Friday, June 20, 2008

Adventures In YouTube: Yaadein, or, Memmmmmories (of Coke)

Over at BollyWHAT?, I had heard truly terrible things about Yaadein. However, it stars Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor, whom I liked in K3G--in fact, their chemistry makes the second half worth sitting through for me. The lure of HrithiKareena had me wanting to add this to my Netflix queue. The knowledge of my husband's sure disdain for the film had me waiting till he travelled to do so. Then, on a lucky search I found the movie on YouTube! Illegal upload GOL! (Anybody else watch South American football? No?)


And I found myself unexpectedly charmed. This movie's kind of a throwback to old Bollywood. And it's got some large WTF moments. But I really like Hrithik and Kareena together (I think she pulls the best out of him) and, what can I say? I'm a sucker for Coke too? I dunno, I think it's like Mike Myers complains in So I Married An Axe Murderer: "He puts an addictive chemical in it that makes you crave it fortnightly!" I've seen this movie five times and only the knowledge that the statement will show up on our Visa bill has kept me from outright buying it. It's pathetic. Maybe it's a brain fever.

Yaadein is a 2001 Subhash Ghai film starring Jackie Shroff, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Avni Vasa, Himani Rawat, and ohmylord Amrish Puri with his hair inexplicably dyed red. But then, there's a lot that's inexplicable about Yaadein. I watched it so you don't have to, though!

This is Raj Puri (Jackie). He lives in the UK with his wife and three daughters, who are just getting to marriageable age. His wife's a wise woman who tells him it's time to start becoming their daughters' friends instead of just their boss. They have this heartfelt conversation in Tesco Metro or some other grocery store.

Then his wife goes out and, in one of those random incidents of sub-automatic machine-gun violence so common in Westernized countries, runs from some evil thieves and gets run over. Police are too busy chasing criminals to stop and help her apparently. So she goes to the hospital, where doctors tell Raj there's no hope and disconnect her from life support. For a dying woman, however, she has remarkable stamina:

She makes him promise to be a friend to their daughters and then passes away in her own good time.

Raj is left to raise his three daughters into adulthood. They are Avantika (Avni), Isha (Kareena), and Sanya (Himani).
After Sanya acts like a brat one too many times, Raj packs up and heads home to India for a change of scenery. Isha still goes to college in the UK though.

Raj's best friend L.K. Malhotra, younger brother of J.K. Malhotra (Amrish) and his wife Nalini are parents in-name-only to Ronit (Hrithik). I say in-name-only because apparently Raj, who works in their company, and his wife had more to do with Ronit's upbringing than his own parents did, which explains his deplorable middle-class values.

When Ronit finds out Raj has left the UK for India, he packs up some of the employees from his Internet start-up and goes to find Raj and the three girls. Then he tells them about his new website, Shaadi.com, and runs Avantika through his matchmaking system.

And before you know it:

One down, two to go. So, back in the U.K., Isha looks up Ronit while almost hitting his car with her bicycle:

He drives away, she mutters, "Stupid," and rides away on her bike. Then this guy breaks the fourth wall and says:

Thanks for that, we'll file that away (is he Subhash Ghai?). Okay, so back in India Sanya's found her soulmate and tells Raj she's chosen her own husband, kthnxby.

Raj, filled with horror after meeting her beloved's progenitors, refuses his consent. Sanya takes it rather well, I think:

And before you know it:

After that fiasco of a shaadi gets done, Isha heads to Malaysia to participate in a bike race. Ronit follows, because... I don't know why. I just know that he has a video camera and interviews some people.

I'm guessing this chick is as famous in India as Lance Armstrong is over here, but I dunno.

After the race, Isha makes an award acceptance speech that sounds like Kareena ad-libbed it, and then she heads out with some friends to visit the terribly named Tuba Island. Little do they know what peril awaits them there!

A crocodile! Or is it an alligator? I can never remember how to tell the two apart. It makes this weird sound that's a cross between a bull elephant and the velociraptors' scream in Jurassic Park. All of Isha's friends desert her and she's the only one left on the island. Ronit comes after her:

He finds Isha passed out in some sort of coma, collapsed in a tree, and carries her back to his boat. Bad news--the engine won't start. So he ties a rope around his neck and tows her back to the mainland--swimming for about twelve hours or something.

Once they both recover, Isha and Ronit realize they love each other. It's time for the fan-freaking-tabulous "Jab Dil Mile."

In which, Ronit clones himself and dances like the Love Warrior on the beach, sixty times over. Then, he and Isha take an intergalactic tour:

Anybody else thinking Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy? "I wanna do you on that...galaxy!"

And before you know it:

Meanwhile, back at the haveli:

Raj becomes dead set against unarranged marriages, even though over in Malaysia Isha stands under a giant statue of an eagle and screams "I'm in loooooove, Papa!" Guess he couldn't hear her.

So Isha and Ronit go back to India or maybe the U.K. to get ready for his parents' 25th anniversary. They decide they'll do an item number wearing this fantastic garb:

Whoever did the costumes for this movie should be made to suffer. A lot. Anyway, at the party, they also meet someone who's going to become very important for all the wrong reasons, Monishka:
She's an heiress. After seeing them together, Ronit's uncle and Monishka's father decide to undertake the ultimate business merger and marry the two young 'uns. Ronit and Isha, happily unaware of these plans, break the news to Raj that they're in love and want to get married. Distressed by his daughter's plans to wed into a family that'll surely make her life miserable, Raj wanders off and gets hit by a car, breaking his wrist or ankle or some joint. Whatever. Isha, feeling guilty, tries to pretend it was all a joke. She waves her mom's keys in his face to cheer him up:

Raj isn't fooled by her cheerful act, though. He's the one who already carried the proposal for Monishka to her parents and was accepted on behalf of Ronit's parents. He knows there's no future for Isha and Ronit.

Well, before Ronit and Monishka get engaged, something else happens. Uncle L.K. makes Sanya's problems go away.

And then Ronit and Monishka get engaged. Ronit can't understand why Raj and Isha stand by in support of the marriage and say nothing about his affair with Isha. He's heartbroken and dashes out of the house:

Isha clumsily comforts him by saying, "Oh, I just got caught up in the entertainment package of romance. I was fooled by film. Now let's be best friends again." Hrithik acts like Hammy the Squirrel on speed and does everything he can to make her jealous, finally succeeding here:

Hey, notice how it sounds like the entire scene was filmed in an underwater cave? In-sync sound, people. Join the twentieth century before the twenty-first goes any farther. Anyway, Ronit convinces Raj that Monishka's not the one for him by getting her to admit that they want to live in their own house without her parents and put off having children for five years. Clearly she is evil. His uncle throws a fit and accuses Raj of wanting Ronit for his own son-in-law, causing a rift between the two families. Ronit's finally had enough of being the collateral in the world's biggest buyout. His uncle's security guards are under orders to keep him on the property, but that doesn't stop our boy:

Then they take his boat out and sing "Chanda Tarre" to each other. It's all very dramatic and heartbreaking, and his uncle breaks out the helicopters in search.

At Ronit's mother's pleading, however, Raj ends up finding the two runaways. Ronit has an unexplained phone conversation with his mother in which her dialogue is muted out, and then humbly leaves Isha and goes to his business merger event with Monishka.

There, Ronit makes some speech about how marriage should be about love, not money. The audience participates and holds up red and green signs on cue. It's all quite surreal. Monishka unexpectedly agrees and calls Isha to the stage, but Isha's left. She tells her dad that she doesn't want to marry somebody if his family doesn't accept her, but then:


Oh, Amrish, you bastard, couldn't you have told her that before Ronit jumped through the window? Oh well, at least now they'll be happy. But we don't get to see it because suddenly we're back in India and it's about five years later apparently. Raj is talking to Avantika's daughter:


At this point in the narrative, I wouldn't blame him if he answered "Hell, no!" and sprinted for the door, but apparently Raj hasn't learned his lesson yet and solemnly promises to be his granddaughter's best buddy.

So, Yaadein. Objectively, I know it's worth approximately two cents and that almost everybody who sees it hates it. Subjectively, I can't help myself. I cry every time Isha goes running out of the house and sobs on that bench. You've been forewarned.

9 comments:

  1. Wow! You do loovvee this movie, dont you? :-)

    Screencap #19 is Subhash Ghai - he does these Hitchcockian cameos in all his movies.

    "Ronit clones himself" lol!!

    Your review is way more fun than the movie was. I love Hritik and Kareena (both together and separately) and thats the only reason why I was able to watch the whole movie!

    Dont know if you've noticed but Hritik has a hard time getting his heroines to say yes to him - Amisha Patel in Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, Rani Mukherjee in Mujhse Dosti Karoge, Kareena here, Preity Zinta in Lakshya, etc. Wonder why his heroines are so reluctant to marry him!!! ;-)

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  2. Bollyviewer, I *hadn't* noticed but it's so true! At least the sindoor didn't magically fall off the tray into Kareena's hair parting in this one. LOL But yeah, even though I know I *should* hate this movie it makes me watch it over and over again. It's terrible and true evidence of my lack of taste, I think.

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  3. I love the fact that the dead wife's most important keepsake is a bunch of keys w/ a coke tag! :D

    Subhash makes cameos in all his movies probably because he was a graduate of the Film Institute of Pune, and did some forgettable cinema in the 70s- which never worked out, so I guess he satisfies his acting bug this way (wow that sounds so malicious to write, but its true)

    Jackie looks hot even though he is obviously older- he doesnt work for me as a dad though- way too cute :D

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  4. Shweta, that's very interesting. I had no idea. And ITA, Jackie does look very handsome; I'm one of the few who really enjoyed him in Devdas too.

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  5. omg yes! that was the saving grace of Devdas for me- him and Madhuri. that one has everyone SO SAD and making such horrible life decisions I mostly (gasp!) fast forwarded through it :S

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  6. Yeah, it gives me a stomach ache if I watch it all the way through--too much suppressed grief! But I've lost count of the number of times I've watched Maar Daala and Chalak Chalak.

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  7. I think Subhash Ghai has a Hitchcock tendency to turn up in the most silly moments of his films like in Pardes with SRK he begins to sing a song also! toooo much vanity! love the screencaps they r great!

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  8. Rum, you just made Pardes a must-see for me. :-D Glad you liked the screencaps--it was fun getting them!

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  9. Oh no. I distinctly remember watching this one in the cinema. There were exactly 12 people there(which should have given me a clue). 30 minutes into the movie, I wanted to pull my eyes out.
    The only movie that was worse was that Govinda-Aishwarya-Jackie Shroff starrer, Albela, a godawful movie that had me sobbing for my sanity halfway through. These two can be used to torture POWs to get information out of them. Seriously.

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