Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dhadkan: Suniel v. Akshay

I've been neglecting my reviews lately but that doesn't mean I haven't been watching films! It's just harder to motivate oneself (i.e. moi) to write older films up when I see them.

While I was doing my Decade in Review series for the 2000s, I came across a bunch of films from the early part of the decade that I had somehow missed out on. I blame things like "grad school" and "having a life off of the Internet" for that but since neither of those things is a problem anymore - I bring you Dhadkan (2000)!

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I adore Akshay Kumar. So add him in a starring role plus Suniel Shetty in a Best Villain Filmfare Award winning performance and a great OST, you have a film I need to see.

And I was not disappointed, although Dhadkan falls into the rare (for me) category of Bollywood films where Akshay Kumar is not the hero I root for! But it has something even better – melodrama so ridiculous that it borders on Kaajal territory. If you are fan of overwrought drama, then sign yourself up for some Dhadkan!

The film begins with a Dev (a scruffy Suniel Shetty) and Anjali (Shilpa Shetty at her peak gorgeousness) in love. We know things are doomed because Dev is poor and Anjali comes from a wealthy family. And I begin to fall hardcore for Dev when it soon emerges that his feelings run very, very deep for Anjali while she seems to view their dalliance as a game. Not that she doesn't care for him but coming from privilege, she has more to lose from following her feelings than he does.

The opening song highlights the gulf between them as Sunile is dressed head-to-toe in black and Shilpa in white and we see Suniel working the crazy (in love) eyes and Shilpa being demure.

Of course, the two can never be together and the film progresses with further masala awesomeness.

So, Anjali tries to get her father to accept Dev and arranges a meeting between them. Dev shows up in his cheap slippers that she specifically told him not to wear – although it is unclear whether he has another pair of shoe – and is generally defensive and passive-aggressive and a big pain in the butt. Dev may be poor but he has pride and he doesn’t even want Anjali’s father’s good opinion.

Poor Anjali is in way over her head with Dev and realizes that he can never fit into her comfortable upper-class life and decides to give him up and marry the guy her dad picked out, Ram (Akshay Kumar), instead.

Now here is where the film lost any emotional pull it had over me because Ram is so hilariously good that I wanted to stab him and deliver his body on a plate for Dev to eat for lunch. Yes, I, founding member of the Akshay Kumar No. 1 Ladies Fan Club wanted to kill Akshay’s character because he was so insufferably good. We’re talking Rajesh Khanna levels of insufferability.

(Suniel Shetty's just lurkin' back there and is in your fridge eating cheezeburgers.)

Ram goes around being good and just and doing prayers every morning at a ridiculous hour and being respectful to his elders and Anjali ignores it all until one day something clicks and she decides that she’s in love with him, too.

The second half of the film deals with the return of Dev and is what earned Suniel Shetty his Best Villain Filmfare Award.

Now a few spoilerly specifics:

First of all, Sharmila Tagore was fantastic as Dev’s batshit crazy mother but the real highlight of her performance is when she DIES because Anjali betrays her promise to Dev. That’s some good stuff and if anyone else has had the balls to pull it off since O.P. Ralhan’s Talaash, then I need to know about it!

And speaking of Maa, how about Sushma Seth as the evil stepmother? She’s just gloriously evil FOR NO REASON until one day she realizes her own children are monsters and is all about loving Ram and because Ram is such an insufferably good guy, he accepts her despite the fact that she was about as good a mother as Mrs. Dursley was to Harry Potter.

The real fun of Dhadkan, however, is the return of Dev. How awesome is it that the penniless bastard runs off to the UK and becomes a kabillionaire in (approximately) three years and then manages to destroy Ram in about two weeks. He is an evil genius and Anjali missed out – big time. She picked the dope who puts up with his berating step mother instead of the hottie with drive and ambition!


I won’t give away the ending but I will say that I love Suneil Shetty and this might be one of my top five performances from him - ten years later, he’s still a hottie!


Anita said...

I have a strange Dhadkan story. So they played this as one of the Bollywood Freetime movies over the weekend here in Toronto many years back, so my rents and I started watching it and were surprised at how quickly it dove into the story. We were kinda confused but assumed it was one of those movies that dives right in and then explains through flashbacks. As time went on we realized that...we were watching the movie starting from halfway through the film! So I personally ended up watching the last half of Dhadkan and then stopping because I already knew how it ended. :P

My parents kept on, though, because after the movie finished the station played the first half, lol! XD Mixed up order made for an interesting viewing and that is always what I will remember Dhadkan for. ;)

Rum said...

Lol 'batshit sharmila!" sooo true, she was craaazy and so was her son Suniel, I'm with you on this, as a member of the great Akshay club, he was toooooo nice and he didn't mind being put out after his shaadi! Which a normal Akki character ala Kambakht Ishq wouldn't stand for lol! Suniel was soo good here, wish he would do something OTT villain like! I recommend that shite Rudraksh for a eevvill Suniel too!

Tady Rox! said...

i love this movie...but just as you said Akki is just too disgustingly good!!! I hate it...and the music is fantastic!!!

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Ahh! I remember this freaky movie and loving it. I'd forgotten all about pagal Sharmila. I may have to re-watch that just to see her again. Suniel was fantastic as the spurned lover who conquers the world. I like him as a crazy intense dude, like in Umrao Jaan, and as Raghavan in Main Hoon Na. Nice write up yaar.
All the best,

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

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