Sassy Gay Friend has a word with Rita from Jab Jab Phool Khile

(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, see the real Sassy Gay Friend on the Second City Network!)

Meet Rita from 1965's golden jubilee* blockbuster Jab Jab Phool Khile.
She is about to run off with a man who shares none of her values and with whom she has neither mutual culture nor life experiences in common. However, he looks like Shashi Kapoor, which must be admitted as a mitigating and/or complicating factor.
This fate could have been avoided if she'd had a Sassy Gay Friend.

Bombay Central Station. Rita is wearing a red evening gown and diamonds and running wildly down the platform towards a train bound for Kashmir. Her face is a wreck from crying. Sassy Gay Friend, sitting on a bench and hiding behind a Life Magazine, hears her cries and looks up.

RITA (looking frantic) 
Raaaaaajaaaaaaa! Raaaaaajaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! 

Puts sunglasses on top of head, springs up off the bench, and strides deliberately towards Rita with his hand extended in "Stop! In the Name of Love!" gesture.
What are you doing? What, what, what are you doing?

RITA (sniffling and wiping her eyes with a hanky)
Raja left me at my dad's party! 

SGF (aghast)
He what? Oh no he didn't!

He did! He was singing so beautifully about being a stranger—although also an know, sometimes I just don't understand him at all....

SGF (interrupting)
Oh honey, nobody does. 

The next thing I know, he up and vanished!

God, what, was he raised in a barn? 

I think it was a houseboat. 

SGF (rolling his eyes)
Whatever. So you're chasing after him? 

Yes, I love...

You love him? This is Raja we're talking about. From Kashmir. Kashmir.

RITA (wistful)
It's so pretty there.

Honey, their most famous export is goats.

But he's...

The love of your life? 

RITA (confused)

SGF (getting worked up)
I mean seriously, Ri-ri, he can't dance, he can't read, he can't even dress himself. What do you honestly think you're going to do with a boy like that?

RITA (calming down)
He is a little difficult to introduce to my friends...

Exactly. And he's so judgmental. Like it's your fault that women are going to university and jet planes fill the skies.

RITA (giggles)
And he's a disaster on the city streets. He can't even bear to see a woman who isn't me, so he's always averting his gaze and bumping into people.

You can't take him anywhere, can you?

Pauses and raises one eyebrow at Rita and leans in, as if to hear a secret.
But spill it, girlfriend. You totally let him cuddle your lambs, didn't you?

RITA (blushing)
Welllll, he doesn't hate everything about modern values.

Feigns shock, swats at Rita's arm.
I KNEW IT! You big slut! GOOD FOR YOU! I don't blame you one little bit. He's so innocent I could just eat him right up.

Taking Rita's tiara and putting it on his own head.
Well, you're better off without him. Nobody pulls that hypocritical "seedha-saadha Hindustani ladka who still likes to spy on you dancing in your nightgown" shit on my watch. Girl, let's get out of here. 

They link arms and march triumphantly onto the bustling city streets.
Oh and PS, this is the best your hair has ever looked! You have got to tell me what hairspray you use. Anything that can hold up to Bombay heat and humidity and a dramatic run through the train station and a hefty dose of emotional atyachar  is more precious than the mai tais we're about to drown in.

Cut to a tiki bar, where Rita and Sassy Gay Friend clink glasses topped with pineapple wedges and paper umbrellas as the colored lights glint off their diamonds.
SGF (smiling, head cocked to one side)
She really is a stupid bitch.

* 50 weeks. People went to the cinemas to see this for FIFTY WEEKS. The mind, it boggles.


me said…
I'm sorry but I have a serious problem with this one - the music. SGF would just die for the songs, daahling! I mean he's totally on the money about everything but "why 50 weeks"? the songs, I tell ya, the songs! Pardesiyon se na aakhiyaan milana is even my ringtone.
Hmm. I do not know if SGF gets to experience the songs in the movies. He may only know what the ladies tell him about. Though of course he would DIE to get to dance in some of those cabaret songs with Helen....
Anonymous said…
I love you! THIS - SO many times over! But - I rather think Kashmir's best exports were apples :) :)

Tazeen said…
Oh boy, I literally laughed out loud and I read this one at work. It made me miss my sassy gay friend and how he makes the world a better place for me.

I am gonna blog roll you because you are all kinds of awesome, stay that way. :)
JennyK said…
Having now watched the clip, I can only agree with SGF...What was she thinking?

Yes, he's majorly handsome, but he's trailed around by a variable follow-spot that changes his face from yellow to red to normal in a very bilious, kinda halucinogenic manner. Could any fashion-conscious woman exist in such a milieu, I ask you? She should thank Upperwalla for her SGF's timely intervention.
memsaab said…
I don't know how I can ever repay you for introducing me to the Sassy Gay Friend.
Ramsu said…
To make matters worse, they remade it and that was a hit too. My mind's all boggled out by now.

This one's as lovely as the last, Beth. Keep 'em coming!
Unknown said…
Awesome Movie, Almost I enjoy every seconds of this movie..
SEV said…
Heh, brlliant.

I hope Beth knows this got remade in the late 90s with Aamir Khan and Karishma Kapoor (Title: Raja Hindustani). The setting was updated to Ooty, and the rest remained the same.. despite it being 20 years later :)

It was a huge hit and they all got Filmfare awards. I think its notable for being the turning point in making Karishma mainstream/sauve as opposed to gauche.
M - That's probably true, but it isn't as funny. :)

Tazeen - Yay! :) Thank you so much - you made my day.

JennyK - INDEED. And I had never noticed the weird lights! SGF would appreciate that level of drama but you're right, SO unflattering.

Memsaab - I am shocked you did not already know of him! He is a cultural milestone, he is.

Ramsu - Right? Ugh!

SEV - She does indeed know it, and she has seen it, and she did not like it either. :)
Kanan said…
OMG! Now you make me wanna go watch it just for the SGF. I don't think I've even seen it. This is next one on the list of to-be-watched films. Storywise, it sounds so ridiculously outrageous I love it.
Oh Kanan, you must see it! It is like the devil in sheep's clothing. It's such a pretty movie and the songs are so lovely but it has a hateful, hateful heart, I think. As you can tell, the more I watch it, the more I loathe it. :)
harvey said…
Yeah, we all need SGF to protect us from our follies.
Wonder when will come mine!

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