You know why I haven’t reviewed this film before? Because it’s BORING! Boring boring boring! It has this great all star cast, and this great question of matrimony center theme, and yet, DULL! Hopefully I can make reading about it more entertaining than watching it.
Shahrukh! Salman! Madhuri! And in a surprise cameo, Aishwarya! After K3G, this is the next biggest cast of the 2000s. And yet, boring! Shahrukh and Madhuri, we knew that would be dull, because they are always kind of dull together as an easy romantic pair. But Shahrukh and Salman, that is chemistry that is on FIRE. And Salman and Aish, ditto! And Salman and Madhuri! I guess what I am saying is, Salman has chemistry with everyone. Throw him in the mix and our little experiment starts fizzing up like crazy.
And the plot, the plot is great! A consideration of post-marriage love and the complications there of, just as deep as Chalte Chalte. And yet, boring. This movie took forever to make, the producer kept running out of money and it was filmed off and on for years, maybe somehow the energy just drained out of it through that time? Or maybe there was never any energy to begin with and that’s why he couldn’t get the money? Anyway, it’s a failure. This isn’t one of those hidden gems that tragically failed at the box office, this is a failure that failured. Oh well.
This is a remake of a hit southern film that I haven’t seen, so I can’t really compare it to that. But I can compare it to other southern films I have seen, ones that are a little slower and a little more family oriented, meaning the plot revolves around the family, and also aren’t afraid to throw in some drama at the very last minute. It doesn’t feel wrong to me in southern films, something about the old village houses, and background of large combined rural families, and all of that makes it feel like family drama simply fits in. This version, in a sleep modern urban house with a bunch of sleek modern urban people, just is off. I can’t take the narrative seriously at all.
But on the other hand, I can take each individual performance seriously. That’s what’s so FRUSTRATING about this movie! Shahrukh does a great job, Madhuri does a great job, Salman does a great job. But they are trapped in something that just doesn’t work, any small moment of excitement they can generate is immediately drowned in the next odd plot twist.
So, yes, watch this movie if you want to see some stunning Shahrukh performance moments you may have missed. Do not watch this movie in order to enjoy a movie. If you want that, go see Duplicate.
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Plot! Shahrukh is a nice orphan/head of a family. He has a loving uncle, and a spoiled little sister. He keeps rejecting proposals because he has been in love since he was a child with a family friend, Madhuri. There is a bit if a mix-up when Madhuri is brought to him as an arranged bride and at first she thinks she is being rejected because he wants to marry for love, but then he manages to convey he wants to marry her. Madhuri has a condition, she wants to bring her adored younger brother to his house with her. Shahrukh is okay with that. At the wedding, Madhuri’s lifelong best friend, handsome singer Salman, appears. Shahrukh is less okay with this but hides it. Madhuri and Shahrukh go on a wonderful honeymoon and are devotedly in love. But they can never be alone. Madhuri still doesn’t know that Shahrukh married her for love, and Shahrukh doesn’t know that Madhuri has learned to love him. Madhuri spends all her time caring for her brother and Shahrukh’s uncle and Shahrukh’s sister and Salman and isn’t there when Shahrukh wants her. The first break comes when there is a misunderstanding and Shahrukh thinks Madhuri’s brother is spying on his sister and throws him out. Madhuri is almost heartbroken, but accepts it. Shahrukh can see her unhappiness and becomes increasingly jealous of Salman who he begins to obsess about. He confronts Salman about their “affair” and doesn’t believe his denials. He confronts Madhuri. Madhuri considers suicide because she is thought unfaithful, and then Shahrukh meets Salman’s saintly blind girlfriend Aishwarya and learns how wrong he was. He saves Madhuri and they are reunited.
Forget the drama around it, what I love is the central idea of a couple who have an arranged marriage and somehow can’t find a way to tell each other they love each other. Madhuri is trying to be a good daughter-in-law of the household, take care of everyone around her. But this is making her be a bad wife, leaving her husband to feel unwanted. Madhuri is too shy to speak up and admit she loves Shahrukh since it was an arranged and it isn’t proper for wife to express those feelings. Shahrukh is too insecure (thanks to having been in love with Madhuri all those years and then suddenly marrying her) to ask for what he needs directly. The misunderstandings pile on top of each other, and suddenly Shahrukh is sure Madhuri is having an affair and she is sure that he doesn’t want her and she might as well die. Okay, there’s the drama again!
I wish there was an undramatic version of this movie. Just the idea of the struggle between a new couple loving each other, and a new couple trying to balance their greater family responsibilities. What I find really interesting is the bits that are related to the struggle for Madhuri in particular. She loves her new husband, she wants to be romantical and have fun with him. But she is supposed to care for everyone else in her life, from her brother to her friend, and her husband resents her for the very thing that another husband would value in her. He wants all her attention, all her love, but that is not how a woman is raised to behave, she is raised to look at the big picture, to take care of everything and everyone.
Or maybe I wish for a Total Drama version? Give me a real love triangle, where we start to finish with Salman as hot best friend versus Shahrukh as paranoid husband, that would be sexy and intriguing and magnetic. We get just a touch of that at the end, and it is super hot, and then it is immediately turned back into sweet family friendly stuff with saintly blind Aishwarya giving a saintly lesson.
Oh well, it still has some fun flirty bits, and it has Shahrukh really enjoying the drama at the end, and most importantly, it gave more Salman-Shahrukh moments for fanvid makers: