What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Sooraj Barjatya? Family? Of course! All the 90s kids will nod in unison. We believed that these movies were the true reflection of what big families lived like. From Hum Aapke Hai Kaun to Hum Saath Saath Hain, we were exposed to a whole new world of sanskaar, arranged marriages, family get-togethers, and a generous dose of naach-gaana.
This year, on my birthday, I realised that Hum Aapke Hai Kaun (HAHK) is as old as me and it made me want to watch this movie again. But, when I sat with a bowl of popcorn to watch this popular film, I was shocked. Maybe because, I didn’t blindly consume everything I saw on the screen like an audience mesmerised by Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan’s unmissable charm. As much as I still love these family-oriented movies, I refuse to agree with them because they feel like a round peg in a square box now. When men and women are both busy breaking stereotypes and opening their arms and hearts to equality, our beloved Pooja Bhabhi, Kaka ji, Prem, Nisha, and Tuffy don’t really seem relevant today.
Here’s what exactly what my thoughts sounded like when I watched HAHK again, (and it really isn’t the same thought process that I had as a kid):
1. One of the first blunders in the movie: sexist comments. Beautiful girls can’t do math? Yep, that’s exactly what Salman Khan says when he sees Madhuri Dixit for the first time.
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2. Alok Nath ( Kaka ji) gets a rishta for Anupam Kher’s (Chowdary) daughter, Pooja. Let’s just recall this scene again. Kaka ji tells Chowdary that he thinks that Chowdary’s daughter is a perfect match for Rajesh. Well, Rajesh comes in next. And all this while, the daughter in picture (Pooja), is happy to hear that she has been ‘liked’ by someone (like a product being sold at supermarket?) Kaka ji thanks him for the proposal. Then, enters the girl. Welcome to arranged marriages in India.
3. In the next scene, Prem asks Rajesh if he likes the girl, but nowhere is the girl consulted on the same. It’s assumed that she likes him. Wow, right?
4. All it took was one meeting to seal the deal? And here I am thinking for 2 days if I should buy that coffee mug from the shop next door.
5. What’s the deal with Salman Khan’s over excitement? I need whatever gives him that energy. I can at least stop moping around be happy and over-enthusiastic all day.
6. What’s with the songs at the drop of a hat? The movie just started and there’s been like three songs already!
7. Let’s talk about the dog. Is it a dog, or an umpire, or an event planner, or a letter man? That’s some talented dog, right? He is a dance partner, the guarder of the shoes, a messenger, a detective(*drumroll*), he is the great Tuffy.
8. When the talks of Pooja and Rajesh’s marriage start, Anupam Kher says, “Ladki waale hai jhukna toh padega hi” (We are from the bride’s side, so we have to oblige). Now I know how this mindset has manifested itself over the years. Dialogues like this is what sits around in the heads of the people.
9. Wait, what? Anupam’s wife and Alok Nath are flirting? With Anupam’s consent? That’s an entire song on flirting? I’m just appalled. All that blushing, and all that love, wow. How is this sanskaar?
10. Are you kidding me? That’s exactly three minutes and there’s a song again? You miss a song, and you miss half the story. Because, talking is overrated. Songs are basically disguised conversations in this movie.
11. Prem and Nisha are chasing each other for the shoes during the jootha chupai rasam, they fall on the bed. The next thing he does is twists her hand, and instead of getting offended, she starts having feelings for him. Seriously?
12. Have you noticed how there’s always an audience when they are playing cricket? How do these kids come to just watch the elders play? Why aren’t the kids allowed to play? Yeh toh naa-insaafi hai. I would cry to be a part of the match.
13. The filmmakers thought it was important to emphasize on one thing— nope, it’s not the meaning of consent, or anything of that sort— it was about making sure that the men and women wore gender specific hats during cricket. Each hat had either “boy” or “girl” written on them. Because, it isn’t obvious, you know?
14. Seriously, this music track started with them playing cricket, now she is pregnant, and has a baby bump.
15. You thought musicals aren’t a thing in Bollywood? Think again. They have songs, and then comes conversations. It’s basically fillers between songs.
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16. Let’s take a moment to talk about Salman Khan’s jeep. Did some angry kid go all crazy with crayons and scribble all over it? If that’s what an adult’s car looks like, our parents should be glad we are not Salman Khan (in any case, we don’t drive like him either, right?)
17. From Pooja to Kaka ji, everybody wants Prem to succeed in his life. But why is Rajesh the one running around while Prem just chills at home? Snob level is quite high here.
18. Prem and Nisha were just flirting for months, and then now they are behaving like they are married? She waits for him to come home from work, but they haven’t confessed their love for each other. Things did take a really long time in the 90s!
19. One legit question: How rich were they? Because, that’s a huge mansion.
20. Finally, the baby is out! And now there’s a song for Pooja bhabhi.
21. Saali hoti hai aadhi gharwaali? Was this the turning point in Indian society?
22. Okay, Pooja bhabhi can’t die. No, this isn’t supposed to happen. Why am I crying? This isn’t right, Sooraj Barjaatya, get her back.
23. Did anybody ask Nisha if she wanted to get married to Rajesh? What’s happening? How is this okay? I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Nisha didn’t know who she was getting married to till the mehendi ceremony. People need to talk more in movies.
24. Tuffy did what Lallu couldn’t! I want a dog like that. He can save me from doing stupid things in life. He made sure Nisha didn’t get married to Rajesh. He stopped Prem and Nisha from sacrificing their love in the name of farz (duty).
25. Oh, the movie is finally ending and I am crying. Sooraj Barjatya definitely knows how to play the emotions card.
Irrespective of whether you like the movie or not, even after decades, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun will forever remain an iconic movie. It was one of the first movies to cross the 1 Billion mark at the Box Office. And, it will forever remain in our hearts as one of Sooraj Barjatya’s best.
What’s your favourite scene from the movie? What makes you go WTF? Let us know in the comments below.
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