Our last first date! This 2008 film is also one of my very favorites; I own it, and have probably watched it 8 or 10 times. It was co-star's Anushka Sharma's first role, and she was cast after a highly-publicized search. Director Adi Chopra wanted a fresh face for the part of Taani, the grieving bride of I-work-for-Punjab-Power nebbish Surinder Sahni. Shah Rukh Khan was not so sure; he said in an interview he would have preferred being paired with another star (I wonder who!!!). But Adi was the director, plus he's a genius, so Anushka was cast. She is so perfect in this: it is important that she not come off as insincere or flirty. Taani is young and modern, but not shallow.
The plot in a very small, spoiler-free nutshell: Surinder Sahni meets Taani, the daughter of a beloved teacher, just before her wedding. Within 24 hours, after a few tragic turns of fate, they are married to each other. Surinder is already smitten with Tanni, but she is grieving her many losses, and tells him she can not love him, but will try to be a good wife. That's good enough for the patient Suri, and when she asks for dance lessons to relieve the boredom of her lonely life, he agrees. With the help of his friend Bobby (Vinay Pathak, who is wonderful!) Suri disguises himself in order to watch her at her dance class. Hilarity ensues. He creates an alter ego, Raj, constructed of every tired Bollywood cliche he can remember. Raj is everything Suri will not let himself be -- funny, outgoing, flirtatious, and openly loving. Will Taani fall in love with Raj or Suri? Wait and watch.
So -- another dual role for SRK, and another double date for us! You get to see both characters in this one video.
So, now the questions:
What is your first impression of Surinder/Raj? We meet Surinder first. He is a sweet, modest, introvert; Shah Rukh Khan described him in an interview as defined by "don'ts". He is restrained, both emotionally and physically (notice the tension in SRK's facial muscles, for example.) Raj, on the other hand, is defined by "do's"; he has no filter, no restraints, no limits. Surinder has concocted Raj completely out of all of the film hero cliches in the book, so he is a familiar type to all Shah Rukh Khan fans: annoying, arrogant, a little dense, but with the usual puppyish charm.
What is Taani's first impression of Surinder/Raj? Her first meeting with Surinder is awkward and adorable. She is running around getting ready for her wedding, giddy with excitement and happiness. Her father calls her over to meet Suri, his favorite student. He is shy and nervous (of course) and she explodes with "So YOU are Surinder" and proceeds to complain how her father always compared her to him and even wanted them to get married. She is just babbling, and not really taking in his discomfort. In a moment, the meeting is all over as Taani says brightly, "It was nice meeting you. Bye!". In other words, she barely noticed him.
Raj, on the other hand is hard to ignore. Here is his EPIC entrance. Note how Shah Rukh Khan transitions from Suri-disguised-as-madeover-Suri to Raj.
How would you describe their chemistry over the course of the film? Taani softens towards both of them. She is more aware of Surinder's quiet attentions (though she is uncomfortable at times with his attempts to make her happy, because she isn't able to reciprocate.) Raj's silliness and exuberance grows on her, as well.
If you had a first date with Surinder/Raj would you go on a second? I sort of did. My husband is kind of a mixture of the two. Emotionally restrained sometimes, and yet chatty at others. Capable of long quiet stretches and sweet quiet loving gestures. He cries at sad movies. That's probably why Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is one of my very favorite movies.