What the...? Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!

I am about 35 minutes into this movie and had to pause for a mo to write. This movie is simply absurd and, at this point, not in that gooofy, gaudy, gleeful way I have been craving. It's just weird. I am in such shock that I had to pause the movie and look it up. If I hadn't just beeen reading informed opinions and a list of facts about this movie, I would never have believed the following:
  • Salman Khan is a big-time hunka-hunka/bad boy - here he just bugs his eyes out and mugs ferociously, looking like my little seven-year-old friend when he's had too much ice cream. His outfit in the opening scene included a visor with the word "BOY" emblazoned across it. Enh?
  • the movie won best film, best director, and best screenplay at the 1994 Filmfare Awards.
  • that it is much praised for its depiction of traditional values, importance of family, etc. Although I have learned these things are important, I would not have figured they were excepetionally well-depicted here.
  • it was a "super-duper" hit and has influenced countless films that followed.
  • it was made in 1994, not 1964 or 1974 - the colors are off, there is that fuzzy, orange-tinted 70s glow in some parts, there are thin black lines running up and down the screen all the time, the sets look incredibly fake-o, and there are sound effects that sound like they belong with a disco or outer space plot - making it feel dated well beyond its actual age. (Much of this is probably the fault of whoever transferred it to DVD.) It looks like a really long Mentos ad.

    Additional strange thing: there is a credit line for "thrilling moments." Isn't that a lot to claim before a single scene has rolled across the screen?

    But the more I think about it, the more glad I am to be watching it, because it makes me realize how little I understand about Indian popular cinema, how I should always watch open-mindedly.

    I must also remember:
  • to give snaps to the industry's stars' lip-syncing ability. For the amount they do and for my own singing snottiness, I can't believe I haven't noticed any problems.
  • we all looked like idiots in 1994.
  • that I thought Salman Khan in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was understandably swoon-able when compared to the other male lead (Shahrukh Khan, whom I did not duly appreciate at the time). He has definitely aged very well. And it seems to me he can dance, even in an era that did not have Hrithik's hips in its arsenal.
  • Comments

    Anonymous said…
    Hi Beth, I am today perusing your archives to see what you have said about some of my favorite films.

    I think this post was fairly early in your Bolly-watching, is that right? I'd love to know if/how your view of HAHK changed after finishing the film, and since.

    I also watched HAHK for the first time very early in my Bolly-watching - and it was a giant "WTF?" for me at first too. But I loved "Joote de do," and even though I got a little bored waiting for the plot to happen, I came out thinking the film was reasonably cute. I eventually watched it again a couple of months later and I absolutely, completely loved it and never looked back. I don't know what changed - if it was just that I got used to surrendering to the Bollywood aesthetic, or something else - I can't quite explain it, but it is today one of my all-time favorites, all 14 songs of it, everything.
    Carla - it was indeed veeeery early in my Bolly-watching. I know I need to see it again, but my first experience was so ambiguous I'm almost afraid to try again, although I know it will have to make more sense with my better context. I promise to try again, and I promise to write up the experience.
    Nabeel said…
    very interesting thoughts, because this is one of my all time favorites.

    and the thing is, as so many other comments on so many other reviews have pointed out, that a lot of things are lost in translation. and then there is the whole culture bit. you really have to be grown up in the culture to truly understand what made this one of the biggest hits of all time in Bollywood.
    shikhar said…
    i would like to tell you that this muv can't just be called 'a huge hit'...this,considering inflation, tkt prices et al, is actually the biggest hit of all times... bigger than sholay or mughal-e-azam. but it is a little too 90s for our taste... loved it as a kid and in my growing up years. actually it released in a decade when only the genre of action was being done.abd this brought the family audience back in theatres. i guess every indian must have seen this atleast once. the director barjatya knows indian sensibilities very well.even adi chopra was hugely inspired by this for his DDLJ too and as for me.. anything with MADHURI works.. my all time fav along with kajol...

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