9 Shahrukh Khan Films You Can and Should Avoid

This was a suggestion on the Salman Khan post, and it makes so much sense! My little innocent new viewers could easily stumble into terrible terrible films that will turn you off the star forever. This is your “here be dragons” warning against the films that, while perhaps still enjoyable to folks who already know a lot, are really not appealing at first blush.

Now, every film on this list has fervent fans on this blog, I am aware. Okay, maybe not Happy New Year, but even that has fervent “I kind of secretly like it” people. I’m not even saying these are terrible movies. But if you are just getting started and working through the list of Shahrukh movies, DO NOT watch these!!!!! They are odd and confusing and an acquired taste.

English Babu Desi Mem

The thing with EBDM is that Shahrukh’s character really is pretty irredeemable. Especially considering the power deferential between him and the heroine. Our heroine is a struggling small town woman who dances at the local nightclub in order to make money to raise her beloved nephew. And Shahrukh is the paternal uncle of the nephew, fabulously wealthy, who swoops in to town and tries to take the boy away from her. He threatens her, he seduces her, he guilts her, just does terrible things to this poor woman! There are lots of moments that are fun in isolation, and there is a happy ending, but along the way it’s really hard to get past the bad bits, so hard I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone but the most advanced SRKians.

This song is great though

Happy New Year

Just putting it out there, I actually like this film! It’s bright and fun and silly. But I also wouldn’t recommend it to anyone because it is really REALLY silly. There’s nothing completely wrong with it, but nothing super right with it either. The romance sort of misses the mark most of the time, the comedy is even more hit and miss, the dance numbers range from “fun” to “too much going on”. And the plot is just not good, doesn’t hold together at all to the slightest examination. It’s a fun movie if you like Shahrukh, and can enjoy it for the bright colors and songs and all, but otherwise not worth it.

Dilwale

Again, I actually like this movie! But I am also aware it is not for everyone. The Shahrukh-Kajol chemistry is strong, and that is enough for me at least. But there is also the gosh-awful comic subplots, two of them! Johnny Lever and Boman Irani, both just eating up screentime. And the younger lovers are not particularly appealing. Not unappealing, but also not appealing. Besides the SRKajol chemistry, the songs aren’t that memorable either. The plot is solid, fairly straightforward, just with a whole bunch of filler.

Dil Aashna Hai

This isn’t exactly a “Shahrukh” movie, he plays the “fill in the blank with random young actor” supporting role to the heroine. But it’s also not a super well-made movie. Hema Malini’s first attempt at directing, and it shows. The plot is so convoluted, I’ve seen it three times and I’m still not sure what happened. Oh, and Shahrukh slaps the heroine “for her own good”. It is SUPER FUN in a “so-bad-it’s-good” kind of way, but not at all fun in a “so-good-it’s-vaguely-entertaining” way.

Duplicate

Oh, my friend is gonna be ANGRY with me! Yes, at least one person in the world thinks this is a great movie. But it might be only that one person. It is just really hard to pull off an erotic fake rape scene in the same movie where Farida Jalal plays a body builder. Oh, and also Shahrukh in drag doing a murder. And a random Kajol cameo with a DDLJ joke. The songs are all really wonderful, there is that, but far better to just watch the songs and skip the movie. And if all of that still doesn’t convince you, Juhi’s mother died during filming and she had to keep doing these ridiculous comic scenes and pretend to smile.

Dulha Mil Gaya

This is a very odd one. Shahrukh did it as a favor for a producer he worked with early on. But he didn’t do any promoting and the film just barely slipped into theaters. Most people don’t count it as a “Shahrukh” movie, but it really is! His role is at least 20 minutes of screen time (sure, a good amount of that is over the phone or otherwise inserted to avoid having to schedule with other actors), spread through out the film and including a song. That’s more than a cameo appearance, that’s an actual role! Tragically, the movie still isn’t very good. It’s close to good. there’s a really good central idea and mostly perfect casting. But the pacing isn’t right, it feels cheap, everything is resolved much too fast and, frankly, the young couple (Fardeen Khan and Ishita Sharma) are neither good actors nor terribly charismatic. Even a spot on Shahrukh supporting role can’t save it.

Ram-Jaane

Why would anyone have ever thought this film was a good idea? Baby-faced young Shahrukh as a troubled gangster? A sucking hole where charisma goes to die as the hero? Juhi Chawla and Shahrukh NOT getting together at the end? And Shahrukh wears a jacket but no short because that’s what gangsters are like? This one is even worse than Dil Aashna Hai, not fun in a “so-ridiculous-it’s-entertaining” way, it’s just plain draggy and boring for large parts, along with being ridiculous and illogical.

King Uncle

It’s Little Orphan Annie, but in India! If that makes you go “huh, what?”, then you are not alone. The scriptwriters had a similar reaction. Daddy Warbucks (Jackie Shroff) was given a complicated family backstory, including an estranged younger brother Shahrukh. Shahrukh is there at the beginning, a little in the middle, and pops up again at the end. Which is a sign not just of this being a low-on-Shahrukh movie, but also a somewhat poorly constructed movie. The whole family issues is left behind for a bit as Daddy Warbucks and his sexy secretary fall in love with the help of a spunky orphan, and then picked up again at the end, before being dropped a second time for more orphan drama. It’s just odd! Still enjoyable if you get into the swing of things, and laugh at the movie as much as with it, but generally to be avoided.

Oh Darling Yeh Hai India

Okay, I KNOW this is the favorite of several of you. But you understand why it is on this list, right? Unless the person happens to love Brechtian social commentary, which seems like a pretty rare overlap with also being interested in Indian film, it will not be for them. And on the other hand, if they do love Brechtian social commentary, this is going to be a bit of a bait and switch since it isn’t exactly standard for Indian film.

Okay, tell me what I got wrong! What doesn’t deserve to be on this list and is, and what deserves to be on this list and is missing?

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14 thoughts on “9 Shahrukh Khan Films You Can and Should Avoid

  1. Pretty fair list but I wouldn’t include Happy New Year. Although the romance misses, the comedy is pretty good and I don’t think it’s only Shahrukh’s presence which pulls it off. I wouldn’t count it as ‘for hard-core fans only’.
    One film I would include, which I really dislike, is Anjaam. Its randomly cruel and weird.

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    • Anjaam I kind of liked, because Shahrukh’s performance is so dark and good. But you are right, if I am putting Dil Aashna Hai and Ram-Jaane on this list for being too weird and 90s, I should include Anjaam too.

      On Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 8:28 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. And I love Oh Darling Yeh Hai India so much it was one of the the first one I bought. But you knew that. One that should not count at all, but shows up on “complete lists”, is Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke. So newbies need to be warned off of that turkey.

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  3. Oooh, what a click-bait-y title. Good job!

    I agree with this list, but would add to Happy New Year that Deepika does a lot with a kind of terrible role, and the supporting actors are charming and quite game. Even Abhi despite the random barfing.

    I might add Jab Tak Hai Jaan and KANK to this list, actually. Or at least I think they are intermediate fan movies, and not good for newbies. JTHJ has peak SRK hotness, good chemistry with Anushka, and nice songs–but one needs a crane to help with the suspension of disbelief it takes to put up with the plot and character motivations. Just watch the songs!

    KANK–well I have to say the Amitabh being a punter storyline really puts me off. I don’t re-watch KANK nearly as much as I would without it, because it makes me feel squicky even if I skip those bits. Can’t he be a sexually liberated old guy without objectifying blondes (“I call her Saturday” my ass)? And there’s a little bit of a whore/madonna thing going on with how he treats Kirron that is also annoying, though they have surprisingly good chemistry together.

    From a Shah Rukh-fan point of view, he is so good at playing bitter, cruel Dev in KANK that a new viewer may think that is all he can play, and never watch another of his movies.

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    • KANK is really difficult. Because there is so much bad but also so much good! Looking at this list, it’s definitely not in the category of something like Dil Aashna Hai which has questionable gender stuff, and also makes no sense and the songs are old-fashioned and weird and so on and so forth. KANK has great songs, very polished look to it, straight-forward plot, and so on. It’s just that some of the characters are really unpleasant.

      Jab Tak Hain Jaan, same kind of thing, great songs and polished look and so on, but in that case it is the last third of the plot that just makes NO SENSE, Is it worth telling people to avoid it because of one element that is no good?

      On Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 10:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I don’t think either of these belong in the “never watch” list. But I only think a few of the ones in the list in the post are really “never watch”. So, I guess it depends on whether the criteria is “Newbies to Hindi film and/or Shah Rukh should skip these movies til they’ve seen quite a few of his others”, or is it “No one ever needs to watch these movies”?

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        • I think it would be more of a “after you have watched the best movies, and then the funnest movies, and then the movies that really aren’t that bad, and you are still desperate for a Shahrukh fix, at that point you can watch these movies if you really really want to”. Even Shahrukh fans may not need to/enjoy watching these particular films.

          On Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 11:04 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! the idea was so good, this awesome successful model mentoring a girl from the villages with the help of her supportive wealthy boyfriend. But then it just sort of fizzled on execution.

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  4. I’ve had an odd journey with Happy New Year. I hated it the first time I saw it mainly because we get to see a SRK movie after so long and it turned out to be a dumb comedy and that too filled with all those annoying extraneous characters. Then saw it again without any expectations years later and enjoyed it so much. It’s one of those movies you can put on when you’re in a bad mood and it will definitely make you smile. It’s dumb but in a fun way and the songs are amazing.

    If you don’t hype it too much before you watch it, HNY is so much fun. I would never put it on this list.

    Dilwale is okay if you skip everything that doesn’t have SRK in it. I didn’t even like Kajol in it. Completely ruined that pair. I would have preferred it if they made it into a buddy type comedy with SRK and Varun instead of the pathetic love story we got.

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    • I had the opposite journey, just because of how I watched it. I saw it opening night in a sold out theater with 5 friends, and it was super fun. That’s really the perfect place to enjoy it, everyone laughing and talking and cheering and so on. And then I saw it many more times with different groups in emptier theaters, and it got worse and worse the more I could actually pay attention to the film. But put it on in the background while everyone is talking and snacking and happy, it’s great.

      I had the exact same experience with Dilwale, loved it opening night in a bubbly theater, liked it less and less as I watched it in emptier and emptier theaters. But agree that with Dilwale it’s really a pieces thing. Happy New Year has a nice consistent so-so quality, Dilwale just rockets up and down scene to scene in a really odd way which makes it perfect for fastforwarding. The 60 minute cut of Dilwale is an excellent film.

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