Monday, March 14, 2011

Shah Rukh Khan: DDLJ, Veer-Zaara, Chak De! India

This week I'm returning the Quick Picks closer to their original inspiration: less talk, more titles and links.

Shah Rukh Khan (sometimes credited as Shahrukh Khan, and popularly called just SRK) is a legendary Bollywood star, and if you don't like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, then you probably won't like most of the rest of his films.  But if you don't like DDLJ, as it is affectionately called, then you should probably stop reading this blog, too.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Aditya Chopra, India, 1995, 181 minutes)
Netflix: Raj (Shahrukh Khan) is blessed with charm, good looks and money, and when he meets working-class beauty Simran (Kajol) on a train, he's instantly smitten. She feels the same, but she has already promised her father that she'll marry a man she's never met. Raj isn't about to give up and follows Simran from London to India to win her over. This epic redefined romance for young Indians, and ranks among the biggest Bollywood hits of all time. Netflix link.

Veer-Zaara (Yash Chopra, India, 2004, 184 minutes)
Netflix: Squadron leader Veer Pratap Singh (Shahrukh Khan) is a rescue pilot with the Indian Air Force. One day, on duty, he comes across Zaara (Preity Zinta), a stranded girl from Pakistan. Veer saves her life -- and his life is never the same again. But he goes on to languish in a Pakistan jail cell for 22 years, not speaking to anyone all the while, but he will be joined with Zaara once again in Yash Chopra's epic love tale, which spans two decades. Netflix link.

Swades (Ashutosh Gowariker, India, 2004, 187 minutes)
Netflix: Composer A.R. Rahman's music forms the backdrop for this film by Ashutosh Gowariker. Mohan Bhargava (Shah Rukh Khan), an Americanized NASA scientist, returns to his native India on a business trip and takes the opportunity to get back in touch with his roots by finding the nanny who helped raise him. His mission forces him to examine his ways and all the changes he's been through while pursuing what he defines as success. Netflix link.

Chak De! India (Shimit Amin, India, 2007, 142 minutes)
Netflix: Years after facing humiliating defeat on the field, former hockey star Kabir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) returns to the game as coach of the Indian women's national hockey team, striving to shape a ragtag bunch of female athletes into a playing force to be reckoned with. But the team's problem isn't a lack of talent; it's the fact that the girls have never played with pure passion and have yet to embrace a true love of the sport. Netflix link.  

The following more recent SRK films are in my queue and I look forward to seeing them.  I should point out, however, that despite being box office hits both of these have received mixed reviews, in part because they seem to signal a transition in Bollywood conventions and traditions.  Interestingly, SRK won two very diverse acting awards for My Name is Khan: The Filmfare award for Best Actor, and the Golden Kela award (the equivalent of the Razzies) for Worst Actor.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (Aditya Chopra, India, 2008, 157 minutes)
Netflix: An unlikely romance between a 40-year-old man, Suri Sahni (Shahrukh Khan), and a small-town Punjab teenage girl, Taani (Anushka Sharma), presents some difficult challenges in this touching Bollywood musical. But all is not as it seems with the couple's unorthodox relationship. The film, which marks the much-awaited return of popular writer-director Aditya Chopra (Mohabbatein), co-stars Vinay Pathak. Netflix link.

My Name is Khan (Karan Johar, India, 2010, 161 minutes)
Netflix: Rizwan Khan (Shahrukh Khan), a Muslim man with Asperger syndrome, lives happily with his wife, Mandira (Kajol), in San Francisco until a tragedy drives her away after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now he is on a quest to recapture the heart of the woman he loves. Traveling across America, Rizwan faces prejudice because of his religion and unusual behavior, but he also inspires the people he meets with his unique outlook on life. Netflix link.

As always, let me know what you think about these in the comments section below.   --JLK

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