Thursday, July 31, 2008

Big old bunch of girly

Two nights of high quality, emotionally wrought Shah Rukh Khan weepiness. And the madness continues...

Tuesday it was Mohabbatein (2000). A young teacher inspires his students to live and, especially, to love, in rebellion against their school's harsh headmaster. There are various obvious problems with the plot, but it has one of the best pre-intermission confrontations ever. Shah Rukh gets all in Amitabh's face, even pointing his finger at him, and giving an intense, dramatic speech of the "I swear, I will bring you DOWN" variety. Except what he's saying is that he's going to fill the school with so much love and sunshine that the old guy won't be able to stand it. It's like: I curse you with happiness! Take that!

Really, it's not the singing and dancing. It's the themes that seem so different from most American movies; and I like these themes. This struck me again at the end of Mohabbatein. Now, we've just watched three and a half hours of music and assorted romances. Then it turns out that the major concern of the movie, the absolute crux of the drama, is the reconciliation between the guy with the tragic lost love in his past and her father, the person who tore them apart. And the climax is when the two men embrace in forgiveness and respect.

I was getting all misty-eyed and thinking, WTF? I mean, there are American movies about literal father/son relationships, and how they grow from estrangement to understanding. But "find the person who wronged you most, and make their world a better place" would be a crazy premise for a major motion picture in these parts. (Unless there were something explicitly "inspirational," in the sense of religious or Hallmark Hall of Fame, about it, and that's a whole different genre).

Then it was Veer-Zaara (2004) on Wednesday. I actually had to stop watching a little bit after the intermission, because I was already getting so weepified that I needed a break. There was the scene when they poured Bebe's ashes into the river; when Preity inspired Amitabh to build a girls' school; when Rani stood up to the prison guard and pointed out that Shah Rukh's ID was Allah's most holy number, so he should be treated with respect...

If I was getting all choke-throated about that stuff, you can imagine how the lovers parting at the station ("There's a man across the border who would give his life for you") affected me. When my honey got home, I threw myself at him and announced how grateful I am that there are no larger forces in the world wrenching us apart.

Now I'm at the point where Preity is preparing to dutifully marry the other man, but she's haunted by the thought of Shah Rukh. I don't know how much more I can take. There'd better be a happy ending, or I'm going to be a wreck.

Fortunately, our set of Spaced DVDs came in the mail the other day, so I can divide up the drama with some nerd humor and hopefully get me back to normal.


Anonymous said...
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yves said...

Hi Karen,
I have just done a chatty bit on old movies I hadn't reviewed, and like you was stunned to realize how much Veer-Zaara had meant at the time! Well, I hope if you do the same, you are able to cherish the pleasantness of it all, and not be too affected by the world's cruelty :-)

Anarchivist said...

I really do love Veer-Zaara! I've never done a real review of it either. "I cried and cried" pretty much sums up my reaction, but that doesn't explain what's good about it. Thanks for the food for thought!