Monday, June 2, 2008

Adventures in YouTube: Karan Arjun, or One Goodbye Is Never Enough

In my continuing quest to watch everything in which Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol had starred together, I knew that eventually I would need to watch Karan Arjun. Did I want to watch Karan Arjun? No, I did not, and that was because of this poster:

Dude, the dad from DDLJ was in this one. He about ruined DDLJ for me, but I figured if he was playing a villain in this film it might be okay. But then there was Salman. SAL. MAN. I don't like him much, which has a little bit to do with certain allegations of domestic violence and a lot to do with the fact that he does not change expression at all, ever, something usually antithetical to the profession known as "acting." Still I wavered on whether or not to add this film to my Netflix queue. Then I found out it's a reincarnation story, and dude. DUUUUDE. It was time to head to my old friend YouTube, where a bazillion Bollywood movies have been broken down and posted in convenient 10-minute increments. (Oh, please. Don't pretend like you've never watched a Bollywood movie on YouTube. This film had over 24,000 views before I got there.)

It's about as good as I thought it'd be, which is to say, not at all. Amrish Puri doesn't so much chew the scenery as he swallows it whole. This movie's so full of overacting that it makes Shah Rukh Khan's performance look restrained. There are ridiculous fistfights that are so poorly choreographed that you can see the hits missing their targets over and over again. There's an unnecessary secondary romance subplot that is just an excuse for eye candy. There's the complete lack of any sort of logic in the reincarnation plotline. I know, it's a story for those who have faith, as it says during the opening scenes. But can't faith and a little good plotting go together? Apparently, not here.

Shah Rukh and Kajol are hot together. And she looks absolutely gorgeous, a very different avatar from her NRI-next-door look in DDLJ, which came out the same year. But that's the only good thing about the movie.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, I present the abbreviated YouTube version of Karan Arjun. I watched it so you don't have to!

This is Karan (Salman Khan) and Arjun (Shah Rukh Khan), two brothers living with their mom in a random village. Their dad abandoned them years ago but they take good care of Maa (Rakhee):

One day they find out that the wealthiest landlord in the village is actually their paternal grandfather, whose evil nephew turned him against his son, their father, resulting in their parents being driven from the grandfather's mansion thing. Turns out their father was also murdered, not a deadbeat dad. They go to visit their dying grandfather, who says to their mom:

Needless to say, this really pisses off the evil nephew, the Thakur, played by Amrish Puri.

And before you know it:

Yep, they're dead. But! Rakhee, I mean, their mom, is a devotee of the goddess Kali and runs to her temple:

And before you know it:

They grow up in different households. Karan/Ajay is the alky's son. Arjun/Vijay is an orphan who lives with his uncle and a stablehand played by (brace yourself) Johnny Lever. Ajay is a killer prizefighter. Vijay... is really good at shooting a slingshot while riding horses. They're both tormented by black-and-white flashbacks and can't understand it since they've totally never done acid, ever, except by accident at that one party that time.

Twenty years after Karan and Arjun's deaths, Rakhee is still visiting Kali's temple and arguing with the priest about whether or not her sons will return to her. The bad guy and his son visit too and insult her.

Vijay falls in love with Sonia (Kajol), a rich guy named Saxena's daughter.

And before you know it:

But! Plot twist:

And plot turn:

And cue completely unnecessary cute song with Mamta Kulkarni!

Wait! Those bangles...

Hey, SRK, Kajol says she doesn't care that you can only buy her glass bangles. I wouldn't either.

But this guy might:

Saxena is pissed.

So is Sonia's fiance. He visits the stables with a few hired goons.

And before you know it:

At the engagement party:

Little do they know:

Saxena gets Ajay to fight Vijay:

But when Saxena tries to blow Vijay away with a hunting rifle, Ajay tackles the older man and screams:

He does, and Ajay gets taken to jail. After he leaves, Amrish Puri, proving to be an even more excellent father-in-law than he was father in DDLJ, tells Sonia:

Very picturesque. So he takes them up to his ill-gotten mansion so she can be forced to wed his son there. Of course, Vijay and Johnny Lever come running after, but not before agonizing over the illogic that is Vijay's life:

Hmmm. I wonder. So, up to the village Johnny and Vijay travel. Vijay is haunted by a growing sense of recognition:

Whoops! Sorry, wrong 1995 movie. First he visits the priest, where the guy makes this faith-filled statement:

Then he embraces:

Using a clever slingshot plan involving a motorcycle, the tomboy, and a police transport van that was apparently also serving as a storehouse for a nuclear weapon judging by the size of the explosion it creates, Vijay releases Ajay from jail and tells him:

They go on a rampage and kill everyone, including the Big Bad Guy, whose death is clearly implied to be a sacrifice to Kali. Then the garlanding.

Then there's the happily-ever-after, and before you know it:

So. Karan Arjun. In my opinion, worth approximately two cents, which you can pay me so I'll tell you to avoid it. Unless you are an SRK/Kajol jodi fanatic, in which case nothing I or anybody else says will stop you from getting it.


  1. heeh.
    I love Salman- he capers! and now that he is older, he capers even more! - like a monkey :) While I think he has actually improved w/ age, I found SRK way cooler when he was younger.

    And you must see more of Amrish- you cant not love him for too long :)

  2. Where do I send my two cents? ;-)

    I remember watching the songs when the movie came out and was absolutely certain I would never watch it - but then I dont really like any of the Shahrukh-Kajol movies much. Since you like the pair so much, perhaps you should try Baazigar which was their first pairing and a big hit.

  3. Shweta--I liked him in Salaam-e-Ishq, so maybe he has improved... If you have any Amrish rec's I'd be willing to check them out.

    Bollyviewer--I'm beginning to think I like their jodi much better than their movies, except for KKHH and DDLJ. I've seen Baazigar but could only force myself to review one SRKajol movie this week. ;-)

  4. I actually don't really like a lot of 80s and early 90s films. The prominence of Johnny Lever in films from that era may have something to do with that!

    Re: Salman, I like him a lot better now than when he was younger. He was great in Partner and Jaan-e-Mann and Salaam-e-Ishq. Of course, he was playing the same character in all three...

  5. Filmi Girl--I agree, Johnny Lever can take a movie over the edge from "passable" to "bad." And as far as Salman goes, playing himself has worked well for Jack Nicholson all these years so I guess I can't fault Salman for doing the same thing. ;-)

  6. Ha ha ha! This is SUCH a BAD movie. Love your review :-)

  7. Memsaab, I'm glad I'm not the only one to think so. It's hard to believe this came out the same year as DDLJ!

  8. Am I reading this right? What happened to your July posts??

    I looooved Karan Arjun but that could be cause I saw it back in 1992. Plus it was the first time to see SRK and Sallu together. Dang Sallu was so sexy in that movie.

  9. Hey, Nicki, they're right where they least, I think so! LOL so far I've only liked Sallu in Salaam-e-Ishq but I've heard his appearance in Saawariya is really good too.

  10. Very funny... and I agree. This is the worst of the 40 or so Bollywood films that I have seen so far. The editing alone is just terrible.

  11. Anonymous: I honestly think this one beats out even Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon and Yaadein. And they're both awful. LOL


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