Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India! gets my enthusiastic vote for the most underrated Shah Rukh Khan film. It was released in SRK's most prolific year, on the same day as Guddu, and about two months before Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayange, his career-changing hit. It was a commercial failure, but a critical success. I rented it online, watched it twice and then bought it.
Synopsis. This was an unusual film for its time. It uses familiar -- even clichéd -- Hindi movie conventions to spin a satirical fable about contemporary Indian political and social corruption. Most of the main characters have titles, not names: Miss India, the President, Prince, Hero (Shah Rukh Khan). It helps to be somewhat familiar with Hindi films, as there are constant references to songs, characters, and dialogs from other movies. It reminded me of Doctor Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Cold War satire, with the very Indian addition of romance.
With watching for: An amazing performance by Amrish Puri as the villainous Don Quixote, who is plotting to kidnap the President, install a look-alike in his place, and auction off India to the highest bidder. My favorite Amrish Puri role ever, and it looks like he had a ball doing it. They even manage to poke fun at his acting, when he is asked at one point "Don't you ever blink?" No, he doesn't, and that's why his eyes are so scary! Anupam Kher is wonderful as the President and his many lookalikes, and Javed Jaffrey is both frightening and sympathetic as Prince, Don Quixote's heir. And "the fountain scene" in this musical number is as sexy as anything Shah Rukh Khan as done.
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