You guys, I usually have a semi-strict rule about post pictures. No more than five per post; usually the movie poster, one of each principal, one of the two principals together, and one of the cast in general or of the scenery. I went a leeeeetle nuts on Mujhse Dosti Karoge? (Wanna Be Friends?), though, because I TOTALLY LOVE THIS MOVIE. No, seriously. It bumped me right out of a viewing slump that had me stymied on what to blog (also, re-affirmed my faith in my Rani fandom, which after Laaga Chunari Mein Daag plus Dil Bole Hadippa!'s mediocrity was suffering some dings).
Awww, aren't they cute? That's Raj, Pooja, and Tina. They're childhood friends, who are about to be parted as Raj's dad travels to London to find fortune in a dot com enterprise. Raj wants to write Tina, who is Just Not That Into Him. Pooja is all sorts of into Raj, but for him she's just a conduit to his relationship with Tina. Pooja volunteers her computer so Tina can e-mail him. Sure enough, Raj e-mails Tina... And she's too busy to reply, so Pooja writes back. However, she signs her name "Tina" to ensure he'll reply, and it works. The two continue writing till his return, fifteen years later, for a two-week visit.
Tina barely remembers Raj, but Pooja begs her to pretend to be the girl who wrote the letters for the past decade and a half. Raj (Hrithik) promises "Tina" he'll recognize her the instant he sees her, and since it's this movie's conceit that grown-up Pooja (Rani) is way less attractive than grown-up Tina (Kareena), he instantly heads straight for the real Tina instead of the girl he's been corresponding with all this time. Pooja's heartbroken, but accepts it with a smile and gives nothing away.
Raj is totally in love with the Tina from the e-mails, and since people see what they expect to see he doesn't really put together the clues Real-Tina gives him about her differences from his dream girl. He spends the entirety of the two week visit flirting with her like a maniac and confessing his feelings at every opportunity. This would be difficult for any girl to resist, and Tina's not disposed to do so anyway. If she were less self-absorbed, she would know that her dearest friend is in love with this guy, but she's not, so she doesn't and so they're practically engaged by the time he heads home for a little while. Before he leaves, there are a few brief interactions with Pooja that give him pause:
But again, Pooja says nothing to endanger her friend's relationship with the guy; after all, if Tina's what he wants then Pooja can't be it anyway. She heads out to London to visit some universities she's applied to, and while she's there she hangs out with Raj. On a visit to church, she gives away one too many things she knows about him... And finally, he figures it out. After an ecstatic interlude, they head back to India to confess all. Once there, though, they discover that Tina's father has died and she's alone in the world, her bond to Raj her only comfort. Pooja's not about to take that away from her; despite Raj's emphatic protests, she insists that he follow up on his promise to marry Tina. And he is PISSED.
I enjoyed this movie so, so much. It's really not all that different from dozens of others, but I am such a total sucker for the love triangle that as long as there isn't anything too egregious I'll be happy as a pig in mud. I'm even willing to overlook the three (3!) freeze frames that litter the first half's song picturizations. Hrithik does the usual Hindi Hyper Hero thing in the first half, but the second half is all about longing and pining and fury and all those things he does so well so I was okay with it. Kareena plays a proto-Geet (even turning up in her Depression Mode in a couple of scenes) with flair, and Rani turns in the most natural performance of the trio. The three's parents are wonderful, too (I love Happy Filmi Families!), so that delighted this viewer.
There was, of course, the obligatory Yash Raj callback to EVERY HIT SONG, EVER from their canon, from "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" to, oh, that mehndi song from the movie DDLJ, to Kaho Naa... Pyar Hai's title track, which made me burst into disbelieving laughter since 1) Hrithik was its star, too, as most of you know and 2) dudes, it only came out two years before MDK! I forgave everything about sixty seconds later, though, when of all things, Raj sings "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" to Pooja and we get this moment:
OMG. "Kuch kuch hota hai..." The wedding guests behind them are all "double you tee efffff, man?" but I was simultaneously swooning and sobbing, as much of a slave to blatant emotional manipulation as ever. I'm not too proud to beg for pouring-rain-obscure-declarations-of-LOVE.
There's also a special appearance:
And he's looking pretty good, actually. This was before he joined Twitter and I was obliged to avoid him at all costs.
Bonus: strong female friendship untouched by jealousy or pettiness.
I wish I could say something about the soundtrack, but it really made no impression on me one way or the other. I know the movie only got fair-to-middling reviews, and besides Beth the reaction of the blogosphere has been a resounding "meh" from what I can tell, but to me, Mujhse Dosti Karoge? is worth every penny (that thanks to Nae I didn't have to pay).