A Yuvvraaj review with loads of digressions or how not everybody in Bollywood has caught up with the times


Yuvvraaj (India, 2008)

Seen: Monday, 4th May 2009 (cinema, special screening)
Runtime: around 2,5h
Director: Subhash Ghai
Cast: Salman Khan, Boman Irani, Anil Kapoor, Zayed Khan, Katrina Kaif, Mithun Chakraborty
Production House: Eros International, Mukta Arts
Plot: Deven wants to marry Anushka, but Anushka’s father hates him. When Deven’s father dies, he tries to get his hands on the family wealth believing that money will help him marry Anushka. The problem is that Deven has been disinherited and his two brothers’ claims to the money are stronger.


Impressions In Short
What is it with all these 90s Bollywood films dressed in modern externals? (actually, this one wasn’t even dressed that well - the sets and cinematography weren’t much better than the 90s stuff…)

More About the Film
It was horrible :] The bit the whole cinema seemed to enjoy the most was when their was a technical problem with the screening and there was no sound for about 10 minutes (the crowd had loads of fun with expressively reading the subtitles aloud ;) ). When they finally turned the sound back on, Zayed Khan’s character was having some sort of mental breakdown and was screaming his lungs out, which was hilarious after such a long time of silence (the whole cinema had a giggling fit).
The line that totally killed everyone was after a scene in which one of the three brothers takes the blame for a crime he didn’t commit. The brother who did it, comes to the police station to explain the situation and the Austrian policeman is all confused. The conversation goes something like this:

- Why did he admit to a crime he didn’t commit?
- Because he’s a brother.
- So what?
- Well, he’s an Indian brother.
- Oh, right. I understand.

The only thing I liked about the film was Boman Irani - he was genuinely funny as Anushka’s dad.
Everyone else kind of sucked. I totally didn’t get into any of the characters. Salman Khan looked and acted like a common thug and I couldn’t comprehend why the girl was in love with him :] She was clearly a moron :] The only of the three brothers who was bearable was the one played by Anil Kapoor (aka the Slumdog game show host), although whatever Anil Kapoor was playing was definitely not autism ;) Everyone in the cinema burst out laughing when that was what he was finally diagnosed with ;)
The only way they could have done anything to save the film would have been if they had started a romance between Anushka and the “autistic” brother. That would have been so weird that it would have probably kept my interest. For a while it looked like they might even go that route, but no :]
This was my first time seeing Katrina Kaif (Salman’s girlfriend or actually ex-girlfriend according to recent tabloid news - apparently she’s had to increase security cause he’s now stalking her :]). AFAIK she’s one of the first British born Indian actresses to make it in Bollywood. She’s gotten a lot of flak for not being able to speak Hindi properly (there’s even a line about that in this film ;) ) and that was kind of weird. I mean I can’t speak Hindi, but even I could hear her English accent (there’s a line on the trailer where it’s quite clear).
And a final random comment - I was surprised to see some kissing in this. Not because it’s that weird to see it in an Indian film anymore, but because this is a Salman Khan film ;) That’s like the only big star I know of, who has said he thinks movies shouldn’t have any kissing scenes. Sure, he wasn’t the one doing the kissing, but he was in one of those scenes lol

The Digressions ;) aka The Three Khans
This film got me thinking about this, so I felt like rambling on about it, but I didn’t think it warranted a post of its own.
So anyway, there were three Khans who ruled Bollywood in the 1990s - Shahrukh, Aamir and Salman. All three of them will be 44 this year and all three are still very popular (though the media keeps speculating about how much longer their popularity will last). As it happens, the last three Bollywood films I saw in the cinema each starred one of them *grin* What’s more each film sort of epitomised what the Khan in question built his career on.
Aamir Khan was always “the serious-minded artist” and “the perfectionist”. In Taare Zameen Par he was so perfectionist, in fact, that he ended up disagreeing with his director on the film and directing it himself :] The film also has another Aamir Khan trait… for a lot of his career, he’s been trying to balance popular entertainment with serious, even pretentious themes and that’s sort of what TZP is.
Shahrukh Khan is usually thought of as “the ultimate soppy romantic hero” with some vulgar and naughty kind of jokes thrown in and again Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi embodied that.
And well… Yuvvraaj does the same for Salman Khan :] Salman was always the macho one - he’s the guy who started the bodybuilding thing in Bollywood and Yuvvraaj most certainly plays into that.
The weird thing about seeing all three Khans one after the other in this way is that despite being so different, they’ve all fallen into exactly the same trap. They all looked a bit like overgrown schoolboys and they were all fake and hammy :] It felt like they were just trying to repeat what worked for them about 10 years ago. I honestly think all three of them still have loads to offer, but IMO they need to move on a bit. Or perhaps it’s not entirely them that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Bollywood itself that keeps expecting this sort of stuff of them. But to me it feels like they should be doing different kind of roles now. They have a different charm and presence now than when they were in their twenties and thirties. I wish they’d utilize that rather than try to fake it…

Er…. no :] IMO it’s best to stay away from this. I mean I slammed Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi for similar things and Yuvvraaj was like twice as bad :]

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