As promised, here is my reaction to Juhi Chawla's "first date" with Shah Rukh Khan in the 1992 film "Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman". It is a coming-of-age story at its heart, as the ambitious but naive Raj (Shar Rukh) comes to Bombay to seek his fortune as civil engineer. He finds success and falls in love, but nearly sabotages both in his urgency to "become a gentleman" by climbing the corporate ladder.
Because I am focusing on the relationship between Raj and Renu, I will not recap the whole film, but on their romance. Frankly, even after Loveria Hua, it hard to see the chemistry between them as anything more than friendship or puppy love. They clearly like each other, but everything about their body language tells me that their affection is creating cozy warmth, not heat.
Then this happens. Raj buys Renu a sexy new dress and insists she put it on. The wind!!! Thanks to Margaret Redlich's wonderful new book, I know this symbolizes the emotional rush of true love. Enjoy.
So to answer my own questions:
What is your first impression of Raj? Manic Pixie Dream Boy; fun to watch, but potentially exhausting to keep up with.
What is Renu's first impression of Raj? Kind of cute, but rude and arrogant. Needs to be taken down a peg. She is right, of course!
How would you describe their chemistry over the course of the film? Annoyance, friendship, that cute couple, BURSTING INTO FLAMES, disappointment, separation, redemption, (finally) grown-up love.
If you had a first date with Raj, would you go on a second? When I was 17, in a heartbeat. At 67, I couldn't take my eyes off Jai (Nana Patekar).
6/5/2016 03:15:47 pm
Such fun to re-watch this. Not only do I love SRK and Juhi Chawla's "equation" as they say, even in their not-so-great movies, but I love the ensemble feel of Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. I love how the neighborhood embraces Raj and endorses Raj and Renu's love, celebrates Raj's successes and is willing to forgive him when he tries to make right his betrayal.
6/5/2016 03:26:38 pm
I need more Nana, for sure. What should be my next NP film? You are right about the course of love. I very much appreciate that in Hindi films passion often comes later in the chemical equation. The apology scene is lovely and tender, and quite believable.
6/6/2016 04:04:14 am
A couple more thoughts. I really like that Amrita Singh's character is so sympathetic. I love the restaurant scene in Delhi. In my mind she definitely finds a companion worthy of her who helps her take over the business from her dad after the movie.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.