Friday, March 26, 2010

Mujhse Dosti Karoge, or, Tina's Anjali This Time and Pooja's Tina

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).


  1. This does sound delightful. I'll seek it out...looks just like my cup of tea!

  2. Yeah, people in general are pretty "meh" about MDK. I think it came out at the wrong time. Like if it had been a little earlier, maybe 1999 or so, it's would've been a smash hit. But when it released, the story "felt old" to the audiences so it's not too popular.

    I liked it, though. I didn't love it, but I do have a feeling I should rewatch. I liked Kareena's character, Rani was fine, Hrithik's character a little clueless but the perceived love triangle worked perfectly. I also love one of those super-amazing Kunal Kohli-patent filmi moments that involves sindoor. Wah wah! That moment MADE the film for me.

    I'm glad this movie did it for you. I've had my extended periods of Bollywood slumpdom when I devote my time more to TV shows than Indian films but it's always great to re-discover these films when seeing a really good, squee-worthy film once again. :)

  3. Oh man this movie is SO GOOD! And I love all the same things in it that you love - when Kuch Kuch Hota Hai starts playing in the super-duper-mega-medley, I'm like "OMG I'M GONNA CRY NOW!".

    Hrithik gives some awesome smouldering looks in this film, too. LOVE IT.

  4. Yay! I love this movie, too - remember that time Hrithik crushes the glass? (OR SOMETHING) and was all emo?

    This is what the KJO era of Bollywood was all about... good times... ;D

  5. Kathy--I hope you like it; it was just what the doctor ordered for me.

    veracious: Magic Sindoor for the WIN! It was so unbelievable and hilariously great. I know what you mean about TV shows; I've been watching a lot of BSG and Chuck lately.

    Ness: The smolder! This movie gives us an hour and a half of smoldering, not to mention frantic rage-trembling and vein-throbbing fury, all of which are awesome looks for our Thrice-Thumbed Wonderboy.

    Filmi Girl: It is a glass! Except he throws it at the sangeet (or whatever it's called, I think they refer to it as something else) and then proceeds to get drunker and drunker (while singing and dancing) until he finally gets the (liquid) courage to make his KKHH play. Oh KARAN. This is how awesome Bollywood was when you weren't wasting your time trying to make "statements." Here's *my* statement: Stop trying to talk about terrorism, you ridiculously privileged man, and get back to what I love.

  6. Same here ajnabi, i watched this when i was a kid at the cinema, and fell for it immediately! Perhpas it was because Hritik and his snazzy dancing and intensity at the end,especially when he smashed the glass and threatened Rani to spill the beans, oooooo the tension and the medley that pulled me right in!

  7. For a moment there I thought I'd wandered into the wrong blog - no Shahid and out-of-focus colored lights? Cant be the Ajnabi I know and love... But no, I am in the right place and I love the new look.

    On topic - does blogland dislike this film? You and I do, and now there's all the commentors who've admitted to loving it. That makes it the most unanimously loved film in all blogland! ;-) Yay! for more Hrithik nostril action and for the right woman to win the right to feed him gobhi ke parathe...

  8. Rum--don't forget the Uncontrollable Trembling of Righteous Rage! Also fabulous and well worth the cost of admission. LOL

    bollyviewer: My Shahid pyaar has suffered no reduction, but the (lovely) banner Darshit made for me all that while ago simply isn't big enough to look right with the new format, so... Time to move on, I guess. :-( Thanks for the compliment, I love Blogger's new options!

    You know, I'm not sure blogland *does* dislike the film after the chorus of approval in the comments section. Maybe it's just cranky people at That One Particular Bollywood Forum. That scene when he offers her his first home-made gobhi ke parathe was soooooo sweet, na?

  9. I see a lot of hate out there for this, am glad to have stumbled across the love here :) It was one of the first films I saw, and I loved it too. I am not (looks around and whispers) a big fan of Hrithik (ducks) but it was so much fun.

  10. I liked this movie very much too. Congratulations on the new look. Just a minor thing - reading white print on yellow background is a bit of strain to the eyes. Is it possible to use a different colour so that the text is easily readable? - thanks

  11. Memsaab--I *thought* I remembered seeing that sort of sentiment, but apparently everyone who feels that way is too polite to comment on my post? It *is* really fun, isn't it?

    Filmbuff--Thanks! I'll play around with the colors to try to make it more easy, but with the contrast between the left & right side it's a bit difficult to find something that works all the way through. I'll give it a shot, though!

  12. Woah, almost got lost on your new layout :)

    I adore this film too. Thanks for reviewing it

  13. i remember watching this movie ... inapain. i was dying to leave the cinema but forced to watch it all by my mum ... i quite liked the songs though

  14. Nicki--It's so fun! I'm glad I could add to the love. :-)

    San: Poor you, that sucks. :-) At least it wasn't a total loss if you liked the music, though!

  15. u know what? I avoided this movie just coz I heard only and only bad things about it. But who knows, after reading this, I might like it. Lets see whenever its on TV i will catch it.

    Nice new look. Blogger is doing great things to template designs. No worries abt the header. :)
    But one thing is, please make your 'post background' a lighter color. The dark green color hides the links which are dark colored too.

  16. Hi Ajnabi

    I think you have now got the right colour,background, context etc overall look of your blog. Looks great and is enjoyable as usual. Keep it up!

  17. My main problem with this movie was Hrithik's "Watch me Act with Every Pore" style of performance. I did not need to see his veins pop in every other scene. And I think this was the movie that set up that whole annoying Ran Can Act but Kareena Looks Good meme that swept moviedom for a while there.

    However, I will confess that if I ever find it on TV somewhere and I am at loose ends, this movie works as comfort viewing. It's like reading an Archie comic. But with singing and dancing!

  18. Darshit: I guess you can tell from the comments that I'm not the only one who liked it. It's nothing original, but I enjoy all the elements. :-D

    Filmbuff: Thanks, we aim to please. ;-)

    Amrita: Poor Hrithik. He tries. I didn't need to see it either but I didn't mind it at all. And, was that a meme? See, this is where my ignorance comes in handy. I can pretend like it was just in this film and call it a conceit instead!

    You know, I read Archie comics religiously for a while as a kid. No wonder I like the movie so much.

  19. Oh yes, I remember an episode of KJo's chat show in which they showed up and did a poll (!!) to see what people (??) thought of the two and the results were pretty insulting to both of them I felt. Everyone was like "Kareena so pwetty!" and "Rani so goooood!" - the fun part of it was watching the faces of the two women as they heard the public speak. You know Kareena was thinking, "Well, I can get acting classes..."

  20. It's just so cheesy, it's a lot of fun. I loved Hrithik when he was angry, and determined to upset the happy, happy family scenario.

  21. First off, I'm kind of digging the new look of the blog. It makes me feel sparkly. Secondly, I watched this a little while ago and I enjoyed it (my review:

    Loved the song montage, and this was the movie where I discovered Hrithik's extra thumb. It was a total wtf moment I will never forget. Pretty standard fair but enjoyable nonetheless.

  22. Amrita: LOL And Rani was thinking, "Well, I can just NOT EAT for the rest of my life, I guess?" That's really terrible, though, and so like KJo to be that publicly catty.

    Banno: I loved it too! Melodramz Duggu is awesome.

    Shell: Thank you! It makes me feel sunny. :-) And, isn't the thumb thing strange? It's not like it's a deal-breaker or anything, it's just that such a thing would be literally unthinkable in a Western film industry so one doesn't expect to see it on such a big star, I think.


  24. Anonymous: Thanks to Ani, I can say that I totally agree with you, they're all too lovely. :-)


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