Discussion in 'English Babu Desi Mem' started by shublee, May 12, 2009.
I think we missed this one
i'll have to go back and watch it, anyone who's seen it please do comment
One of the worst movies ever. If someone needs a proof that SRK used to ham in his early days - this is it! A forgettable movie and the sooner forgotten, the better.
Me and overacting??? He is only putting to use what he knew well at the time. It was his directors who helped him to channel that energy and he has said that. This was just one of those that had to be done so that he could move forward, that's all! You have to watch it if you are khanatic, but only for him. The story is kind of lame, if you ask me.
LMAO. true he did ham his performance in this one, but you know, it was a bit funny if you were to look at the plot....
though i didnt think he was consistent in this film. im no one to judge him because apparently he has more knowledge of acting, but there were parts of the film where he would be "british" and other parts where his accent would disappear and he would be "desi" again...
but all in all not one of his best... and sonali bendre's voice...damn. it was annoying. but then again she as young and squeaky. lol
Okay, I have to admit this is not one of the best SRK films, but it is starting to grow on me!
well just saw it because I see all his movies, even those in which he has guest appearances so did watch this one years ago and definitely not one I would watch again but I did find shahrukh very very cute in the movie, I mean he looks so cute and young, and him being there made it watchable.
Spoilers. I could never for the life of me remember the title of this movie until I learned that it means "English Sir, Indian Madam." easy peasy.
This story involves members of a wealthy 5th generation NRI family living in England. The eldest son, Hari Mayur, (played by Shah Rukh in a longish brown wig and a cute mustache) was a kind of Hindi hippie wearing jeans, vests, tunics, and always a scarf tied around his head. (It was a charming look for him even with the wig.) His father Gopal Mayur (also played by Shah Rukh in a gray wig and mustache) arranged a marriage for Hari which he ran away from England to avoid.
Hari ended up in India and allowed his family to believe he was dead. He married a wife of his own choosing there and the story began as Hari, his expectant wife, and the village were celebrating Diwali. Shah Rukh had his first dance of the movie. Enjoy it because it is one of only 3 he does in the whole movie. (The second one is not till after the intermission.) During the joyful celebration a house caught fire (Diwali seems to be a rather dangerous holiday) and Hari's wife was trapped. Hari saved her and their child was safely born. However, the parents died in each others arms immediately after his birth as a result of injuries sustained in the fire. It was very sad, but Hari's joy at the birth of their son and his cheerful promises to his wife that they would always be together took away some of the sting, as also did my realization that Shah Rukh would be returning as he has a triple role in this movie.
Bijuriya the 8 year old sister of Hari's wife had bonded to baby Nandu even before he was born and refused to allow him to be sent to an orphanage. Because of her determination and courage she did indeed bring him up herself with some help from the villagers.
In one scene she cut up what appeared to be her school uniform to make clothes for the baby. This symbolized the fact that she gladly sacrificed her childhood to bring up Nandu. She danced to earn money and by the time she was 16 years old was a dancer in a local bar. Usually I miss Shah Rukh when he is absent for this length of time from one of his movies. In this movie the story of Bijuriya and Nandu was interesting enough that I didn’t miss him too much.
A problem with the movie is that the actress who played Bijuriya, Sonali Bendre, age 21 at the time, was not all that convincing playing a 16 year old girl and Bijuriya's extreme youth was, I thought, an important plot element of the story. However it was such a major role that a really good actress was needed and she had to be a good dancer also. (She was in like 7 dances) Although I'm no expert, I thought both her acting and her dancing were excellent.
Hari had a younger brother in England named Vikram. (also played by Shah Rukh thankfully with his own hair and no mustache) By the time Nandu was 8 years old, Vikram had become the head of the family and was a famous and wealthy industrialist. Friends of Nandu and Bijuriya found out about him and schemed to bring him to India thinking it would be to Nandu's advantage if he was acknowledged by his uncle. This lead to trouble however because once Vikram learned of his nephew's existence he naturally wanted to take him back to England. When he realized that Bijuriya was not in what he considered a respectable line of work his determination to get his nephew away from her increased.
Another problem was that Nandu also didn't care for the work Bijuriya was doing and without her knowledge skipped school to earn money selling black market whiskey and cigarettes and shining shoes in order to be able to arrange a good marriage for her. Vikram was shocked when he discovered this. He was very upset that the boy was sacrificing his childhood to help Bijuriya not understanding that she was herself little more than a child and that she had done the same thing for Nandu. (Here is where a more youthful appearing Bijuriya would have been helpful.)
Instead of caring for the girl and her struggles and appreciating her sacrifices, he became antagonistic to her and schemed to entice her into behavior that would turn her nephew against her. I wanted to sit him down and smack him upside the head for being so blind.
Vikram's schemes and the surprising decision Bijuriya made because of her great love for her nephew, along with a sub plot involving a gangster who became infatuated with Bijuriya lead to the usual glorious mixture of hilarity, tragedy, and violence. (is this what they call masala?) The dances and songs were all wonderful. (about 8 in all.) One with the line “Love me honey, honey love me sweet” had both Shah Rukh and Sonali in it and was delish. I thought Sonali was particularly good in the last one of the movie where she wore a magnificent Hindi wedding costume and danced with great spirit and defiance.
Shah Rukh's performance was as enjoyable and entertaining as usual. He tried to speak English with a British accent, and though he didn't do it consistently and those gloriously rolling “r”s kept creeping back in, it was so dang cute that every word that came out of his mouth made me laugh with delight. I am wondering how well he did speaking Hindi with a British accent. I have no clue if he even tried, although there were several comedic moments involving Vikram's imperfect understanding of certain Hindi words. (these I'm sad to say went completely over my head.)
His many scenes with the boy who played Nandu were a delight as well. The boy's acting was quite good. A couple times he even kind of upstaged Shah Rukh I thought. Part of it was because Nandu was very spirited and emotional and the inexperienced Vikram had his hands full trying to manage him. More than one scene ended with Vikram chasing after Nandu or trying ineffectually to restrain him in some way. However at all times Shah Rukh's love for children, his playfulness and gentleness were a joy to see.
His feelings for Bijuriya- which were at first a mixture of disdain and lust, gradually transformed of course into (at first to himself unrecognized) love, supplied him with many opportunities to sneer and rant in his growly voice and cry. I loved one scene especially where he never said a word about what he was really thinking but I just knew...and then in another scene he had me completely fooled. He used his amazing mixed martial arts fighting skills to single handedly save Bijuriya from large gangs of ruffians twice. She also was adept at defending herself from ruffians, a necessary skill for any young and beautiful bar dancer aiming to hang onto her honor, which of course she had always done. (A thing that Vikram failed to understand until late in the game) I especially liked the part where she tried to slice a gangster in the face with a sword. He laughingly caught it between his teeth with very little bloodshed. ( I was laughing my head off right along with him.) Quite a lot of his blood was shed later on though when Vikram caught up with him...
I have lots more I could say about this movie, but I hate to tell any more spoilers because I really did enjoy the unexpected behavior of all the characters. It seemed like you never knew what they were going to do next. I had every expectation of an eventual happy ending but at times it did seem pretty hopeless and the suspense added a lot to the fun.
Warning: A LOT of Spoilers
English Babu Desi Mem is a story about a maternal aunt and a paternal uncle who both want custody of their eight-year-old nephew whose parents died. It stars Shah Rukh Khan in a triple role as Hari Mayur (the older brother), Vikram Mayur (the younger brother), and he also plays the role of the brother’s father, Gopal. Sonali Bendre plays the role of Bijuriya, younger sister of Atariya (who married Hari Mayur). Sunny Singh plays the role of Nandlal (“Nandu”), the orphaned nephew. The film was released on the 26th of January, 1996.
The film starts out with the older brother, Hari, trying to avoid an arranged marriage to an unattractive girl. He escaped in an airplane and headed to India. The plane crashed in the water before arriving. His body washed ashore. Bijuriya, then just a young girl, found Hari’s body and notified her older sister, Atariya. Atariya nursed Hari back to health. Hari heard on the radio that his family believed he was dead. Hari decided not to contact his family because he did not want the arranged marriage. He decided to start a new life in India. He married Atariya. A month before Hari and Atariya’s baby was due; Bijuriya arrived home from school for a Dilwale holiday. She was excited about the baby and hoped it would be born before she had to return to school. During the Dilwale festivities, some fireworks set Hari and Atariya’s house on fire. Hari tried to rescue Atariya, who was up on a balcony when the fire broke out. They both received burns and injuries but arrived to a hospital alive. The baby boy, Nandu, was born. Hari and Atariya died. Young Bijuriya tried to see her baby nephew, but the hospital staff would not allow her close to him. She overheard the hospital administrators make a decision to give the baby to an orphanage. Desperate to prevent that from happening, Eight-year-old Bijuriya kidnapped her baby nephew from the hospital.
Bijuriya earned money by dancing in order to provide for her baby nephew. She cared for and loved him as much as a real mother would. Eight years passed by. Then, Hari’s brother, Vikram was in the news. Bijuriya’s uncle saw the news and realized that Hari had a very rich family. In the interest of Nandu, Bijuriya’s uncle arranged to meet Vikram. When Vikram found out his brother Hari had a son, he was thrilled and wanted the boy. The boy didn’t want to leave Bijuriya. She was like a mother to him. Bijuriya wanted to continue raising Nandu. When Vikram first met Bijuriya, she deceived him into thinking she was a very fine and wealthy lady. Shortly after that, Vikram discovered that Bijuriya actually worked in an unsavory Beer Bar owned by a man named Banjo. Knowing that Bijuriya was just a dance hall girl motivated Vikram even more to get Nandu and take him back to London. Vikram planned a kidnapping/rescue scheme to win Bijuriya’s heart in order to have more leverage to get Nandu. Unfortunately, a real bad man also planned to kidnap Bijuriya at the same time. Vikram began rescuing Bijuriya, thinking it was all a planned act with hired men. But, instead, he ended up facing real bad guys and had quite a fight before succeeding in rescuing Bijuriya. (There were a few pretty humorous moments in this scene.)
Nandu hoped that Vikram would marry Bijuriya. He had seen Vikram romancing her. When Nandu found out that Vikram was not interested in marrying Bijuriya, he angrily left his uncle Vikram. Nandu did not return home. Bijuriya became worried. She went to see Vikram, thinking he would know where Nandu was. Vikram revealed to Bijuriya that Nandu had been giving up his childhood in order to be a “father” of sorts to Bijuriya, trying to earn money for her dowry and trying to find a suitable husband for her. (It is interesting to note that, although she received no recognition for this, Bijuriya had given up her childhood for Nandu and had been a mother-figure to him from the time she was eight-years-old.) When Bijuriya found this out, she realized that it would be best for Nandu if he could be with his uncle. With a broken heart and out of tremendous love for Nandu, she decided to turn Nandu’s heart away from her in order to push him into the arms of his uncle Vikram. She spoke harshly to Nandu and succeeded in getting him to dislike her. Nandu’s heart was broken. Bijuriya feigned wanting money for her time caring for Nandu. She signed over her legal right to Nandu. Then, she hid all the money Vikram had given her into a suitcase filled with Nandu’s toys. She asked her uncle to take the suitcase filled with the money and toys to the airport and give it to Nandu. While at the airport, the suitcase fell open. Vikram and Nandu realized that Bijuriya did not want the money and had given Nandu to Vikram out of love. (Vikram already knew this, I think.) They left the airport searching for Bijuriya. Her boss, Banjo, had sold her to a very bad man. Vikram and Nandu found her on a yacht and were able to rescue her. In the end, Vikram and Nandu got married.
Sonali Bendre did a great job in this film. She’s a very talented dancer. She is pretty. And she is a good actress. In addition to this SRK film, she played the role of Lily, Manu Doda’s girlfriend, in Duplicate. She also played the role of Priya, Aman’s doctor in Kal Ho Naa Ho.
Sunny Singh was a terrific young actor and did a wonderful job in this film. He was a cute young boy. The actress who played the young version of Bijuriya also did a great job and was a darling girl.
I can’t really put my finger as to why, but it seemed like this film wasn’t as polished or cohesive as it could have been. Was it the story line? Was it the director? Was it the music & choreography? It did not have quite the “umph” that I’m used to seeing in Shah Rukh Khan’s films. I do not believe the problem lies with the three main actors. Shah Rukh Khan, Sonali Bendre, and Sunny Singh were all top notch. I think probably the story line and dialogue could have been improved on.
I saw this film for the first time a few months ago. Today, I watched it all the way through once and began watching it again a second time. Shah Rukh Khan was great in all the comedy moments. And I loved hearing his British accent! That was so fun! He did the romance well, as always. And he was a great fighter, too. I felt a moment of more strength coming from him in the scene in the run down hotel room with Bijuriya, after she had been given a half-torn paper bill. I also thought the scene when Vikram was telling Birjuriya about how Nandu had been trying to provide a dowry and find a husband for her was also a powerful scene.
Since betel leaves (betel quid, paan) were in Don: The Chase Begins and they were brought up in this film, I took a few minutes to learn more about Betel leaves (since I’m not familiar with them). I learned that they are valued for a mild stimulant and for medicinal properties. They can be with or without tobacco. They have an addictive psycho-stimulating and euphoria-inducing formulation with adverse health effects (stains teeth and causes oral cancer). Bijuriya’s uncle told Vikram, when he first arrived in India; “If you come to India and not have this, you don’t know India.” At the end of the film, you could see how Vikram’s attitude towards India changed. At his wedding, he put one end of a betel leaf in his mouth and had Bijuriya come close and bite onto the other end of it.
I’d like to go to India someday. And I do want to know India. But, I’m not sure I want to eat a betel leaf. Maybe there’s something else I could eat instead?
Well, I enjoyed watching this film. It was light and fun. I especially like hearing Shah Rukh Khan speak in a British accent. I will watch this film again every once in a while.
Jasmine, you see so many of the same things I do.
I want to watch this again because of the scene where Vikram brings the suitcase full of money to Bijuriya. He seemed so sad in that scene, often with teary eyes. I got the impression that he was very upset that she would sell Nandu that way. I felt that he was testing her to see why she was doing it hoping that it was out of love not greed. Two things made me think so. First he asked her to sign the papers before he offered her the money, as if hoping she would sign them without getting paid off since that would prove she didn't do it for the money. The second was when he encouraged her to consult her lawyer before signing & said to her "It's not too late." And then when he and Nandu found the money in the suitcase at the airport, he was so happy and instantly went to rescue her. All of this indicated to me that by the time he went to see her with the money he knew he was in love with her and no longer wished to take Nandu away from her. Only the conviction that she had truly made herself unworthy would have made him continue with his plan at that point.
A very sad thing related to paan. SRK's dad was quite fond of it according to Anupama Chopra's SRK biography, and he died at age 55 of oral cancer.
I read the biography several months ago. I remembered that SRK's father died of cancer. I forgot, though, that it was oral cancer. That is really sad.
Vikram was really sad when he brought the suitcase to Bijuriya. I think you are right with your impressions in that scene...that he had been so sad that she would sell Nandu that way. I had been thinking that Vikram saw through her actions and knew what really was in her heart. Now I want to see that scene again and look at it from your viewpoint. It makes a lot of sense that way.
I sure loved every second of Shah Rukh Khan in this film.
I didn't mention before, but I was really touched with how Bijuriya, as a child, cared so well for Nandu...making a diaper for him out of her school uniform, feeding him with a bottle by putting the bottle in her dress as if she was breast feeding him, and bathing him...By the way, I thought it was a very creative way for her to bathe him, with her feet in the tub and having him rest on her lower legs. That freed up her hands to be able to bathe him. And it was sweet to see how she was still bathing him eight years later. She took such good care of him.
I was also impressed with how young Nandu felt an instinctive responsibility, since Bijuriya's father was absent, to prepare a dowry and find a suitable husband for her. I think that is unique for a child so young. And it is very admirable.
Regarding Vikrams changing attitude toward Bijuryiya: I got fooled after he saved her from the kidnappers and they danced and sang together. I was thinking that he had fallen for her then. It was one of the surprising moments of the movie to find at the end of the song that his attitude toward her had not changed at all. I want to watch the parts after that again some time to see if I can tell where his heart started to change and he began to hope that she was not the girl he thought she was at first. I don't think there were any clues until he met her about the money and signing documents but I am not sure. It seemed like Shah Rukh only used non verbal cues in that one scene to show what he was thinking inside. I thought that was amazing if so.
The children in the movie were indeed quite wonderful.
I just watched this movie again and I must say it is growing on me. A reason it has not been a favorite of mine is because Vikram was such an unlikeable person for most of the movie. This time I saw that for most of the movie his acting was quite comedic. After the scene where he was drunk and telling Bijuriya of how Nandu was sacrificing his life, he became completely serious. In the remainder of the movie he used subtle non verbs cues to express the changed feelings he was experiencing. He seemed so sad and compassionate toward Bijuriya and Nandu in the final scenes of the movie. He definately was unhappy to see the change in Bjuriya and was half sensing that it was done out of sacrificial love. I wish more Shah Rukh fans would get the chance to see this movie and write some comments here about it.
Nothing special but its nowhere near the worst movies (SRK has done much worse, see Guddu etc.). EBDM is ok, the beginning and end are the worst parts.
I think the three leads have good chemistry, SRK is fun & kind of a **** here, Sonali Bendre is solid but nothing special. The kid was really good which is surprising because kid actors usually suck.
Lol at SRK's english accent, that was pretty cringey. He switches randomly too. I also think the movie is overall too long for such a simple story. The fighting part was completely unnecessary(seems like it was mandatory back then). It dragged a lot and overall was too goofy & medicore.