Shahrukh Birthday Month Post: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham Review, Shahrukh’s Love Defeats Amitabh’s Hate (Again)

Our last Shahrukh Month Review!  So SAD!!!! There is still Jab Harry Met Sejal Day to look forward to on Sunday, but that won’t be a “new” movie to the blog. Oh well, there’s always the much less important holiday seasons of Diwali and Christmas to look forward to once Shahrukh Month is over.

This is the most watered down weak-sauce fake-o-la version of Hindi film possible without actually no longer being Hindi film.  If you were to do a line graph with Awara at one end and Bride and Prejudice at the other, this film would be snuggled right up to B and P.  And yet not quite crossing that invisible Bride and Prejudice line that separates “Hindi film” from “Hindi film homage”.  That’s what makes it so valuable, it is the best test case for “what is the bare minimum required to make a film still sincere and not an imitation”.

Image result for kabhi khushi kabhi gham poster

Common wisdom has it that Hindi film breaks down to two things, Stars and Songs.  That’s what K3G is all about, it has 6 major stars and 6 major songs.  Stars from every generation and songs from every genre.  Of course, the stars are playing rather shallow character types and conflicts.  And the songs are heavy on the spectacle and light on the poetry.  But they are still stars and songs.

That’s why I make K3G my intro movie for people at my movie night.  It is to Hindi cinema as pizza is to Italian food.  Everyone likes it, no one complains, and it is recognizably Italian on some basic level even if it is missing most of the depth and deliciousness of more authentic Italian food.

Okay, that’s all my mean things I have to say.  Here’s the nice things.  If all this movie has is Stars and Songs, at least it uses them really really well.  And mixes them together really really well.  Every single song is a perfect example of a particular aspect of it’s star’s power.  Whether it is Shahrukh-Kajol chemistry, Jaya-Amitabh sweetness, Hrithik youthful sexiness, Kareena glamour, or of course the most complicated, when all 6 combine together.

 

In other “nice” news, it also has the purest most obvious example of the way Indian film picks up on older Indian cultural traditions, through the constant way Hrithik and Shahrukh are set to mimic Lakshman and Ram.  Little things like marrying sisters to being less than full brothers, and big things like Shahrukh obediently going into exile as a sign of love for his father.  If I ever need to prove to people that Indian film is directly related to the ancient oral traditions of South Asian culture, BAM!  Here it is!

And then there’s the spectacle.  Costumes, hair, sets, everything is big big BIG.  It’s not just a love song, it’s a love song by the pyramids!  It’s not just a big house outside Delhi, it’s a house so big you can only reach it by helicopter.  He’s not just the cute boy in school, he is the boy so cute he inspires his own cheerleading team to follow him around.

 

And the performances aren’t bad either!  The roles and plot are tailermade for these stars, fit like a glove, and the stars live up to it.  Shahrukh is the charming-est and sexiest he has ever been, Hrithik is the most confident and handsome, Kareena is the most arrogant and secretly sweet, Amitabh has the greatest gravitas, Jaya the greatest quiet suffering, Farida Jalal the greatest cheerfulness, and Kajol the greatest Kajolitude (which either means you hate her or you love her here, there is no middle-ground).

Most of all, it just feels warm and fun and happy.  It’s not an homage, not exactly, but there is a bit of nostalgia, a bit of tribute, a bit of relaxing into familiarity as into a warm bath.  Karan designed this film to be a combination of Hum Aapke Hain Koun and Kabhi Kabhi, and that’s what it feels like, somehow familiar and old-fashioned while at the sometime feeling updated and fresh for a new era.  Shahrukh and Kajol, they were playing the same roles together they had played in 5 films before.  Kareena, she looked just like her sister and her mother before her.  Hrithik, he was the same hero he had been in his last 4 hit films.  And Jaya and Amitabh, it was like watching your parents onscreen, we had seen them fall in and out of love in real and reel life for the past 30 years.  That is what makes it just barely on the correct side of the Bride and Prejudice line.  This isn’t a movie made by or for people who see Hindi film as kitsch, or an “experience”, this is for people who grew up within the warm soft embrace of all these films could be and have been.  And that’s the other reason I show it to people as their first movie, if you watch this film you don’t go into Hindi films ready to love at them or minimize them, but ready to love them.

 

 

 

 

SPOILER SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILER SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILER SPOILERS SPOILERS

 

 

 

 

It’s a surprisingly simple plot once you strip away all the songs and spectacle and so on.  Shahrukh and Hrithik are brothers, Jaya and Amitabh are their parents.  Shahrukh falls in love with poor girl Kajol while Amitabh is arranging his engagement to fellow rich person Rani.  Amitabh is furious and throws Shahrukh and Kajol out, they move to London and create a life together.  Ten years later, Hrithik has grown up and decides to track down his brother and sister-in-law and bring them home.  He goes to London and meets Kajol’s little sister who has grown up to be Kareena and they fall in love.  He works his way into Shahrukh’s family under an assumed name and then reveals himself and begs Shahrukh to come home.  Shahrukh refuses until his grandmother dies and his mother asks him to come back home at the funeral.  He and Kajol return to the family home and Amitabh finally makes peace with them.  Then Hrithik and Kareena get married.

We were complaining a lot in the Jab Tak Hain Jaan review about how there was no real REASON for the 10 years of separation.  And it’s kind of the same problem here.  Amitabh said to go, so they went.  10 years later they came back and Amitabh says “When did I tell you to go?  You should have stayed!”  But this time around, it doesn’t actually ruin the script.

For one thing, the whole “when did I say that?  Anyway, you should have known I didn’t mean it and not paid attention and done what I told you not to do even though I told you not to do it” conversation is just plain CLASSIC parental guilt trip.  Very realistic.

But mostly it is because the conflict comes not from the Amitabh’s mind games, but from the situations they cause.  Amitabh welcoming Shahrukh home isn’t the resolution, or rather it isn’t the only resolution.  There’s the resolution of the Shahrukh-Kajol romance, when they get married half way through the film.  There’s the resolution of the Hrithik-Kareena romance when he stops teasing her and confesses his love in “You Are My Soniya”.  There’s the resolution of the almost unspoken sibling rivalry in Shahrukh and Hrithik’s love scene together.  And there’s even the resolution of the marriage problems between Jaya and Amitabh in his admission that he needs her, and in her confrontation and declaration of her own authority.  Amitabh is the central problem, but he spins off multiple other problems in all kinds of directions each of which have their own resolution.

That’s another reason this is kind of an ur-text (is that how that is spelled?) of Hindi film.  It is about the patriarchy, represented by the ultimate Patriarch, and all the many many ways it screws people up.  Each little subsection of story is a different way.

First there’s Hrithik and Shahrukh.  The hidden central story.  Shahrukh is the older brother, the second-in-command of the family.  Hrithik grows up feeling overlooked and left behind, the “spare” rather than the “heir”.  He whines his way through childhood, leaning on his nanny and food as substitutes for real love.  And Shahrukh enjoys dominating him, waves his status in front of his face.  Until it gets real, when the Patriarchy that has been slowly driving a wedge between them their whole lives accelerates the process, and sends Shahrukh away suddenly elevating Hrithik to the position of first son.  Shahrukh’s last move on the way out of town is to stop and visit Hrithik, to try to pass on some strength to the one who has to struggle to replace him.

Hrithik’s great rebellion is to reject his new position.  Like Bharat refusing to take the throne and instead leaving Ram’s shoes to hold the place, Hrithik will not fully accept his role as the only son.  Instead he decides his father was wrong, he is wrong, the right thing to do is to track down Shahrukh and give him back his honor.  And Shahrukh’s great rebellion is his reaction, when Hrithik finally admits his identity.  He says he does not need to meet his father, or his mother.  He just needs to see Hrithik one more time, that is enough.  They spent their early years being set against each other, but now they have realized that they are stronger together than alone, that each needs the other as much or more than they need the useless old Patriarch.  Youth united rather than age alone.

And then there’s Rani.  She is barely in the film, but she has her own little rebellion.  Her father and Shahrukh’s father have decided she should marry Shahrukh.  She is in love with Shahrukh.  It would be easy to just go with what the powers that be want from her.  But instead, she rebels.  She talks to Shahrukh directly and confirms what it is that HE wants, and makes her decision based on that information.  She decides without hesitation to go against the decision made by her elders and form her own life.

(Good religious Rani who loves her father and Shahrukh’s parents, still ready to go against them when she knows it is right)

Moving on down the line, there’s also Shahrukh and Kajol.  They are in love, one of the greatest possible rebellions.  But neither of them really questions their position in the world.  They are in fact the least rebellious characters which makes their punishment for their “transgressions” so obviously false, so unfair, as to incite rebellion in others.  Kajol resists falling in love with Shahrukh because he is rich, because he is a man, because her father didn’t pick him out, because she doesn’t want to leave her father.  She falls in love with him, but will not act on it, because she sees her father and little sister together and remembers she has a responsibility to them that goes beyond her own desires.

Shahrukh falls in love with Kajol, and at first does not see that as against his duty to the patriarchy.  Men are supposed to fall in love, to conquer, to bring women home with them.  It is only when Amitabh learns and disapproves of the relationship that Shahrukh decides he must give it up, better to break his own heart (and Rani’s by the way since she has already said she doesn’t want this marriage) than bring tears to his father’s eyes.

And so like good dutiful young people, they prepare to sacrifice their whole lives at the alter of the patriarchy.  Until fate intervenes.  My favorite moment of the film, Shahrukh comes to tell her good-bye, and sees that her father has died and she and her little sister are all alone crying over his body.  And that changes everything.  Before, they had flirted and loved but all under the protection of being essentially powerless.  If their relationship did not end in marriage, she would not lose respect or safety in the neighborhood because she would still have her father with her.  And if he walked away, he could say it was because his father ordered it and she would understand.  But now Shahrukh walks into a situation where the patriarch has been removed, and two young women are left falling down (literally) without that strength to support them.  It is the moment that, in an odd way, he was born and trained for, a life time of being taught how to be the head of the household with the expectation of taking over for his father at his father’s death, and now he finds himself automatically instead taking the place of the head of someone else’s household, becoming the man that Kajol and little Kareena at this moment in time need to lean on.  He does nothing wrong, in fact he does everything right, he takes responsibility just as he was taught.  And she gives up responsibility, obeys her new patriarch just as she was taught.  And yet, they are punished, for this situation completely beyond their control.  And the little people, the ones living under the tyranny of Amitabh, they are stunned at this wrong and it begins the rebellion that grows and grows until it takes him down.

Jaya and Farida, they are next.  Amitabh does not like their closeness, he refuses Jaya permission to go to Farida’s daughter’s wedding.  But Jaya talks to her in secret, asks her to go with Shahrukh and care for him.  Jaya isn’t openly rebelling, but she is resisting a bit, using connections that Amitabh dismisses and disapproves of in order to bend his rules a bit.  Even before that, she takes a moment to give her bracelets to Kajol, a traditional mother-in-law to daughter-in-law gift, before saying good-bye.  She obeys the letter of the law, not communicating with Shahrukh and Kajol once they leave, but she is already avoiding the spirit of it.

And her small rebellions continue even while we aren’t watching.  We come back ten years later to find the couple estranged, the house cold and empty.  Jaya has been following her “wifely duties” by obeying Amitabh’s direct orders, but she hasn’t been giving him love, and has perfected the passive aggressive jab and side glance.  She only comes back to him when he begs, broken down by her lack of love, and then turns on him again mere weeks later, declaring that she has lost all respect for him and will no longer obey his orders.  This is what happens to the authoritarian, they drive all sincere love and affection away from them until only resentment and anger is left.  Jaya’s story is of a woman who loves her husband because he has made her life full of love and happiness.  And then slowly comes to hate him and lose all respect as he takes away the things that make her happy one by one.

Kareena is an interesting character, because she shows what can happen when the Patriarch inspires no fear whatsoever, but still love.  Shahrukh is the head of her family, she loves him and worries about him and respects him.  But he has no ability to limit what clothes she wears, who she dates, any of that.  It is a family joke, the way he will play act being the authority while in reality they all laugh at him.  But on the other hand, when he makes a decision, they all follow it out of choice and trust.  At the very end, Hrithik and Kareena both wish to go back to Amitabh and Jaya’s house.  But they will not go without Shahrukh.  He does not forbid them, or give them permission, he does not give any opinion at all on their decision.  But they, for themselves, decide to honor him as the head of the household and refuse to make a move without his approval.  In the same way Kajol and he have a much more relaxed marriage than Amitabh and Jaya, less focused on rules.  But when it comes down to the major decisions, Kajol naturally turns to him to take the lead because he has earned her trust and respect.

And so we finally reach the end of the film.  Amitabh, the center of this massive family group, chose to shatter what they had built.  And so the network re-formed without him, mother to son, husband to wife, brother to brother, sister-in-law to brother-in-law, even female friend to friend, a new net with no clear center.  As Hrithik and Kareena and Kajol and Shahrukh arrive at the house, they are met by Jaya, love and memories bond them all together, and Amitabh is left outside of things.  And so we reach the end to discover it is not Amitabh bringing Shahrukh back into the family, but rather the rest of the family agreeing to allow Amitabh to join their new group.  Amitabh breaks down, tries to touch Shahrukh’s feet, reveals his weakness.  Shahrukh has won, Amitabh has lost.  Ram went into exile, but all of Ayodha followed him and the king lost his kingdom.

(Just like Mohabbatein, Shahrukh’s love defeats Amitabh’s Angry Old Man.  Only, less boring and with a better heroine and younger cast)

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20 thoughts on “Shahrukh Birthday Month Post: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham Review, Shahrukh’s Love Defeats Amitabh’s Hate (Again)

  1. I love what you said about this movie being like pizza. I may not always enjoy it, but it’s always there to be enjoyed. What I do LOVE about this movie is that unlike other movies, the adults here act like adults. Rani loves Shahrukh, but is the master of her destiny and refuses to marry a man who doesn’t love her (a fantastic touch). The adults take responsibility, they try and confront problems and they find solutions (no matter how stupid they may be, a la Amitabh). The love stories are actually very singular and not dramatic. It’s the family dynamic which is much more interesting. If tightened, and with depth this could have been a fascinating look at Indian families (but unfortunately, I have fallen off the KJo bandwagon). It’s Bharatham – bollywood-ized and without the amazing depth?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! If this same story of complex family dynamics played out as a mini-series set in a middle-class household, it would be fascinating and addictive. Especially if they went whole-hog and made Kajol’s family a different caste, instead of in the original where (If I was reading the signs correctly) they were very much a different CLASS, but still the same caste.

      On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 3:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. There was only one thing (apart Kareena’s awful pants in You are my Soniya) I didn’t like when I first saw the movie – the scene you mentioned, when SRK and Amitabh make peace in the end. I loved everything else, but this was too much. The last thing I needed after being seated for 3 hours was “why you didn’t come? Bacause you didn’t call me. You should have come without calling. You’re right I should have come. No you’re right, I should have called. No, it was my fault…” OMG thought it will never end.

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    • Everyone had those pants in 2001! Aish wore them in Kuch Na Kaho, and I know there was another movie I saw them in too. Manish Malhotra must have had some kind of a “vision” but it definitely did not work.

      On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 3:44 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Before I ever saw the movie, I’d watched the songs like Say Shava Shava and one of the biggest complaints I saw about SRKs character was that he led on *both* Rani and Kajol. So when I watched it and fully expected him to be a sort of fuckboy lol. But I don’t understand that argument because all I saw was SRK flirting a little with Rani- presumably because on some level he knew their families were going to set them up- but all of that is BEFORE he meets Kajol and falls in love. What I got from it was he flirted because that was just the nature of their friendship but as soon as he meets Kajol he becomes preoccupied with her and we don’t even *see* Rani until Amitabh seals the engagement and he’s so shocked about it. I think that says more about SRK and Amitabhs characters than anything else because even though earlier SRK probably expected he’d marry Rani, it never crosses his mind that his father might forbid him from marrying who he wants, and on the other hand its almost like Amitabh never considered that SRK could have his own thoughts and feelings separate from his family duty. That got a bit rambly so I hope it still makes sense!

    (Side note: the part where Farida recognises Hrithik because he *still* can’t tie his shoelaces always cracks me up, I mean…how did he last ten years at boarding school? Did he just exclusively wear Velcro?)

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    • What an odd complaint! I agree, it just makes no sense. To me the movie does a good job of showing that Shahrukh is being nice and friendly to Rani because he is her friend, and she is in love with him but also perfectly aware he is not in love with her. She teases him trying to get some sign of affection but is not surprised when it doesn’t really come. And like you say, once Kajol appears Shahrukh isn’t shown with Rani again. The only time it feels like he is “leading her on” is that moment during Shava Shava when he imagines Kajol and Rani thinks he is singing to her, and he is immediately embarrassed about it.

      Do you remember the moment when Amitabh announces the engagement to the rest of the family? Even Jaya is surprised and kind of wonders why he hasn’t checked this with Shahrukh yet. Amitabh is the only one who has it clear in his head that of course he will be arranging Shahrukh’s marriage and Shahrukh has nothing to do with it. Shahrukh could reasonably assume that he could flirt and so on with Kajol and offer her a respectable marriage at the end of it, and that he could do friendly flirting with Rani and it would not be misinterpreted. It’s only stupid amitabh who comes in and messes up what was perfectly clear to all the young people (Kajol and Shahrukh were thinking about marriage, Rani was hoping for it but new it might not happen).

      And yes to the shoe tying!!!! That cracks me up every time. Especially how serious Hrithik is about it, trying so very very hard to remember if the shoelace goes over or under or through.

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      • I remember reading a post of yours a while back where you talked about how Shahrukh turns his sexiness on or off depending on who he’s acting opposite, and when I compare the Shahrukh/Rani scenes versus Shahrukh/Kajol, you can definitely see that with Rani there’s the flirtiness, but it’s not serious-it’s not something he’s really pursing, whereas when he’s with Kajol, he turns it on to the MAX, and it’s really clear who he really has feelings for lol.

        Definitely think the whole deal with Amitabh in the movie is that it’s a generational thing. Jaya and even his mum have moved forward but he doesn’t. It’s still a very recognisable dynamic, actually- my mum says she married at 27 because her parents told her to, so I should marry when *she* tells me to and like Amitabh doesn’t really get why I wouldn’t want to marry her choice for me.
        To me, it seems that Amitabh thinks he knows what works in terms of keeping the family ‘honour’ and almost desperately clings onto it because deviating from his rules would mean uncertainty. I mean, isn’t that the entire basis for his argument against having Kajol as his daughter in law? It’s all about how she wouldn’t fit in with the family/uphold their upper class values, that sort of thing. It’s ‘you might love this girl but bringing her here will cause too much change and I can’t predict the outcome’.
        That’s part of what makes the contrast between Amitabh so interesting. Shahrukh marries Kajol because it is the honourable thing to do when she is left alone, and he doesn’t know how his father will react but he does it anyway. If he rejected her at that point, he’d have gone on to marry Rani, would have had 2.5 children, and the whole nine yards. But at the pivotal moment he turns away from the path where everything is neatly mapped out for him and instead accepts Kajol and the unpredictable. (It kind of reminds me of that scene in DDLJ when he talks about taking the easy way or the hard way out)

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        • Yes! I think that was in my discussion before Dear Zindagi and the liklihood or unlikelihood or Alia-Shahrukh having a romance. Such a great point for this movie! I’d thought before about how with Kareena in this Shahrukh is 100% not sexual, turns the tap off entirely because he is like a father to her. And then a year later, same actress, and Asoka is all kinds of sexy. But throwing Rani into the mix makes it even more interesting. You have Kareena where there is nothing, Kajol where there is everything (sometimes in the same scene as he looks back and forth between them). But then there is also Rani where he is young and healthy and not fatherly, but also not super interested.

          With Kajol in those early scenes, Shahrukh is promising sex and also all that implies (marriage, kids, a life together). But with Rani, there is no implied sex which doesn’t mean he is completely uninterested or wouldn’t have been happy enough if he married her, but it means he hasn’t even made her that much of a commitment. He can walk away without having ruined her in the eyes of the world or for all other men or anything else. With Kajol, he can’t walk away, not without breaking that promise. It was okay when she was resisting him because of her duty to her father, but once her father is gone, there she is with his promise hanging over both of them. If he had merely said “I love you”, it wouldn’t have been as drastic, but romancing her in the middle of the neighborhood is something they can’t walk away from.

          Fascinating point about Amitabh’s character. It could also tie all the way back to Shahrukh’s adoption. Amitabh did this one radical thing, changing the whole way the family worked, and it was a success, but it was the last time he took a risk (also a sign of how, deep in his heart, he loves his family. Because he took the risk to give Jaya a son and we can imagine what that cost him). When he throws Shahrukh out and declares he is not his son, it is taking back that one time he ever went against tradition. Bringing Shahrukh back into the family and talking things out admits that breaking with tradition was the right thing to do and leads to all those other breaks with tradition.

          And really interesting point about Kajol being the unpredictable element. It’s not just that she represents love, Kajol is unpredictable in herself, while Jaya is the obedient perfect proper wife (and Rani would have been too), Kajol is none of that, singing off-key and causing problems and also surprising him and seducing him in a sexy dress. That’s what Shahrukh wants, that unpredictable element somewhere in his life while everything else is safe and planned. And then he ends up with an entire life of unpredictability, a new country and starting his own business and being responsible for 5 people (Kajol, Farida, Kareena, their son) before he is 25.

          On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 5:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. This was I think the 5th Bolly film I’d ever seen and I was mildly entertained but not much beyond that. But it’s a must see if for no other reason than it’s been parodied so many times, especially the scene when Shahrukh comes home and Jaya is waiting for him and there’s a long beat before he appears.

    More random thoughts:

    My husband couldn’t believe that anyone would pick Kajol over Rani and he has a point. Rani is gorgeous in this film and Kajol is just a little too extra.

    I remember being derailed by Hrithik’s looks every time he appeared. Like I’d stop following the narrative and think Good God that guy is good looking, WOW. But then I’d think he couldn’t act a damn. Now I know he can act but only with the right director in the right role.

    I found Kareena to be a bit freakish looking between the wardrobe and horrible make-up, especially that lipstick. Acting-wise she’s about Hrithik level in this which makes me think Karan can’t direct actors and relies on performers who don’t need a lot of attention.

    The Indian national anthem scene is cringeworthy. I could barely stand to watch it, tbh.

    Amitabh is fine but when you consider his talent and filmography he’s really phoning it in.

    Oddly enough, this is one of the Shahrukh performances I like, maybe because being in such a big ensemble with Amitabh tamped down some of the things I find irritating about a lot of his performances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be fair to Kareena, she was only 20-21 in this and it was only her 3rd film. She got better very quick.

      But you are right about Karan! He said in an interview around the time of KANK that he only wants to work with stars, it’s just easier, they know what they are doing. Of course, right after that he made Student of the Year with all newcomers, but that was a pretty superficial script that didn’t ask much of the performers.

      This was the first movie that I started to think Hrithik might be able to act, just because of that bench scene with Shahrukh which he really pulls off perfectly.

      This was early in the reinvention of Amitabh era, I think he wasn’t quite comfortable with playing the old man/father roles yet. At the time I didn’t notice, but comparing what he does in those films versus what he does now, it feels like he is a first time actor again. Which he kind of was.

      The other thing about Shahrukh in this film is that he isn’t there for long. You’ve got a little bit of Shahrukh, and then a little bit of Amitabh, and then Hrithik, and then Jaya, and on and on. He’s definitely the lead, but he’s kind of floating around through the plot and only in focus off and on. I find it a very hammy performance, and kind of superficial. But that doesn’t matter, because you only get it in small doses.

      On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 7:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I loved this movie! I just watched Crazy Rich Asians last week and they had nothing on this movie. KJo would’ve made a much better movie of it.
    But jokes apart, the movie is my guilty pleasure. I love JayaB-SRK as mom and son. They were really cute together. I thought Kajol was a little annoying in this. Kareena was fab, as the GenX/(or Y?) heroine who didn’t bow down to the patriarchy. Also SRK is a little bitter in the second half. The separation from the family does bother him more than he shows.
    This movie has my fav dialog of all time “All I need is good looks, good looks, good looks” haha

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      • Yes!!!!! Watching it with friends on DVD, they get all confused with why that section is sooooooooooooooo slow and long, but seeing it in theaters, it makes perfect sense.

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    • I hated Kareena the first time I watched it, but seeing her now as the younger generation who just doesn’t care about the rules, I can get behind her.

      Shahrukh in the second half is interesting, how about this way of seeing it? While Amitabh as the head of the family makes everyone miserable in order to make himself happy, Shahrukh makes himself miserable in order to make everyone else happy. We can see his lingering bitterness and loneliness, but he keeps that from everyone else, makes sure his wife and sister-in-law and son and Farida are all safe and secure and happy and keeps his sadness to himself.

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      • That is interesting. Yeah he keeps his pain to himself so the others don’t suffer. I also feel Hrithik was quite miserable in the movie. Kareena is literally the only person who he really opens up to. And she is quite superficial and not apologetic – that was quite refreshing.

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        • You’re right, that bench scene is the only time Hrithik really reveals his pain and how hard he is finding it to try to live up to Shahrukh while knowing he is constantly disappointing his parents.

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  6. This is another movie where I cried at the end the first time I watched it without understanding why it was getting to me. I remember trying to figure out why they would make him adopted, what that meant. I rewatched it a few months ago with a friend (as an example of peak star Shah Rukh) and she also cried, but the ending didn’t hit me the same way the second time.

    There are things I really like – SRK and Kajol, even with the histrionics, especially the village scenes. Love the helicopter entrance, can’t help it. I really disliked Kareena for a while after this movie, Pooja is such an annoying character it turned me off her completely. I wanted to like Hrithik but his clothes, too much, and between the two of them just so much posing. I would skip most of the Hrithik-Kareena parts if I were skimming and just watch SRK-Kajol and Amitabh-Jaya.

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    • The emotion doesn’t hit me as much on rewatches, but I can better appreciate the structure, how Karan built each relationship and each plot point just right so that the end is like a whole pile of feelings collapsing down on you.

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