One of the best things about finishing this semester is returing to Bitten By Bollywood! It's been a long three months...Resisting the urge to type up 10 paragraphs on how much I loved Main Hoon Na instead of cracking open my nursing textbook was sheer agony!
But....Main Hoon Na!!!
I saw this one twice in the past couple of months. It literally saved my semester, because with all the homework I had, there were a few times where I just had to get away. And what a fun place to escape to--Main Hoon Na was everything snappy and sweet and Shahrukhy that I love about B-wood. Farah Khan really gives you your money's worth--you get action (Shahrukh in his Mission Impossible gear in the first sequence was hot), a creepy villain(Suniel Shetty, you scare me), some good family stuff (nothing boring), catchy songs (I can't even pick a favorite), comedy (Farah, you have a great sense of humor), and Sushmita Sen's gorgeous saris (Which we'll take a peek at later!).
The plot outline really doesn't do the movie justice, so I'll just skim it over before we get into the good stuff. Major Ram Prasad Sharma (Shahrukh Khan) goes undercover at a university to protect the General's daughter(Amrita Rao) from the wrath of the enemy, a terrorist named Raghavan (Suniel Shetty). At this university Major Ram also finds his long lost brother (Zayed Khan) and meets a beautiful teacher whom he falls for instantly (Sushmita Sen).
What is it about high school and college stories that I so adore? Why is it always so appealing to watch a movie or a soap opera that centers around teenagers and young adults? There's just something about them that takes me back to that period of my life, from my first crush to being the new kid, from the stress of the school lunch room to the need for peer acceptance. Main Hoon Na, while set in a university, still has that high school vibe. There's a zany principal and wacky teachers, and you meet just the right amount of students to make you feel at home when the school dance scene rolls around. Amrita Rao's character, Sanjana, even gets a makeover that transforms her from the girl next door to a polished beauty (Although I thought she looked great before the transformation, I still love makeover sequences. Even though, as Beth once said, I feel a twinge of guilt for it-I hate to think beauty has to conform to a certain image, but gosh, its still fun to watch! )
There are a lot of relationships in the film, and they all worked for me. Shahrukh and Naseeruddin Shah were surprisingly believable as father and son. Amrita Rao's crush on Zayed Khan was cute and sort of reminiscent of Anjali and Rahul of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Shahrukh and Sushmita's romance, while a very minor part of the film, added just the right amount of color to the story (Literally--check out the vibrant "Tumhe Jo Maine Dekha"). But the most memorable relationship in Main Hoon Na was the touching reunion of brothers Major Ram and Lucky (Zayed Khan's character). These two worked really well together here, and Farah Khan took great care in developing little details to accent their bond, such as their signature gesture of running their hand around their head (reprised in Zayed's Om Shanti Om cameo). Kirron Kher as Lucky's mother adds even more emotion and depth in some of the pivotal scenes towards the end, making this angle of the story the heart of Main Hoon Na.
As I mentioned above, Suniel Shetty is one scary villain. If I ever make a Bollywood film of my own, I'd cast him as the bad guy in a heartbeat. He had the same effect on me as Umrao Jaan's sleazeball regular customer...the man just looks shady. Yet its the funniest thing...when I see him in press photos or cameos, I'm surprisingly attracted to him. There's something about the way he carries himself, or the way he dresses that makes me forget all about the creeps he plays. Which, I suppose, is a complement to his performances.
And where has Zayed Khan been all my life? I really enjoyed him as Lucky--he's like John Abraham with personality. It could have been the storyline, though. The idea of two long lost brothers reuniting has sentimental value to me, as I had a similar experience when meeting my own little sister. She's spunky and hip and I'm the not-so-cool big sister, but we click despite the age difference. As a matter of fact, she's totally the Lucky and I'm totally the Major Ram--I'm always grabbing her off of rooftops!
Amirta Rao showed some more life than in her refined performance as the perfect Ponam in Vivah. Her relationship with Lucky, while again not the the focal point of the film, made for a refreshing couple to root for.
I'd heard so much about Sushmita Sen but had never seen her in a movie. Now I can see why her name remains in the media and blogs, despite her lack of recent film releases. She's just so beautiful, classy, and even perfect for comedy (as she proved in some of her scenes with Shahrukh).Her role in Main Hoon Na was relatively small, but she made a good first impression on me--it looked like she really had fun with it.
Naseeruddin Shah and Kirron Kher couldn't have been better cast--although again, they didn't have huge roles. They just added the right touches to an already fantastic product.
As for Shahrukh, this has got to be one of my favorite characters I've seen him as. He wasn't too over the top, he wasn't too aggressive, and he looked mighty fine. And his hair was just the way I like it--Not to big, not too long, not a mullet, and no mustache. The only thing I could find fault in was his bell bottoms and vest...a little too dorky for me (Especially after seeing him all cool in his action sequences). Yet it did make his character more endearing, I suppose.
I know I said I couldn't pick a favorite song, but...can they all be my favorites? Seriously, Farah Khan's earned my trust in the song selection department, because just as in Om Shanti Om, I enjoyed every single one. Even "Tumse Milke Dil Ka", the song that has Shahrukh lip-syncing the lamest phrase ever--"Like that--Check that--Wicked!" But if I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would probably be "Tumhe Jo Maine Dekha", a song I appreciated more when I listened to it on my Ipod...its picturization was so vibrant that I didn't notice the music had just as much color.
Which brings me to Sushmita's saris. Now, I've never worn a sari before, but after seeing some of Miss Chandni's, I really want one. They were so pretty...and different. Let's close this post with a tribute to them!
Did you notice her bookcover matches the sari? Yep, most of them have matching book covers.Really.
And my absolute favorite...
Text © Nida Nazir 2008