Yikes. Could Shahrukh Khan be losing his effect on me?
Before we jump to conclusions here, let me just present a couple of possible reasons as to why King Khan failed to capture my heart in Dil To Pagal Hai the same way he did in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Veer Zaara, and Kal Ho Naa Ho.
First of all, I have a hard time digesting Shahrukh Khan's Bollywood version of the mullet.
It bothered me in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and it bothers me here. I guess it just makes him look too much like a punk kid for me to swoon over.
Secondly, and this is the scarier part, it might be that SRK's moves (not movies, moves) are getting a little played out for me. I've seen a chunk of his films and fallen in love with his charisma, but as I've tried to branch out and watch other things while creating this blog (such as the Raj Kapoor classics, the Deepa Mehta movies, the epic world of Ashutosh Gowarikar), I've realized that Bollywood has much more to offer than the popular SRK-brand film. And after you watch a few SRK movies you start to realize he has some of the same trademark neck carresses and such. Don't get me wrong, I still love Shahrukh, whether he's lip syncing on hilltops or starring in a Johar flick, but I just think the "wow" factor may have came down a few notches for me.
Thirdly, and I think this was a biggie, I found the romance itself didn't resonate with me the way it should have. Yes, it was very nice and sweet and the idea of having a soulmate out there who you are just "meant to be with" is always endearing in my book...but...I kept expecting more of the story between the two leads. I had a hard time figuring out just why I was supposed to want Shahrukh's Rahul to end up with Madhuri's Pooja...other than the sheer fact that it was THE Shahrukh Khan and THE Madhuri Dixit. As a matter of fact, I couldn't even find one good reason why I wouldn't want Rahul with spunky Nisha(Karisma Kapoor) or Pooja with the adorable Ajay (Akshay Kumar) instead.
But why, oh, why am I nitpicking this film? It really was worth watching, and I hope my above comments didn't deter you completely if you haven't seen it. Dil To Pagal Hai had much more to offer than Shahrukh Khan's dreaminess (or lack thereof), and therefore still held water for me as a very lovely romantic comedy.
For one, there were no comedic sideshows from Rajpal Yadav or Johnny Lever (thank you, Yash Chopra). The story flowed as gracefully as Madhuri danced. And there was never a moment in the film where I felt ashamed for watching due to extreme cheesiness (and I say that with a lot of love, Bollywood).
This is my third Madhuri movie, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why she has made such a name for herself in this industry. The woman is the entire package--beautiful, graceful, poised, and an unparalleled dancer. What was truly amazing was that even with all this perfection, Madhuri's Pooja never made me sick to my stomach as most goody-two-shoes characters do (see most of Jennifer Lopez's romantic comedy roles). With Madhuri, it came across as sincerely genuine.
Karisma Kapoor never really struck me in her photographs, but I now realize she is a natural beauty and has a dynamic screen presence. Akshay Kumar scored more points with me here than in Welcome and Heyy Baby combined. And its always refreshing to see Farida Jalal in a motherly role, no matter whose mother she is playing (She was technically Pooja's aunt, but you know what I mean).
There were two other huge elements in Dil To Pagal Hai--the music and the dancing. Both were equally fantastic.
I love dance films like Hollywood's Save the Last Dance, Dirty Dancing and Dance With Me. So I was really looking forward to seeing one from Bollywood. Dil To Pagal Hai did not disappoint, although some of the dance moves (particularly from Karisma Kapoor) felt a little dated. But this was the 90s, and it was more of a contemporary film in its time, so I guess it was fitting. And there were lots of timeless dance scenes from Madhuri to make up for it. Add to that a "dance-off" between Mads and Karisma...Need I say more?
Speaking of timeless, the music of the film was just as great as the dancing that went with it. I actually think I loved every one of the songs in this movie.
Which brings me back to my original question. If I loved so many things about this film, could the only problem with it be...me losing my affinity for Shahrukh Khan?
Well, maybe a little. Most great things in life are bound to lose some sparkle over time, I suppose. But all I have to do is pop in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and I'm sure he'll be able to pull me closer again. And...
Text © Nida Nazir Bitten BY Bollywood
Yeh nazdeekiyan (1982)
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