Naina, an introverted, perpetually depressed girl's life changes when she meets Aman. But Aman has a secret of his own which changes their lives forever. Embroiled in all this is Rohit, Naina's best friend who conceals his love for her.
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The film's female lead, Naina (Preity Zinta) narrates the story. Her father had committed suicide years ago which left a deep impact on her heart. Her family is dysfunctional since her mother and grandmother just cannot stop arguing. But when Aman (Shahrukh Khan) arrives next door, the whole gloomy conditions change. Aman infuses life in skeptical and overtly serious Naina, and she falls in love with him. But Aman knows that he cannot marry Naina because of a secret which he cannot divulge to her. So he intends upon setting her up with her best pal Rohit (Saif Ali Khan).Written by
Well, it is always a bit difficult in Western countries to get to see Bollywood movies with English subtitles, and though I have made a bit of an effort to spot them in the last few years I wouldn't call myself a Bollywood expert - and of course I've grown up with Western rather than Indian aesthetic standards ingrained. Although as a fan of Baroque Opera, I don't really have much difficulty with the basic premises of the Bollywood style!
Having said that, this was possibly the most interesting Bollywood movie I've seen to date - especially in its attempt to incorporate elements of Western pop culture, including several blatant references to American movies, from Grease and a spoofed James Bond to Brad Silberling's City of Angels, which evidently contributed a lot to the way Shahruk Khan's character is handled (including him starting to see things in black and white when he is near dying - that one goes back all the way to Wim Wenders!).
The soundtrack is stunning, and again it's great to see the way the New York setting gives opportunity to mix in some Western elements in an intelligent way. The dance and song numbers are a true joy, and it doesn't hurt that they are better integrated into the plot than in most Indian movies I've seen.
Shahruk Khan is nicely parodying himself - at least, I thought he was... maybe I'm wrong??? :-o - I also particularly enjoyed the running joke about Aman and Rohit being a homosexual couple - one could indeed ask oneself who is really in love with who here? And why exactly does Aman prefer to love vicariously rather than going for the girl himself? It's also perhaps significant that it is Rohit rather than Naina who stays with Aman to the last. I am sure the filmmakers are intelligent enough to be aware of these undercurrents, even if perhaps most audiences aren't!
In any case, watching this movie (with a very sympathetic audience at a foreign film showcase here in Wellington, people who actually laughed in most of the *right* places!) was a pure joy and it makes me happy to see how Indian cinema is finally beginning to be perceived as a legitimate part of international film culture even by Western audiences, rather than just an exotic oddity - something that Chinese and Japanese movies, for instance, have already achieved to a much greater degree!
And now I'm off to buy the soundtrack...
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