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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?