Second to last part! Woot woot! After this we have to move on to Darr which is considerably high quality, and less fun.
I left off with the college friend cop and his mustache talking to Kajol about a girl who’s gone missing, who she recognizes as Shilpa’s friend, and Shahrukh stumbling upon the conversation. He immediately turns it up to 100 in possessive boyfriend mode. And if you, like me, are now completely committed to him and Kajol as True Love Forever, it is an interesting switch from how he was with Shilpa.
With Shilpa, he was a different kind of horrible boyfriend, all passive and emotional blackmail-ee. He played her like stringed instrument, withholding affection and commitment at just the right times, to keep her doing exactly what he needed. And then, when it became clear it wasn’t going to work out, he knew just when to cut his losses (by cutting her connection to, like, life).
But with Kajol, he isn’t nearly as calculated. His overreaction here in the short term gets her to send cop college friend away, but in the long term will probably backfire (and, Spoiler, it does) as she starts to notice his overreactions and wonder what is behind the,. It feels more like an actual boyfriend freaking out because he sees his girlfriend slipping away from him.
And, as we are reminded by the next scene, Shahrukh could cut his losses again at this point. He already has the big fancy office and the big fancy job and the complete trust of the big fancy “Daddy”. He is sitting there, possible thinking “Why is there a question mark and a check mark picture on my wall?” when big fancy Daddy calls him into a meeting. He goes to wash his face, and loses a contact! No!!! Desperate crawling through the sink, on the floor, they are still calling for him, he is under the sink now pulling out the pipe and looking in it, they are about to come in and see him with miss-matched eyes, and he finds it! In the towel he was using on his face. And gets it back in his eye with minutes to spare!
Such an interesting scene! Very well done, very stressful, which is kind of unusual in Indian film, where it is usually more about the big happy set pieces, not the small you have to pay attention to them ones. This and the train scene from Ghulam are the only ones I can think of at the moment. Well, and like everything in Sholay, but that’s Sholay. It’s in a class by itself.
(still so good! Also, it’s that guy again! The head of the motorcycle gang who also plays the real Vicky Malhotra in this! Oh, and do you want to know how they did the special effects for this scene to make it look like Aamir Khan was running flat out towards a moving train? They had Aamir Khan run flat out to a moving train.)
Also, you realize the stress of this scene only works if the audience is completely on Shahrukh’s side at this point? In the back of Ganti’s excellent book, she has an interview with the scriptwriter for this. He explains that the took the American original (A Kiss Before Dying) and realized the only way it would work in India is if there was sympathy for the hero. Because Indian audiences have to be emotionally involved. Which is why they put in the whole backstory and motivation for Shahrukh, so you are actually on his side by the time you get to the end (So, here. Where we are now, in the final hour).
So, good thing he made the meeting, because it was actually kind of important! “Daddy” is going on vacation and, just like in the flashback, he is giving Shahrukh Power of Attorney! Everything is falling into place! Although, the suitcase with the body was found, so that’s a downer. It is found in a neat way though, some random guy walking his dog on the beach finds the suitcase and opens it, and we only see his reaction, not what is inside. It’s like the very first five minutes of every Law and Order episode ever.
More importantly, this gives college friend cop a reason to meet up with Kajol again. Kajol! Abusive Boyfriend Shahrukh won’t like this! You must repress your own needs and desires and judgement and obey his dictates if you want your love to last! Do it for my voyeuristic pleasure! Oh, and also, it’s kind of sad that she is finding out that girl died. Whatever, she had bad taste in birthday dresses and was standing in the way of True Love Forever, she deserved to die.
Shahrukh sees them meeting, and his reaction should be fear at being caught, but if it is, he is hiding it pretty well behind Massive Jealous Rage. He confronts Kajol that night and rips her to shreds, until she is in tears on the couch. And then he turns nice, all “I just want you to be happy, thinking about your sister [who I killed] and her friend [who I also killed] and that other guy who you think killed himself [but actually I killed him too] and talking about it with your college friend cop [who I very much want to kill] makes you sad! So you shouldn’t do it! And I love you so much, let’s just spend the night out, just the two of us, none of these dead people in the way!”
And Kajol gives in to his sweet sweet puppy eyes and agrees to go out, but is still kind of sad. You know, because of all the murders. Which brings us to (drumroll please), “Kaali Kaali Aankhen”! Such a good song! No wonder they named his character after it in Dilwale.
(So good! You should really watch it)
I assume we all just took a break to watch “Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen (doo-do-doot, doo-do-doot)”? So good with the characters and the stuff! Shahrukh is sexy and fun, but also controlling, and a little bit dark and scary. And Kajol is enjoying it a lot, but also has some gut feeling that something is wrong, which she has to keep ignoring in order to enjoy herself.
And then she can’t ignore that something is wrong, because on the way out they are approached by Shahrukh’s old friend, “Vicky Malhotra.” Wait a minute! That’s the name Shahrukh has been going by with his brown-eyed contacts! No! Stop talking Real Vicky! You are going to spoil their fairy tale romance!
Shahrukh reacts almost as emotionally and violently as I do, and promptly punches real Vicky and drives him back onto a table, knocking over several tables. Kajol is somewhat disturbed. Presumably not by the violence, since it’s not nearly as bad as the scene early when he beat a guy with his belt. But by the crazy over-reaction (at least the whipped guy was an attempted rapist) to someone just coming up and acting like he knew him.
Shahrukh knows she has doubts, and there is a scene that I strongly suspect was added later after they started getting reactions to the SRKajol scenes. Shahrukh is working late in his office, as we can see by the dim lighting that only partially reveals the Question Mark painting. He does some dramatic pacing acting while his voice over lays out that he is well on the way to taking over the company and gaining vengeance, BUT! He does actually love Kajol! To the point where he is considering giving up vengeance and just being with her. But he has sworn vengeance so he must continue.
You know Ram? Of the Ramayana? I always was kind of irritated by how he sent Sita back to the forest because of public opinion. But then I read an interpretation which put it in terms of him giving up his own happiness, because being with the woman he loves is the greatest possible thing he could have, and he voluntarily sacrifices it for a bigger cause. In Western culture, we’re so used to thinking of marriage as a sacrifice for a man, it is hard to switch your brain around and think of it as their greatest joy and desire. And I think that is what they are going for here, that Shahrukh loves Kajol, and could be happy, that his greatest desire is to marry her, but he is sacrificing his own happiness for the greater good. Well, the greater necessity of a massive years long revenge plot.
(this is not the conclusion reached by Sita Sings the Blues, but you should all watch it anyway, because it is excellent)
And, Deja Vu! Daddy comes back from vacation to find that Shahrukh has taken over the entire company! He is very angry! And also, I am fairly certain, wearing ladies glasses. Shahrukh has no patience with this and reminds him that he tried to proposition Raakhee WHILE BABY SHAHRUKH WAS IN THE ROOM! Yeah, that was pretty bad. Not kill-your-daughter bad, but definitely take-over-your-company bad.
Kajol, I guess, completely missed this whole taking over the company thing. Not a good head for business on this one! Good thing Shahrukh was allowed to take over the company instead of her, she would have run it into the ground! Probably not stolen it from her father, but at least not been a very good steward.
Instead, she is visiting the real Vicky Malhotra at his cool single dude apartment. Which he is hanging out in wearing a DER SHIRT SHOP t-shirt! Where did that even come from? Do you think it was the actor’s own shirt that he just happened to wear to set that day? Either way, it is AMAZING.
(AMAZING! I don’t care if it is already the header image, it’s worth seeing twice!)
Oh, and also, he is telling Kajol that Shahrukh isn’t Vicky, he is some other guy that went to school with him, and he has a nice widowed mother (not two dead parents as he had told her), and also his mother still lives in the same place, and he can give Kajol directions. Exciting! It’s all coming together! Or apart! One way or the other!
So, Kajol goes to that awesome house from right at the beginning. And just sort of walks in the door and starts exploring? Does this house not have a lock? And she immediately finds all sorts of incriminating materials! A whole serial killer wall of newspaper clippings, plus that same big black suitcase from way way way back at the beginning that Baby Shahrukh found! Man! Abbas-Mustan makes a TIGHT film! This answers how Shahrukh was able to get into the company so easily and track down Shilpa and Kajol and know just how to get into their lives! He had his Dad’s suitcase of bitterness to guide him! Which is what Kajol is now digging through, finding everything including an old photo of her as a child, and being increasingly Freaked. Out. Culminating in finding, THE TACKY MANGALSUTRA!!!! Which finally pays off on it’s tackiness by revealing a photo of Shahrukh and Shilpa, and confirming that he was her secret boyfriend/killer!
And of course, just as Kajol is processing this, she turns around, and there is green-eyed glasses wearing Shahrukh standing Right Behind Her! Let’s see, how much do I have left? Ooo, just a flashback and a fight scene! Okay, I’m leaving it for now, and finishing tomorrow! So close to DDLJ!