Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Should So Have Been Born In Switzerland - Mujhse Dosti Karoge (Hindi, 2002)

In the recent times I am experiencing a feeling of nostalgia towards things like this:

Which is really weird since, when this kind of movies were made, a) I wasn´t old enough to be interested and b) I didn´t even know that such a thing as Bollywood the Hindi Film Industry exists. My interest in Indian movies started only a couple of years ago which makes my nostalgic feelings towards movies like KKHH, Yes Boss and even HAHK rather strange. Also, the main part of the Indian films I have seen, consists of movies made post the year 2000. But after watching movies like Ra.One, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, The Dirty Picture and Rockstar I have the feeling that something is amiss. In no way am I saying that these movies were not good (well, Ra.One maybe was). Rockstar is still in my head, having twisted around my heart never to let go again and becoming one of my favourites this year (or last year actually, but it´s somehow still 2011 in my head) but that´s not the Bollywood I was used too. I am really curious as where this development is going to (just hoping that they will never let go of the songs because then you have lost me), observing it with a laughing and a crying eye, sometimes a little angry even but nevertheless excited and happy to the heavens when they do things right. (Like Rockstar, I cannot stress that enough.) But sometimes I miss a little the melodrama, singing songs in Switzerland kind of "Bollywood" I learned to know and love.

Therefore I watched something that is the epitome of comfort food in Hindi Cinema: Mujhse Dosti Karoge which has been made only to make me a little yellow ball of sugar and honey while crying my heart out at the end. So much drama! So much tears! The movie is packed with songs! There is even emotional angst and tormented lovers kept apart by selfless sacrifice. E.g. AWESOME.

Even Bebo is pleased.
MDK starts 10 years ago with a flashback at (where else?) a train station where we meet the three protagonists: Raj, Tina and Pooja. Raj is despite his young age very much in love with Tina whereas she couldn´t care less while stupid Raj doesn´t realise that there is someone who would give her everything for just one touch of his double-thumbed right hand: Pooja. Kudos to the director for establishing most of the story after only a few minutes. (And points to the casting department for finally managing to make the child actors at least a little resembling the adult actors.)

Alas, Raj is about to depart for England with his parents because apparently Raj´s father just discovered the internet and wants to become a billionaire by selling... porn stuff.  Oh the times where internet was THE NEXT BIG THING and not something some politicians try to shut down because of privacy issues... Where have you gone by?

10 years later and we meet Raj again who has now become Hrithik Roshan and grown an extra thumb. (I just find it hilarious that NOBODY EVER mentions it in Hrithik´s movies.) Hrithik of course is introduced to us by a song because really: How appropriate is it to introduce Hrithik Roshan through a song? Dancing? Because we all know Hrithik Roshan is like the "Bunny" of Bollywood (or is the other way round? Bunny is like Hrithik? Or both: Brithik? Or Hunny maybe? Namely: Mr. Dancing-Superstar-McAwesome. And dreamy. Who could forget the dreaminess?

Oh and those eyes... McDreamy in person. Seriously, I would love to see Hrithik as Derek in an Indian version of Grey´s Anatomy.
Raj wants to meet Tina again and is totally excited, singing songs about it in London and knocking phone booths down and generally being in the ususal Oh-I-Don´t-Know-You-At-All-Actually-But-I-Just-Know-That-You´re-The-One-mode of filmi heroes at the beginning of a movie. You see, Raj believes that he and Tina were emailing eachother the whole ten years whereas in truth he was emailing POOJA who in turn has been writing him under the false identity of TINA! OH NO!

Back in India Pooja is slightly distraught about the possible showdown at the train station when Raj finds out about her lying to him but he tells her not to worry because his heart will recognise her. Of course, dude, whatever you say. When they meet again, Raj, as a guy, doesn´t recognise Pooja at all and goes straight to Tina because she is SO PRETTY, she HAS to be the one having written him those emails the whole time. (And whoever thought that Bebo is prettier than Rani should go straight back to the corner because they didn´t even try to make her uglier!) Pooja is heartbroken but goes along with it because she´s an angel and doesn´t want to ruin Tina´s flirty times with Raj.

"And Tina´s looks make it PERFECT!" *Ugh. Steps inside the movie to slap Raj in the face*

After some heart-wrenching scenes involving Raj wooing Tina, being insensitive to Pooja and a hilarious song where Bebo wears ponytails and a jeans overall, Raj returns to London, after getting engaged to Tina. Still blissfully unaware about the whole Tina-Is-Pooja-Is-Tina-Is-Pooja-thing, he meets... Pooja, who´s in London for applying to some colleges. They spend some cutesy times together, Raj makes this face:

And after going to the church Raj finds out that... you can never trust the internet because it lies. In other words, he finds out the truth. Now, WHAT TO DO? Raj and Pooja have some minor relationship crisis for a few seconds but then Raj sings a song and they make love in Switzerland so now of course there is NO OTHER OPTION then just go straight back to India and spill the beans to their respective families. Everything could be love, peace and harmony but back in India "Rooja" finds out that something terrible happened! You want to know what? Are you rooting for "Rooja" and want to see if there´s a Happy End? Well, then go, watch the movie ASAP because it´s really worth it.

But beware because you will see this face more often now.
Back in 2002 when the movie was released it flopped horribly due to overhyping the promotions but that really shouldn´t hold you back of watching it. All of the three protagonists deliver a great job and have plenty of scenes where they are actually together. Hrithik is perfect at playing tormented characters, he really should do that more often. Although Raj is being sometimes a jerk, Hrithik makes you understand Raj´s actions because he shows the vulnerability and the insecurity his charcter is going through. Rani is perfect, I´m sorry I´m not a good judge to her acting, because honestly I´ve yet have to find a flaw in it and Bebo is just Bebo, that is ADORABLE AND AWESOME.

How can you not love her?
The songs tend to rather grow on you than liking it on first hearing but they fit perfectly into the movie with its "Aaaah.. aaahh-Choires" (you know exactly what I mean) and the singing voices of Udit Narayan and The Good Old Lata Mangeshkar. (The only exception of course being THE Medley which makes my cry so much EVERY F**ING TIME.

And once Hrithik starts singing "Kaho Naa... Pyaar hai" I can´t hold back a very gleeful grin.
Like I said in my KKHH review this is a movie that doesn´t win you over with the cinematography or the costumes or the Oh-So-Totally-Original-story but with its heart. It is sugarcoated, ful on melodrama but genuine and sweet. It´s about love and what you go through when you´re in love. Exaggerated, of course, and clichéd but nevertheless entertaining. And that´s what I want from a movie: it should be emotionally satisfying, make me cry and laugh, make me to be engrossed in the characters and to escape my everyday life for a few hours. I couldn´care less about realistic. And I think that the kind of movies like MDK and Yes Boss managed that in the best way possible which not so many of this so called "new age" Bollywood movies do. At least not or me. And that is the reason why I tend to get nostalgic from time to time, I think. (Which doesn´t mean that there aren´t exceptions. Yesterday, thanks to Filmi Girl, I watched Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge (Title coincidence? I don´t think so) which was "modern" Bollywood in every way but still had the same genuine Squishy Dil and emotionally satisfying impact that MDK has.

So the movie which I actually didn´t like much when watching it for the first time (WAY early in my Bollywood History) has now become a favourite. And what´s not to like? There are nice songs, nice acting, Bebo and Hrithik being dorks (that would NEVER happen today!) and Rani. And it´s so heartwarmingly, unapologetically sweet that after watching it you will feel the unexplicable urge to hug the whole world.

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