I am going so much faster through this movie than Baazigar! And of course there’s no comparison with how slooooooooooooow I went through JHMS, once we get there.
Okay, let me check my bullet points to see what comes next. Oops! It looks like in my eagerness to get to the SRKajol of it all, I may have missed some important stuff.
Re-winding to right before Salman’s shirtless introduction, while they are still boys, we see Rakhee hanging out again, some more, in the Kali temple. Does she just live there now? Anyway, the priest comes up to her and says “Why are you still here! What good will it do! Your sons are dead and no prayers will help you!” Worst. Priest. Ever.
And then the Salman fight introduction I already told you about. Post fight, he gets money, which I also remembered. And he slaps Dad and breaks his bottle, remembered that too. But I forgot Mamta! And I love Mamta!
She was, at the time, the bigger female star, more popular than Kajol. And she has the classic early 90s/late 80s star look. Big eyes, big personality, and lots and lots of curves, just the way Salman likes them. More recently, she was in the news for being detained as a drug smuggler in Kenya. Indian movie stars have such exciting lives!
Anyway, Mamta shows up, dressed all “boyish”, so in an over-sized men’s button shirt and her hair hidden under a hat. And it does look legitimately a little androgynous, unlike, for instance, Amrita Rao’s “tomboy” look in Main Hoon Na. She is the little girl from the little Salman fight scene, all grown up. And she is throwing out a potential groom, because he isn’t strong enough for her. I think it might be that one guy who was also in Dil who always dressed like Dev Anand for some reason and it was supposed to be funny? Anyway, Mamta’s awesome.
She sees young hot Salman strolling by and immediately starts coming on to him, asking him when he will marry her, she keeps refusing proposals for him! Salman is not interested, and asks what he even did to make her think he would want her! Apparently, he slapped her, and was the only man in her life who was ever able to stand up to her, so now she is in love. Hmm. So, maybe not the healthiest female role model in the world after all.
Anyway, then Salman goes home, sees Dad, slaps him, breaks bottles, cut to SRKajol AWESOMENESS.
And now we are back on track! So, remember that the awesome SRKajol intro scene ended with the stable owner running up with a gun. He had heard the ruckus and was hurrying to protect SRK because, as he helpfully exposits for us, Shahrukh’s parents have “expired” and the stable owner has become his surrogate father. Well good, no mothers around for either boy to limit their loyalty to their mother from a previous life! I always worry about that with these reincarnation stories, it seems so messy. Probably why we never really see Shahrukh’s 2nd life Mom in Om Shanti Om. Or his 1st life Dad.
(what happens to this woman?)
So, Shahrukh bit over, back to Salman! So, some guy watching the fight scene intro took a shirtless pic of him, and now he is showing it to some other guy. I am getting a definite rent-boy vibe here. The dialogue seems to indicate they want to hire him for his fighting abilities, but do you really need a shirtless glamour shot to decide that?
And then, cut over to the villains side of things! (side-note, how tight is the construction of this thing? Rakesh clearly had a diagram marking out the switch from Shahrukh to Salman’s plotlines every 15 minutes, with a brief check in on the other storylines after they each had their slot. I am impressed!). Amrish Puri is on the phone with Mr. Saxena! Who is apparently Kajol’s Dad! And also the guy who wanted to hire Salman! This world is so small! Anyway, Amrish Puri is driving along in his car and talking on his phone, apparently his son is engaged to Kajol. No!!! And also, he and Kajol’s Dad might be involved in some sort of shady business deal together. So much happening!
And now a brief flash of Shahrukh slotted in, because we won’t be seeing him again for a while. He is lying (laying?) in the stable, in the dark, tossing and turning with a nightmare and crying out “Bhaag Arjun Bhaag!” Johnny Lever is also there, for some reason. Not in the nightmare (although he is in my nightmares! Johnny Lever: Movie Ruiner. Just wait until we get to Baazigar), but in the stable sleeping with him and observing the outcries.
And now, back to Salman! His lame-o father has collapsed! Rush to hospital! Doctors deign to take notice of their dying patient, but this is an Indian hospital (well, an Indian film hospital, I have no data on how it is in real life), so of course they aren’t going to treat him until his family ponies up cash in advance, whether that means selling your mangalsutra or sending your small child out to beg in the rain or whatever other ridiculously sacrificial action is required.
In this case, Salman is going to throw his fight! Okay, I was thinking this before when we saw his intro fight scene, and now I am really thinking it: is this before or after Ghulam came out? One sec, let me check. Huh! Ghulam was later! But it did this plot so much better (and basically everything else also)! So I am still going to call it the Omega version, even if it wasn’t the Alpha.
(seriously, such a good movie!)
So yeah, Salman is all set to throw the fight, tells his friends to bet all their money against him, and goes in ready to lose. But! In the middle of the fight, he starts flashing back to his death and goes berserker on the guy! The guy, by the way, is super white. Blond crewcut, the whole deal. Actually, he looks kind of like Dolph Lundgren in Rocky 4. Wait, let me check dates again. Yep, Rocky 4 was earlier.
So, while he is losing to Dolph, the procurer types who were drooling over his picture earlier are all uncertain about whether they even want him now. But once he goes all crazy, they definitely want him! The fire! The passion! The sweaty chest muscles and mesmerizing eyes! Anyway, they come up to him post-fight and offer him a huge wad of cash, enough to pay off all his debts and pay his friends back for the bets they placed against him, and pay of India’s extortionist medical profession. He takes the cash, in a sort of smokey hidden back room of the fight space, while the two men look over his shirtless form, and I am definitely getting a sort of street hustler vibe now. In case you are wondering, that will never really go away for the rest of the film.
So, Salman runs, cash in hand, bright-eyed and hopeful, over to the hospital. Too late! Dad’s dead! But at least there were plenty of medical professionals standing around watching and twiddling their thumbs while he slowly expired (seriously, why even bring him to the hospital at this point?). Oh, but there is a cool cut! We see Salman enter the room, we see his father’s sheet wrapped body, we see Salman’s face reaction to it, and then we see flames licking at the bottom of the screen. It looks like he stood still, shocked by grief, as the world changed around him and he went from the hospital to the morgue to the crematory. It’s cool, is all I’m saying. Rakesh Roshan continues to impress.
So, now Salman’s got extra cash he has to return! Cut to, him arriving at a big fancy house, and asking the servant to let him in to see Mr. Saxena. He is brought in to wait in the living room, where the phone rings. It’s Shahrukh! Calling for Kajol! Because her Dad is the guy who gave Salman all the cash! Wait, did I know that already? I think I did, I don’t remember being surprised by it at this point, but I don’t know how I would have found out. Maybe I’m psychic.
The point is, the big surprise isn’t supposed to be that Salman is working for Kajol’s Dad, but rather that Salman and Shahrukh are communicating for the first time in this life. Shahrukh is super chipper and joking, wondering who Salman is and why he is answering. Salman is not. Shahrukh says, basically, “come on, dude, lighten up!” Salman says he is sad because his father just died. Shahrukh immediately gets serious and offers his sincere condolences. It’s actually a really nice conversation. And nicely framed too, While Salman stands there perfectly still and stolid and sad at a table in a fancy room where he doesn’t belong, Shahrukh is twirling the phone by his ear, carrying the cradle with him, standing and sitting and leaning on the porch at the riding stable. One of these guys has a place in the world and is happy and can see his way forward, the other is trapped in misery and belongs no where. And yet, they can connect!
Also, the chemistry is amazing! Like, I want to draw pictures of them with little hearts around it and “True Love!” written below. They are Meant to Be!!! If Shahrukh were with anyone besides Kajol, this would be the most romantic story-line of the film. Also, it still totally works as them being a young couple in love adopted by a queer positive older woman. Picture it: Shahrukh, the carefree stablehand, comfortable with his sexuality, struck dumb by Salman, the struggling street hustler who is tormented by his life: one brief phone call, an accidental meeting, a life time relationship! More than that, a multi-lifetime relationship!
So, yeah, Salman hangs up the phone and Kajol runs into the room. Kajol! I missed you! She is wearing the “Jaati Hoon Main” costume, which looks silly in the final song, but really looks silly as something she would just be wearing around the house. Anyway, she is running out to the stable and doesn’t have time to talk to Salman, although she is pretty friendly to him.
And then Kajol’s Dad, “Mr. Saxena”, comes down. He is delighted to see Salman again! And impressed when Salman returns all the money, minus 2,000 for the cremation. I am also impressed! It only takes 2000 Rupees to pay for a cremation in India?
Anyway, Saxena Sahib offers that, instead of paying him back the 2,000 when he can, Salman work it off. He also gives him a big play, telling him he “wants his fire! The fire he can see within him!” Okay, now it’s like they want me to see it in the Street Hustler sexual way and not the hiring an enforcer why! Oh, and he invites him to take a ride to the airport with him. Not a euphemism.
And then we are at the airport! I guess they couldn’t figure out how to get a camera inside the car, so we just skipped the whole car ride? So, yeah, airport! And guess who they are meeting! Amrish Puri’s evil son! Who is Salman’s cousin through reincarnation! Oh my goodness, the coincidences!
So, the cousin is super excited about marrying Kajol (as who wouldn’t be!), and also super rude to Salman when he meets him, asking him to put his bags in the car. When Salman refuses, Evil cousin tries to punch him! Salman grabs his fist, and has a pretty great line, “Put your right hand back in your pocket, or you will spend the rest of your life eating with your left.” And Mr. Saxena comes running up to explain to the cousin that Salman isn’t just a chumcha, he is a gunda (or, a secret lover!)? Anyway, don’t bug him about suitcases.
And, as cousin is saying that he can’t wait to see Kajol, she must be so eager to see him also, since they are engaged. Cut to, “Jaati Hoon Main”! Well, actually, cut to Kajol trying to make sexy faces in the hay when she really wants to make “oh my gosh, hay tickles!” faces.
This song is so wonderfully stupid! They try to be sexy for about 30 seconds in the hay, including Shahrukh “sexily” drawing on her back with a straw. How is that sexy and not itchy? In fact, the way her back kind of arches makes it look like maybe it is a little more scratchy than sexy. Oh, and then my favorite part! Shahrukh lies (lays?) down in the straw and lifts up one foot, and Kajol stands up and leans her pelvis on it and raises her arms in the air. It is the most awkward thing in the world! And their faces kind of say that they know that. And then they joyously run out of the barn, stopping for a minute so Kajol can spin so fast her skirt flies up and reveals that she is wearing knee length bike shorts underneath for modesty.
Once free of the barn, the sexy goes out the window, and it becomes simply and gloriously silly. Up to and including the moment when Shahrukh falls off the giant Lips poster and makes a Wiley E. Coyote-esque hole in the ground when he lands. It ends with both of them hiding their heads under Kajol’s scarf as they slowly walk away, with necking implied.
Post necking, Kajol returns to the Saxena mansion, to blow off her fiance in an awesome Kajol like manner. He wants to talk, they have so much to say, after all this time! Kajol responds, “Yes, but if you are talking, you can’t hear me, and if I am talking, I can’t hear you, so what is the point? Let’s not even talk! Bye!!!” Mr. Saxana watches in the background, then chuckles in a fatherly manner and sympathizes. Yes, it is amusing when your daughter blows off her fiance because she can’t bare to spend even ten minutes in his company! Ha ha.
And then, Shotgun! No really, that’s the next shot. Shotgun! (I’ll explain more tomorrow).