Part 52! Less fun than the last part maybe, because Himani and Anupam were suuuuuuuuch fun. But SRKajol are fun too, in their own young dumb way. And also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOYOMAMA!!!!! You mentioned it in a comment on another post, and I made this present for you right quick
Last time Shahrukh and Kajol were together, they fought. But it was a post “marriage” fight, not a “should we break up, can we be together” kind of fight, instead a “do you love me enough to understand my wishes” kind of fight. The next day, they are back to their usual loving teasing interaction without any need for further talk. Their fights are no longer that big of a deal, since they have a firm underground level of commitment.
We cut from the last scene with Anupam to this with Shahrukh by cutting from Anupam’s hand eating a carrot to Shahrukh lighting a match. A nice little visual match making two disconnected scenes feel connected, plus father and son Anupam and Shahrukh feel connected.
And then we move straight into something new, camera pulls back and we have Kajol and Shahrukh talking inside a crowded room with women in the background, very different from Anupam and Hirani talking alone.
I love this little moment because it isn’t just about Shahrukh and Kajol fight-flirting, it is also about Kajol letting Shahrukh into an intimate female moment, removing the curtain over “magical mystical female power”. The Karwa Chauth fast is a bit part of that, the idea that women fast for their men, that it is something they do voluntarily and enjoy doing because such is the magical devotion of wife for husband.
Kajol wants to do this, wants to do it for herself while Shahrukh asked her not to in their last conversation. But that doesn’t mean she can’t complain about it too! Fasting isn’t some easy magical spiritual act of devotion, it’s hard, and being a woman doesn’t make it any easier.
And here, Shahrukh is not playing the “as your all powerful husband person, I give you Godly support in this” game. He says “hey lady, you decided to do this yourself, I’m not controlling you.” This is the little dance they have through out this movie. Shahrukh refuses to take responsibility for Kajol’s decisions, challenges her to stand up for herself and make up her own mind.
Love this little moment. They can’t make clear eye contact because of the other women around, but Kajol is taking a risk and looking at him because she wants to see if he is actually as angry as his words sounded. Shahrukh is carefully still lighting candles, showing he isn’t that angry, he may sound irritable but he can still do a calm thing. It’s the sort of actor interaction that doesn’t come from the director, but rather the two actors being so in character they just do it.
And reverse moment. Shahrukh said something mean, now he takes a chance to look at her to see how upset she is, while she looks away to show she isn’t angry, but is truly hungry and tired.
She is still looking away while Shahrukh starts moving, finding the good he can palm and offer her.
Then turning to look at the women and make sure they aren’t watching. This is the other part of him refusing to take responsibility for Kajol’s decisions, challenging her the whole film. He does that, while also supporting her. As he has to support her since she is in a more vulnerable social position than he is. In Europe, when they were lost together, Kajol didn’t have the tools to cope. Shahrukh found a place to stay, found food, figured out bus tickets, and so on. And he combined that with constantly challenging her to make her own decisions where she could. If she wanted to sleep in the barn, fine, she could sleep in the barn. If she wanted to get drunk, okay, get drunk, he will chase after her.
And now here, Kajol is hungry and legitimately distressed (as he confirmed with a look at her), she made that decision for herself and he won’t take responsibility for it. But he also can see that she is too weak right now, and too closely watched, to be able to steal food for herself. So fine, he will fix the problem (which she created) for her.
Kajol’s still mad and stops him with one word. See what I mean? In another movie, he would play a card like “if you are fasting for me, you should do what I tell you, eat this”. But in this movie, Kajol is confident enough to speak up for herself because that is how their relationship works. She knows anything he says is a suggestion and not an order.
Shahrukh accepts this and moves away. Healthy conversation over with. She expressed her unhappiness, he refused to take responsibility for it and made her take responsibility for her own decisions. But he cared enough to try to offer a solution, and then respected again when she rejected it.
But relationships aren’t that simple. Yes, it’s Kajol’s problem, all Shahrukh can do is offer solutions and accept when she refuses them. On the other hand, he still loves her. He doesn’t like to see her distressed. And so even beyond solving the problem, or having the fight over her choices, there is simple comfort. He can always comfort her.
And that brings one of the sweetest little romantic moments in the film. Sweet because it is so little. This is not Shahrukh crossing oceans to find her, or even giving a big speech about how he is “Hindustani” or any of that. This is the kind of small kind loving compliment you could do any day, and every day. It’s taking that little extra step and thinking of something nice to say to make her feel better, 20 years from now it is Shahrukh noticing that she changed her hair, or telling her that green makes her look good. That sort of thoughtfulness is surprisingly rare in a husband, and this little moment is a big part of why Shahrukh in this film is every woman’s dream man.
And he’s so pleased with himself! He knows he did a really good thing. The other husband’s we see in this film wouldn’t do this kind of thing, or know it was really good if they did. Amrish Puri singing for Farida Jalal at the end of “Mehndi Lagaka Rakhna”, her reaction showed that this was a very very big deal, that he never did this kind of thing for her. But also, he seemed to have little awareness of her reaction. He was happy because he was happy in that moment, her happy response had no effect on his feelings. In this exchange, Shahrukh does a small casual thing, and then is far happy seeing Kajol’s reaction than he was simply with the initial act. If that makes sense.
And then we stay her, with the shot framed beautifully on Kajol as Shahrukh walks away. That’s important too. He said that the moon had already risen, because Kajol was the moon. A lovely little compliment. However, it is also a lovely little moment of specific gender reversal. Karwa Chauth ends when women look at the reflection of the moon and see their husband’s face. Shahrukh is saying “no, you are the moon, you are the important one”.
That’s what this smile is, not just “I am loved”, but “Heck yeah, I AM the moon!” Kajol is special and important and beautiful, even if she is in the middle of a religious ceremony which says everything she has in life is owed to her husband.
And then this smile, the look down, that is the secret “I am the moon, and the man I love thinks that, and that is the secret”. It’s a complicated series of related emotions. First being happy with the compliment from the man she loves. Then feeling empowered as she accepts the truth of that compliment. And then going back to feeling happy because someone loves her so much to see it that way.