the long loose hair in her introduction were as important as her towel dance and her love song in showing her age. Braids are for little girls, styled hair tied up is for older married women, long loose hair is for women ready for marriage.
Ha! Kajol’s eye pop here shows that she has inherited something from her father! It’s a pale shadow of the epic eye pop that is coming from Amrish at the end of the film, but it is related. Oh, and this is when she can no longer “sleep”, that is, no longer pretend that it is all fine, she has no concerns about anything, she is an unawakened innocent who will do what her father tells her. Now, her secret has been found out, Pooja knows who she is inside, “Simran”, not just “Didi”.
She can’t even lie down any more, she has to pop up, reveal herself as an active moving thinking person. Who sleeps in earrings? I am okay with sleeping with the slightly pulled back hair, but those earrings look big and uncomfortable! Not like dangly, but big enough that they must have a fastener in the back that would dig right in to her neck. Uch!
Pooja pops up too, and I love her face! It is so happy and confident and proud! Proud of herself for figuring this out, proud of Kajol for having such a nice romance, confident it will all work out, happy that it will all work out. This is how Kajol’s romance should have been greeted! This is what her mother should have been like after the first confession, this is moment of joy has been owed to Kajol all along, to find someone, ANYONE, who felt the same way she did.
But it has been taken away from her so often, she can’t trust it. Her family has taught her distrust, deceit. This is why she was ready to run away right at the beginning, why she told Shahrukh her father would never understand. Her first heartfelt confession was met with such brutal lack of understanding, such a shocking uncaring reaction, that she didn’t want to risk it again, give her family another chance to disappoint her. And she is trying to avoid that again, that disappointment, not rushing in with the full faith she used to have in these people who are supposed to love her.
Of course Pooja knows everything! Little sisters always do. And she sees it in the clearest simplest sense. Not “isn’t Raj the one who seduced you and ruined your life and turned you into a faithless daughter?” or “isn’t Raj the one who was so threatening that he forced our father to uproot our whole family and flee?” or “isn’t Raj the one who took your heart forever and is driving you into misery?” No, just “the one you met in Europe”. With a commonplace assumption that Kajol probably has met many boys in many places and this just happened to be the one she cared about the most, and that’s all.
Kajol is still hesitating, but keeping her eyes lowered to hide how much she wants this, this healthy happy conversation with no secrets. And now I can talk about one of my favorite movies that no one else likes, Jaan-E-Mann!
First, Jaan-E-Mann is kind of this story if they had eloped. A young couple passionately in love who runs off together without a second thought. But then he has to leave her alone, and she has no one else. Remember Kajol’s fears in that last scene? That she couldn’t trust Shahrukh? What if they had gotten married and then he had left her alone to sink into those doubts again? That’s what happened to Preity in Jaan-E-Mann, the elopement and marriage was wonderful, but then the doubts and the loneliness of having no one else in her life started to creep in. And she weakened and left, went back to live with her family. Until, a year later, lots of stuff happens and finally at the very end of the film our second hero Akshay Kumar (not the husband) gives her a big speech explaining how her husband always loved her and is a great guy and such a good friend and so on. And her only response is “keep talking. It is so wonderful to hear good things about him”. And it fills in this whole backstory of a woman in love who has been told over and over that her love is wrong, bad, no good. She has been twisted, unable to express her natural feelings, unable to have the pure joy of sharing her love with a supportive audience that should be a natural right for anyone.
(It’s on the internet! Thank you Shemaroo! Go 9 minutes in to see the bit I mean. No subtitles, but he has just given this long heartfelt speech, and her only response is “keep talking, it is so nice to hear someone saying good things about him”)
And that’s what Kajol is finally getting here. Finally, she is getting the chance to glory in her love, the way she has been wanting to, but afraid of risking, all along. But only once Pooja says the thing she is too afraid even to say outloud. Also, now, Pooja’s earrings make sense for sleeping in! Hoops, not studs.
And now, finally, Kajol can smile. Can let her face light up with the joy of being in love and sharing that love. Finally! After weeks of trying to deny this natural urge and happiness that is owed to everyone in love.
And that’s what gives her the confidence to make this statement, that she will marry only him. Now she has confirmation that her love isn’t a fantasy, someone else sees it and approves of it, anything is possible, she will surely marry him.
And here is where Pooja reveals her youth again. And why she is the perfect person to share this moment. She sees the world as happy and perfect and all the rest of it, Kajol will get married to the man she loves and be happy forever and ever and that’s wonderful.
It’s contagious! Kajol shushes her like the sensible person she is, but her mouth can’t help smiling even as she does it.
Pooja shushes back, but clearly thinks this is all a delightful game, there is no real fear in her, it’s just like hiding from Santa Claus or any other game like that, not serious.
And they hug. A matching hug to the one between Kajol and Farida, but the opposite of that. Farida talked to her and took away her hope, told her she should not dream. And they held each other in the despair of growing up and learning what it means to be a woman. And now Pooja has given it back to her, the brazenness of youth, telling her to embrace joy not sorrow.
And it ends as it began, with Pooja calling her “Didi”. Only now it is a a different kind of “Didi”. Not limiting her back to those family relationships, but treasuring them, the bond between two sisters who can share every secret.