26 September 2000 | adasrules
ShahRukh Khan needs good directors.
Reaching a career high with DDLJ, SRK has managed to bring us a string of above average movies including Mega-hits Dil To Pagal Hai and 1998's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The years 1999/2000 saw 'King Khan' make some seriously trashy films - the forgettable Baadshah (SRK ego booster) and the overhyped PBDHH; an inexplicably bad movie, and the 'unable to find an audience cause it was an art film', "Hey Ram".
Shahrukh Khan is a talented actor and I still rate him above one hit wonder Hrithik Roshan. The fact is he needs to dump Aziz Mirza and Juhi Chawla - his chosen heroine for these awful films, and team up with some good directors. The 'Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman' and 'Yes Boss' char aren't working.
Mansoor Khan's 'Josh' is an example of what I'm talking about. Shahrukh's character is more of an antihero and it allows him to tap into the intense badboy streak in him he, gave up on, in films like 'Daar', because he was worried about becoming typecast - see Ashutosh Rana. Mansoor Khan lets SRK bring out his character and tune it to perfection. Since the film took 4 years to make there is a maturity in his character.
Max, is one half of Max and Shirley, the movie's 2 protagonists. He's arrogant, rude, violent, bitter and laid back. He oozes with attitude and charisma. SRK makes Max someone the audience sympathize with one minute and then hate the next. She's the cute mischievous girl next door, in awe of her brother but slowly coming into womanhood herself.
Eventually, Shirley finds herself having to choose between the man she loves and her domineering brother's intense hatred for him. Aishwarya Rai pulls off one of her greatest performances ever - sans make up and designer outfits. Actress wannabes, this is acting!
On screen chemistry with Aishwarya Rai is brilliant, especially as they play siblings and not love interests. On screen rivalry with Shard Kapoor is the basis for an otherwise passable love story. Similarities with Romeo and Juliet and Mansoor's earlier QSQT are apparent.
Eventually it is a case of actors outperforming a film. As the opening credits appear with a mean soundtrack, Josh instantly struck a chord with every testosterone charged male out there. If only the end had not been so disappointing. I guess after Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai, the audience was expecting more. Mansoor, what happened? The first half of the film was excellent. Set in a quaint sea town in Goa, where gang wars spill out onto the streets everyday. The west side story take off visible in the opening number 'Sailaru, Sailare'.
The film loses steam in the second half with a property deed subplot but picks up to an above average climax and then losing balance altogether to come crashing down to a ridiculous anticlimax. I guess even good directors run out of ideas. At least the film did well at the box office - I suppose with 2000 being the year it's been so far, producers are lucky just to break even.
SRK - you were spot on with this film. Give up producing and stick to acting...none of us need another ABCL debacle. You will be remembered as someone with dignity and persona.
As to the film itself - it's worth watching once. Skip the end if you want to, but the microcosm of Max and Shirley's world in the first half is reason alone to watch it. Something to watch on a Sunday afternoon I guess. A poor ending lowers this to average fare.
PS: This was the first time I saw SRK scared in a movie, and I loved it.