Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wave your flags in the air like you just don't care!: Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

(The entire plot of this movie is discussed here, so if you don't want to know how it ends, stop reading now.)

I haven't seen a light-hearted SRK in some time. I have loaned out so many of my movies that even in honor of his fortieth birthday this past week I wasn't able to watch any of my favorites of his, namely Main Hoon Na and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

But no matter, because now I have Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. This movie has everything:

  • one of the best opening credit sequences ever in the history of film, including an easy-to-learn dance move, lots of pretty colored outfits and bangles, and SRK making jokes about his own roles (at least I think that's what the series of ensembles was)
  • a delightfully bad stunt scene in which SRK jumps off a building onto one of those inflated mattress-y-looking things
  • an Elvis impression - technically not very good, but full marks for effort
  • hand-written signs being held up by enthusiastic crowds - not quite the banners at a college cultural event, but still really fun - and if SRK held up a little sign that had a drawing of a phone and a question mark on it

    I would be powerless not to give out my number, that's for sure
  • girl vs. boy shenanigans
  • at least two TMI shirts on SRK
  • Johny Lever in an outrageous, even by Bollywood standards, plaid jacket
  • an incredibly cute scene in which Ajay, after breaking Ria's umbrella, holds his hand over her head to shield her from the rain
  • jabs at the media and advertising-driven "information," including corporate-sponsored executions
  • flag-waving
  • truth and justice
  • stickin' it to the man!

    A few small but nagging problems:
    1. The man everyone sought to save, by his own admission, was a cold-blooded assassin. Did anyone else find this a little problematic? He did a bad, bad thing. A bad, bad thing was done to his family, but that does not give him the right to kill someone else. I know they did it in Sholay but that doesn't make it right.
    2. When Ria and Ajay are trying desperately to broadcast their tape, they forgot the web. I know typing isn't as dramatic as breaking into a tv studio, but it would have had some effect.
    3. I would need to re-watch to be sure of the chronology, but now that I think about it I am wondering if Ria stopped being a go-getter once she realized she was in love with Ajay. She is always a step behind Ajay in each phase of the big march at the end, she doesn't wave a flag, and she stands with the other protesters as Ajay stops the execution. She doesn't even get to talk to the crowds from the platform. However, she is obviously much valued by Mohan and Laxsmi, and she does do some proposin', in a delightful switcheroo (of course, the final word is had by Ajay, so it fell a bit flat).
    4. There is a fourth thing that is very troubling, but I'm not going to say what. If you have seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you're in for a real surprise. And aside to costume designer in this scene: Uma Thurman called - she's missing her wig. And aside to director of the 1967 movie of Thoroughly Modern Millie: I found a couple of your extras. You want them back, or are we done with this type of thing?

    Aside to Juhi: this is my first of your movies (other than as producer - stellar job on Asoka, by the way!) and you more than lived up to expectations. You should know that this is a real compliment, far beyond its mere words, as you have been given quite the build-up. You clearly have a certain je ne sais quoi that moves men's souls. We're not talking mere Kareenessence. Also, I have it on good authority that you ought to wear glasses more often, so you may wish to keep that in mind for future roles.

  • 4 comments:

    Temple said...

    and SRK in a pink lycra leotard. Never to be forgotten :)

    Beth said...

    Haha - true that!

    Ellie said...

    We just watched this one-- I loved a lot of things about it, but the nameless Troubling Scene made it really hard for me, finally, to unreservedly like this movie. I was pretty ashamed of SRK and Juhi for that, to be honest. And I really wanted to love this movie! We ended up fast-forwarding through that scene, halfway through. I feel like SRK vaguely redeemed himself with a parallel scene, I'm sure you know the one, in Chak De. And it's hard to stay mad at either of them, really. :)

    Beth said...

    Good call! Thank goodness for later films of redemption (and getting to watch them in whatever order we please)!