English Babu Desi Mem


English Babu Desi Mem (India, 1996)

Seen: last night on DVD
Runtime: 170′
Release Date: sometime in 1996 in India and sometime recently on DVD in Poland
Polish Distributor: not even the Polish Bollywood forum knows ;) I saw it on a DVD which was attached to a magazine, but there’s no sign of a Polish distributor on the box. There probably must be someone though…
Director: Praveen Nischol
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Sonali Bendre
Plot: (from imdb)

Vikram Mayur, a wealthy Indian, born and raised in England, returns to his ancestral home in Bombay, India to look up his late brother’s eight-year-old son Nandu raised by his caring aunt Bijuriya in which Vikram is torn between choosing to take Nandu back to England to learn his family’s business, or risk throwing it all way by staying in India to be with Bijuriya whom he slowly falls in love with.

A very corny song from the film

Impressions In Short
Shahrukh putting on a posh British accent in English (very badly I might add ;) ) is hilarious. Perhaps it’s fortunate he only did it for a couple of scenes at the beginning or I would have been incapable of properly watching the film - I just would have been laughing uncontrollably every time he spoke ;)
Also this film has increased my appreciation for Sonali Bendre - I wanna see more films with her now :)

Some Details
It’s a pretty crazy film and one of those in which the corniness of 1990s Bollywood enhances it rather than makes you seriously doubt why on Earth you’re watching it ;)
I almost died when Shahrukh started speaking out against India and explaining he’s English not Indian in his mock upper class British accent. A pity that the copy of the film I have has a Polish voice-over *sigh*
He appears as 3 characters in the film (just to make things crazier), but the one that takes up most of the screen time is closer to his early 90s anti-heroes than his later stuff. He’s quite a snake in this - a sort of not entirely bad snake that appears to enjoy the company of children, but still ;)
The child actors in the film are very sweet and do a great job.
And then there’s Sonali Bendre *grin* I guess what I most like about her is that she’s cheap in a nice way ;) I mean I’ve not seen that much of her and this is the second time I’ve seen her do a night club dancer (before that I saw her do another character of that ilk in Duplicate). She suits those kind of vulgar, whoreish characters and yet there’s a little more to it. Especially in this one there’s a nice balance to it because on the one hand she’s doing all her night club dancing and being thought of very lowly by everyone and on the other she’s a simple, honest girl. I wanna see more of her :)
Also, I think the Shahrukh-Sonali pairing is underrated ;-P One always hears everyone gushing over Shahrukh-Kajol, Shahrukh-Preity etc. and sure, those are good pairings, but I think they work best on the comedy kind of level or where friendship develops into love etc. Sonali-SRK may not necessarily work as well as those on that level, but on the other hand I feel that they’re much more XXX ;)

If you’re not already into Bollywood then the answer is definitely not… Then again I’d say the same for almost any Bollywood film made prior to 1998 ;)
As for the people who are already into Hindi films then yes - if you don’t mind 1990s corniness it’s entertaining and even has a relatively engaging plot *grin* Of course it helps if you’re into Shahrukh, but I think with this film you don’t necessarily have to be a die hard SRK fan to get through it (on the other hand if he annoys the hell out of you, you probably won’t like it ;) ).

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