Chaahat (Desire) was Shah Rukh Khan's second major release in 1996, and his first film with director Manesh Bhatt,who also directed him in Duplicate. There are some similarities between the two films, notably the contrast between SRK's goofy, simple character (Roop in Chaahat, Bablu in Duplicate) and his angry, violent avatar (Roop again in Chaahat, Manu in Duplicate). For reasons I can't quite fathom myself, I liked him better in Chaahat than in Duplicate. Maybe it's Manu's tongue thing. Ew.
Synopsis. Musicians Roop (SRK) and his widowed father (Anupam Kher) share a close, loving relationship. They travel to Bombay so that the father can be treated for a throat ailment, and Roop tries to earn money for the hospital bills by playing for a rich woman's birthday party. The birthday girl, Reshma (the stunning and sexy Ramya Krishnan) falls hard for Roop, but he is oblivious to her attentions and instead loses his heart to Pooja (Pooja Bhatt). In an interesting reversal of the plot of Darr, Roop is pursued by an increasingly unhinged Reshman, and the film climaxes in a series of increasingly violent and gory fight scenes. I am not going to spoil it further. Yes, love wins and evil is defeated. (But you knew that!)
Don't Shah Rukh and Anupam look like they are having a blast doing this song? It's the father-son bond from DDLJ, only better!
Worth watching for: The performances of Naseeruddin Shah as Reshma's villainous brother Ajay and Anupam Kher, who are at the top of their form. The scenes with them and Shah Rukh Khan are top notch, but the opening father-son dance scene and the Khan-Kher fight scene are my favorites. In fact, the fight scenes in Chaahat have finally won me over to Hindi film fighting. Yes, I know I outed myself as a "delicate flower" in my post about Dil Se. But I watched Chaahat twice in two days for the fight scenes. Also: Ramya Krishnan as the obsessed lover!!! It is fabulous to watch her try -- repeatedly to seduce Roop -- and to see him move from oblivious to wary to complete rejection of her advances. This fan video mix of most of the pertinent scenes captures it pretty well (the ones in blue light with the piano are her fantasies, not his).
One last reason to watch Chaahat: it's gorgeous. Consider this beautifully filmed number, which sets up the dramatic climax:
Want to watch? This is one of several of his early films that Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chilies Entertainment now owns. The good news is that they have made it available on Youtube, iTunes, and Google Play for rental or purchase at very reasonable prices. Enjoy!