I knew from the moment that I stumbled upon a song that had Shah Rukh Khan dressed in drag that I had to see this movie. I was not disappointed. I've seen very few Hindi comedies, but most of them left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. I thought maybe I didn't get Indian humour, but I think all I needed was a good dose of old fashioned comic masala, which is precisely what Mahesh Bhatt's Duplicate has done for me. Slapstick comedy, evil villains, great music, mistaken identities: all of it translates into what has become #1 on my list of favorite comedies so far.

First, I have to mention that when I put this film on, for some reason I could not get the subtitles to turn on. However, I really wanted to see it, so on I forged. Something has to be said for a director who can convey the subject matter of his film beyond the barrier of language, which is exactly what happened for me. I knew what was going on from the first frame to the last despite my preschool Hindi (although I did understand some of the dialogues which made me very excited). Without seeing any of the great masala films from the 70's, I imagine that this film has some plot elements that would be right at home (death by television anyone!). However, there was one thing that had my sides splitting that was completely unintentional I'm sure. There is one scene where Babloo gets slammed into a large ceramic looking vase and instead of it falling and breaking, it simply dents a little when it falls. Classic.

Performance wise, this movie belonged to Shah Rukh Khan. Not only does he do a fantastic job of playing the naive, yet completely charming and perfectly innocent aspiring chef Babloo, and his nemesis, the leather wearing, evil gangster Manoo, but he maintains a distinction so clear between the characters that there was no mistaking who is on screen. When Babloo does impersonations of Manoo's tongue tweeks, I couldn't help but laugh hysterically. His nervous energy works in this film and I quite honestly couldn't picture anyone else even pulling it off. This is the Shah Rukh that is an acquired taste for sure with all of his over the top facial expressions and dialogue delivery, but is also a vital component in what makes Bollywood fun!

Duplicate features a full rounded cast too. Juhi Chawla plays Sonia Kapoor, the object of Babloo's affection and his boss. She is exactly as she should be in this film: sweet, comical and totally in her element. Farida Jalal, like Juhi, is always a pleasure to watch on screen particularly when she is given interesting roles like Babloo's strong, clingy, caring and loving Be-Be. Sonali Bendre is good as Lily, Manoo's girlfriend, though not a performance that lingers (though her sexy outfits do make her stand out while on screen). For me, she's the best in the song picturizations.

Have I said I love the music from this film? The picturizations are sometimes cute, sometimes funny, but all the time memorable and absolutely catchy and fun. Usually I post one or two songs I like, but it was so hard for me to narrow down my faves, so I've posted 4 of the 6 songs.

Babloo is probably the sweetest character Shah Rukh has played (though he does comes close in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. How could anyone resist that smile?

Well, what movie would be complete without the standard falling in love song?

Torn between two women is hard I suppose. I love how Babloo continues to snub Lily's advances for his imaginary Juhi. We know where his heart lies.

The tune for Ladna Jhagadna reminds me of a nursery rhyme song or something from The Sound of Music, but regardless it's still instantly catchy. Plus, kudos has to go to the costumers for coming up with Manoo's *ahem* interesting shiny metallic spandex top.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. My dvd drive in my laptop is not working. Argh Dell!!! And there seems to be a lack of any pictures on the web. Darn it anyway.

Final thoughts: I loved this movie so much I want to rewatch it right away. I'm sure there are other comedies out there that might be better, but this one was just perfect for me. I'm starting to get really torn over whether or not I prefer Shah Rukh now or his earlier stuff. Makes me wish I'd grown up watching him.

12 Response to "Duplicate"

  1. theBollywoodFan says:
    December 2, 2009 at 2:06 PM

    Any movie with Juhi AND Sonali deserves tons of respect! I really like the music in this one too! Was in high school when this released, and we were all so looking forward to it (that Mere Mehboob song was *hot*!), but thought the film was mediocre. Probably should see it again sans expectations.

    By the way, I *love* the Wah Ji Wah song...LOVE it. =)

  2. Filmbuff Says:
    December 2, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    Good review Shell. Strange, I have never heard of this movie! I will look for it now or borrow from a friend.

    The best way to become more familiar with a language to begin with and later pick up words and sentences is to watch a movie without sub titles. Well done Shell.

  3. bollyviewer says:
    December 2, 2009 at 5:28 PM

    This one was so much FUN. And SRK totally nailed the two different characters - I loved Babloo and hated Manoo. And oh! I WISH I'd had an invite to the "Japanese" dinner Babloo had cooked and which had Indian spices added on to it by Bebe. :-)

  4. shell says:
    December 2, 2009 at 8:28 PM

    tBf - It's definitely a movie that knows it's a from the 90's but it is just so much fun I could hardly stand it! I adore the music, I've literally had Ek Shararat Hone Ko Hai in my head all day. Wah Ji Wah is also a terrific song (I don't know why I skipped it on my review). I've never wanted to be an eggplant so bad! I think it deserves a rewatch then let me know if you've changed your mind.

    Filmbuff - Admittedly if the subs had worked I would have used them, but there was something about not being distracted by reading that enhanced it for me for sure.
    I think that anyone who has a good sense of humor for classic comedy would enjoy this one. I strongly recommend it, especially if you like Juhi or Shah Rukh. I'm ranking it in my top 10 fav SRK films.

    bollyviewer - Yes, I agree. Manoo was so awful. Even his tight leather pants couldn't make up for his personality, but Babloo... well, I could just eat him right up he was so adorable.

  5. bollywooddeewana says:
    December 3, 2009 at 1:42 AM

    This indeed does borrow elements from the 70's if you want to watch a golden oldie double role extravaganza look no further than the 1972 Hema Malini starrer 'Seeta aur Geeta' i can and would never get bored of that movie

  6. shell says:
    December 3, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    It certainly looks like a good time. I may very well have to see if it's available online or youtube. I need to round out my viewing soon with some classic Bollywood. Thanks for the suggestion

  7. Filmbuff Says:
    December 3, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    Thanks Shell, I will look around for a copy of Duplicate and share my views later.

    Yes I second Bollywoodeewana's reco - Seeta aur Geeta - is a good treat.

  8. shell says:
    December 3, 2009 at 10:06 PM

    Looking forward to that Filmbuff

  9. Jules says:
    December 7, 2009 at 6:44 PM

    I got a real kick out of this movie, even subtitle-less!! I am proud of us for getting what was happening in the movie throughout. I thought he was adorable in it, and hot in the villain role. Great film!

  10. shell says:
    December 8, 2009 at 7:43 AM

    I didn't think Manoo was very hot, but Babloo was SUPER adorable. I may watch more movies now with no subtitles.

  11. Daddy's Girl says:
    December 10, 2009 at 5:36 AM

    Totally LOVE this movie! Definitely one of my favourite SRK films! I could never tire of watching it. So much fun, just classic Shahrukh. And I love 'Mere Mehboob Mere Sanam'.

    Other great (older) films about 'doubles' - 'Ram Aur Shyam' with the wonderful Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rehman and Mumtaz (it was the inspiration for Hema's 'Seeta Aur Geeta') and Sanjeev Kumar in 'Angoor', a classic comedy of errors inspired by Shakespeare. Both are excellent.

  12. shell says:
    December 10, 2009 at 7:29 AM

    Thanks Daddy's Girl. I love movies with double roles so I'll have to check those ones out for sure. Glad to have you back.