Saturday, October 8, 2016

Inspiration: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

Have you ever bought something sight unseen because it was a movie that featured your favorite actor, or a magazine with an article about a writer you adore, or a picture taken by the best artist? That's what happened with me and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham: I found out it had some of my favorite Bollywood actors in it, namely Kajol, and I plonked down my cash as soon as the DVD was released. As it turns out, the movie is another Karan Johar melodrama, filled with stupidly rich people in stupidly big houses wearing stupidly gorgeous clothes, even when they're waking up in the morning or vacuuming their rugs.

But you know what? It's effective. You get attached to several of the characters, some of the jokes are hilarious, the soundtrack is uneven but overall decent, and it makes me tear up every now and then. The real delight for me, though, is Kajol, who lights up the screen with her flawless comedic timing and her striking looks.

So the plot! Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (or K3G for short) focuses on two brothers, a business student named Rahul and his much younger brother Rohan. Rahul is clearly favored by his father Yash, a wealthy businessman, and his mother Nandini. Rahul falls in love with a vivacious but less wealthy woman named Anjali, and when Anjali's father dies, Rahul marries her against his father's wishes. Yash casts them out. A decade later, Rohan discovers that his brother lives in London, and he journeys off to bring his family together.

Yeah, it's just as contrived as it sounds, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it. Also, my brother decided to borrow my K3G DVD and show it in the classroom, and it was apparently a real hit. For better or worse, this is a Bollywood crowd pleaser.

As a side note, they do eventually reveal that Rahul was adopted. It doesn't affect the plot much, though; it's really just a cheap " Le shock!" moment and a device that allows Rahul and Rohan to marry two sisters.

Rani Mukherji appears in this film as the woman Rahul's father wants him to marry. She's so gorgeous that, if you watch any movie she starred in from the mid 90s in to the early 2000s, you'll notice she's almost always introduced in slow motion, whipping her hair across her shoulder and slowly smiling in to the camera. Seriously, she's so freaking lovely that my friend choked on his own spit the first time he saw her.

And they always do her makeup right: there's usually a strong eyeliner stroke with a slight flick on top of a slightly-warm eyeshadow to bring out her eyes. The one exception seems to be the dark purple eyeliner they put on her in one scene, which is decidedly cool-toned.

I tried to take a few more photos of Mukherji's makeup in that scene so you could see the purple, but the lighting isn't the best.

Also, quick appreciation for the fantastic makeup job on Jaya Bachchan. Her skin looks fantastic and the subtle definition around her eyes really brightens up her whole face.

But since I talked her up so much in the introduction, let's move on to my girl Kajol. Honestly, I just love her. She's not as strikingly, unbelievably gorgeous as Rani Mukherji, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, or any of the other big-name beauties, but the fact that she's so different is part of what makes her stand out. Excluding her light hazel eyes, Kajol's features are not as soft and stereotypically feminine as those of most other Bollywood actresses, and she's well known for embracing a borderline unibrow. Yet this signature look of hers--the beige nude lip and the sharp, super-black eyeliner all around her eyes--really highlights her quirky good looks.

I think it's especially obvious how well this dark-eyes-light-mouth look suits her when you compare her to Simone Singh, who plays Anjali's best friend Rukhsaar. Simone has the eyeliner, too, but it's not quite as thick or as heavy as Kajol's, and her eyeshadow and lipstick are softer pastel pinks.

They do change her look up a bit during the film, including the pinker lip and smaller amount of eyeliner in the top left corner and the heavier, smokier eye makeup in the bottom left corner. Not surprisingly, the former is when Rahul is imagining Anjali interacting with his accepting parents and the latter is when Rahul is imagining practically eating her neck. They're both pretty, but the standard Kajol look is still my favorite.

Let's move on to Kareena Kapoor, who plays Anjali's younger sister Pooja. I've never been a big Kareena fan, in part because her attitude in interviews tends to grate on me, in part because I think it took her a damn long time to learn how to act. But the scene that introduces adult Pooja to the film? Ugh, so good. With her matching lavender bedspread, hairdryer, and pajamas, and her extensive morning beauty routine, she is every bit as fabulous as I wish I was.

Also, see that lipstick? I was on a feverish quest to find that lipstick when this movie came out. Somebody pointed out that it was an Estee Lauder Pure Color lipstick, and the shade looked a lot like Pinkberry. I rushed out and bought it, and while it's a top notch lipstick (and likely the shade Kareena was wearing), it looked awful on me. Sadness.

While I'm not a huge Kareena fan, I think her square face, thin nose, sculpted cheek bones, and smaller, rounder mouth give her an interesting look that is usually highlighted by fantastic makeup. Whoever did her makeup for the scene in the top two pictures, however, did her no favors. The pastel colors don't seem to work on her skin and, mixed with the eyeliner, give her eyes a bit of a muddy look. The lipstick color is very pretty, but the lipliner they paired it with sometimes makes it look like she's sporting a mustache. I mean, am I just mean, or is that look just very unflattering?!

She looks much lovelier in the rest of the movie, though. I especially like the lashy eyes and muted plummy lip they gave her on the bottom left. And while the amount of metallic makeup she wears in some scenes is a bit much, what she's wearing on the bottom right seems very on-trend.

Who the Hell came up with some of these costumes, though? Pooja is supposed to be a bit of a fashionista, but a lot of what she wears is really off-the-mark. The tickery-tackery monster in me almost likes the clashing patterns she's wearing at the top, but a shirt that slopes down in a V to cup your breasts? Just...weird. And oh man, that red latex/pleather atrocity she wears to the "Prom!" (Do London college students have Proms?! Let me know.) Did Kareena piss off the costume department?

She looks beautiful in the Karva Chauth scene, though, with the angled top and the wide-leg pants in those soft pinks and silvers. I highly recommend watching that outfit in action!


  1. Kajol reminds me of Marion Cotillard for some reason.

    1. I think a lot of actresses are pretty because they look young and fresh, but Marion and Kajol both have this very womanly, "adult" look. They have very striking eyes as well!

  2. High school proms are starting to happen what with American cultural colonialism and all :) But college is new to me!

    1. I'm wondering if they picked it because it's an event a lot of people would recognize. I've just never heard of a COLLEGE Prom!