Sunday, May 22, 2011

Salman Khan in a very special role - Review: "Baghban"

BAGHBAN (2003) बघ्बान

Title-Translation: "The Gardener"

Director: Ravi Chopra
Authors: B. R. Chopra, Shafiq Ansari, Satish Bhatnagar, Ram Govind, Achala Nagar
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Paresh Rawal, Lillete Dubey, Salman Khan

Plot: Baghban is the story of a family, a story about three generations, living together: When Raj retires, he and his beloved wife decide, they'd like to stay with their children, whom they haven't seen very frequently in the past years. But the children don't respect their parents the way the should, acting selfish and dignity-less.

Written the 22nd of May 2011
The Chopras - will anyone ever be able to produce films as heartwarming, lovable and just-at-the-edge-of-kitschy films as theirs? While I wasn't literally overwhelmed by Ravi's 2006 acclaimed "Baabul", his 2003-superhit "Baghban" was very enjoyable. I had to get used to it, though - at the beginning, it was very "Is he trying to be the next Karan Johar, or what?". There are many similarities to be drawn between "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham" and "Baghban", and I'm not just talking of Amitabh Bachchan as the head of the family. Both films are primarily about family, love and respect. But where K3G is epic and, let's face it exaggerating (!!!), "Baghban" is more simple and relatable, though also not quite as remarkable and well, epic. Whatever - it is a very different film.

Sweet, sweeter, Hema-Amitabh

Before I start with the good things about "Baghban", let me first mention those I did not like:
1) Salman Khan. Salman is someone I can only enjoy in special moods. He's perfectly in his very element as Chulbul Pandey, and that masala-chili-action police officer did make me laugh, dance and have a good time - but. Salman is not a good actor in the classic way. Or, at least, I haven't seen that side of him yet, if he does have that side. It's just not him; in "Baghban", he's doing that "so-low-and-calm-because-this-is-a-serious-character" voice, and come on that's not what I call good acting. Sorry. Actually, Shahrukh Khan was offered this role, but he turned it off - sadly. And all of this wouldn't have bothered me as much as it does, if Salman wouldn't have been introduced with the letters: "Salman Khan in a very special role". Might be the role was special - but Sallu's performance was just the opposite.

The 2) component that didn't please me was... the music. Talking of introduction: introducing a Holi song with techno sound?! I doubt it. You won't get anyone dancing by that taste-disorientation. Chali Chali did have a nice refrain, but the only reason it seemed to be nice is that the other songs were this bad.

Phew - now, let's focus on the nice sides of the film.
Hema and Amitabh. Two wonderful actors, still doing a wonderful job today. Their portrayal of the elderly, deep in-love couple was sweet as the first strawberry in summer (funny expression... you know, I'm so happy it's going to be summer soon!).
I'd even recommend watching the film just for those two - Amitabh's face when he sees Hema tying her blouse: fabulous.
Off course, there is some honey-dripping kitsch-pie included, like when Raj calls Pooja on the phone and starts singing, or just all those letters they keep writing to each other. By the way: I want a type writer.
The actors who played the children and in-laws are not mentionable - except for Divya Dutta maybe, but even she was rather forgettable, which is unusual.
Paresh Rawal and Lillete Dubey as the funny side-plot Gujarati couple were both lovely, and Rimi Sen, in her first role, also wasn't bad (where is she these days?).

Bad, worse, daughter-in-laws
What really interested me, was the story, and how it can be applied on the western society as well. So many people (also grown-ups) have never learned to respect their parents, and the amount of old people is increasing steadily, here in Europe. Most of them live in nursing homes, there are very few who live with their children. It's sad, in a way.
"Baghban" took everything a little over the top, but that's what it had do, otherwise it wouldn't have worked out. Separating your own parents - how gruesome is that? Especially for someone whose parents are divorced, I personally found all of this very inhuman, indeed.

However, there's a little minus point more: "Baghban" has a double-moral. The children who didn't want their parents to live with them, are really bad-ass, but on the other hand you can understand why they hesitate, because they don't have large mansions or bank accounts (in contraire to the "good" son Alok).
Or Rimi Sen's character, who runs around in mini-skirts, which is not liked by grandma - and yes, grandma is right: Rimi gets touched by some guy she flirted with, and she doesn't like.

But on the whole, "Baghban" did have a positive impact on me, and I would recommend it to those, who can bear some manipulating and conservatism, if the rest is lovable.

Rating: 6.6

Thank you for reading, Mette M. K.


  1. Cool review,

    I don't think I'd like this, I generally don't enjoy really sentimental kitschy stuff...

    btw, Satisfaction is the Song of the Month, awesome I love that song.
    Maybe you should do posts on the songs you choose each month, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them and the reasons you choose them.

  2. I think you feel that way about Sallu cause you're seeing him now, not the Sallu that I know. I wrote some reviews of him a couple of years ago about his older films. He was always the romantic hero back then, his earlier films were hits left and right.

    Baghban is not bad and agree with the storyline critique. What I did like about it, it was focus on an older couple, rare during that time.

  3. @ Jack L: I know, I know :).
    The idea of presenting my song of the month is actually quite good - I think I'll do that. This month, I chose Satisfaction, because, well, I was quite dissatisfied at that time (that was the short version of it).

    @ Nicki: I heard that from a couple of people, and I do consider watching some of Sallu's older films. Karan Arjun is laying around... but I heard it's not that good (will see it anyway).

  4. I love Karan Arjun but that's mainly cause I saw it back then. It's a reincarnation theme. Sallu is <3 in the film to me.

  5. @ Nicki: Haven't seen it yet, but I'm prepared for anything... Is he? We'll see.


Let the discussion begin!