Today ‘Baazigar’ completes 25 years. We are that old. I remember a Venus cassette cover, with a man wearing a mean pair of sunglasses and a ridiculous looking cap with a pistol in his hand, with two women serenading on each side of his. It was the first time that I saw Shah Rukh Khan after his superb bike riding capabilities in ‘Deewana’ swept me off the floor. There was this bespectacled guy, who looked absolutely normal, nothing like a quintessential Bollywood hero, wore weird clothes with shirt tucked at a much higher waistline yet he felt like a rebel, a sleeping volcano eager to erupt. He felt like the guy that you knew from nearby paanwala nukkad. An average looking, everyday man, made me stand in awe when he pushed off Shilpa Shetty from the roof!
‘Baazigar’ is the story of the anti-hero. It’s the tale of Ajay Sharma who becomes Vicky Malhotra for revenge. To be honest, the director duo in Tide-White shirts ensured at the very beginning that audience must have the strand of sympathy towards our antagonist turned protagonist. The horrifying deaths in the family sets the story and then Ajay aka Vicky’s entry into the Chopra Palace, first through romancing Seema and then intentionally losing to Madan Chopra on the race track, thus giving birth to one of the most famous dialogues of all time, to sweep Priya off her feet makes you wonder about the badassery of this man. All this happened, with the ease of removing a contact lens!
That blood-curdling laugh, with a rod protruding from the abdomen, made Shah Rukh immortal. The way he goes on killing people tells you that this guy meant business. The best part of the film is Shah Rukh and his ease of getting into the character. Be it the funny and silly dance moves of ‘Kitabein Bahut Si’ or the sensuous ‘Ae Mere Humsafar’ or the crazy and still popular at the discotheques ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen’, he excelled in every one of them. And at the climax, when everything is revealed, the audience feels bad for this wronged man, who ended up killing three people, took his revenge from Madan Chopra and begged his mom to let him finally rest in peace. My favourite pick will be, the way his chews the piece of the photo which carried an important piece of evidence.
But it wasn’t Shah Rukh only who made Baazigar memorable. The fair share of fame also goes to many of its characters, who are still remembered fondly by the audience. The caretaker cum enthusiastic detective Babulal, who is suspicious of everyone yet has the unique trait of forgetting the right thing at the right time. I still go ROFL at the scene, where Babulal tries to hammer a nail from its pointed side and then one of his staffs says – ‘Babulal, Yeh Kila Iss Deewar Ka Nahin, Uss Deewar Ka Hai’. Johnny Lever plays Babulal with elan. And who can forget Bajodia Seth, played by Dinesh Hingoo and his unforgettable laugh, at the tea drinking sequence? Even Raju Srivastav had a memorable sequence where he dances on ‘It’s my life’ as if his life depends on it. But the biggest of them all was Inspector Karan, played by Siddharth Ray, who helps Priya in her investigation and in the process ends up singing one of the greatest hits of the nineties – Chupana Bhi Nahin Aata. Friendzoned for life yet smiling – trust me, one feels for this chap!
If villainy is cool, then its coolest customer will be Madan Chopra. Frankly, I’ve never seen such a vile creature in my tryst with Hindi cinema. Madan Chopra betrays Viswanath Sharma by slyly getting his signature on the Power Of Attorney documents, tries to molest Rakhee by saying ‘Tumhare Jaisi Aurat Rahegi Kahan, Soyegi Kahan, Nahayegi Kahan’ and even disowns his elder daughter after her death, for she maligned his image by marrying without his consent. So when he is shown the finger via the similar route of stealing power via Power Of Attorney, under his nose, you feel happy. But when he is slammed to the floor, from the top of the tower, by a bloodied Ajay, you feel vindicated. Fuck yeah! Take that, you slimy filth!
Finally the women of the film. Rakhee, silent throughout the film and erupting at the end, was great as Ajay’s mom. In a way, this was her finest mom character between Shakti and the greatest of them all – ‘Karan Arjun’. Shilpa Shetty, with a nose that was yet to go under the knife, exuded grace and charm in her short-lived role, before she went all plastered on the floor. Kajol, before all her skin complexion went all Micheal Jackson white, did strictly well, despite an author-backed role. This film laid the stepping stone to the pair of Shah Rukh and Kajol, who became immortal on the silver screen, thanks to their sizzling chemistry. Even Resham Tipnis, who played Anjali and made that unfortunate phone call that led to her death and eventual stuffing into the suitcase remains memorable till date.
Music will be a major highlight of ‘Baazigar’. It was Anu Malik’s heyday when he came up with such melodies. Every song of this album was a chartbuster. Even the one that was never shot on screen yet became a song that everyone hummed – ‘Samajh Kar Chand Jisko Aasmaan Ne Dil Main Rakkha Hai’. Even Anu Malik’s rap in ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen’ which goes something like – ‘Main Mila, Tu Mili, Tu Mili, Main Mila, Duniya Jale To Jale, Pyar Karenge, Tujhpe Marenge, Dhak Dhak Dil Yeh Kare, Ha !’ and ‘Na Tu Julphe Jhatak, Na Tu Pair Patak, Arey aise na matak, Dil gaya hai bhatak!’ is remembered by one and all.
25 years is a really long time. And after so many years, if a movie manages to keep you enthralled, it means it was something or you are just another nineties kid!
Well, I prefer both !! Here’s to awesomeness…
Madan Chopra, Aaj Yahan Sailaaab Aayega !!