Oh Darling Yeh Hai India (1995)
For an actor in the formative period of his career, Ketan Mehta's Oh Darling was quite a risk for Shah Rukh. A film that was a little ahead of its time, in terms of content and presentation, came across as outright ridicluous and was largely misunderstood. For Shah Rukh, it was a bold decision to participate in a film that is perhaps an expression of satire in a country that wasn't ready for it. With fight sequences choreographed to mock the song and dance sequences in the rain, this film was a deep comment that very few people reached out to understand.
This Amol Palekar film, an adaptation of a short story, was at the box office for a lesser time than a hummingbird spends around a flower. Shah Rukh plays a double role, one of Lachchi's husband Kishen, and a ghost who takes the form of Kishen. An old folk story narrated by puppets, this film, just like Swades, was Shah Rukh's attempt at changing his image. The film was critically acclaimed and was a hit abroad, it was also India's official entry to the Oscars that year. However, in India, only fanatic SRK fans made the movie last in the theatres for the short duration that it did.
Prem Lalwani's Guddu is a film that marks a specific era in the career of the superstar. After his brief stint as a negative character in Darr, Anjaam and Baazigar; this was Shah Rukh's first film as a good guy in a stand alone film, having just finished Karan Arjun. Guddu tales a complex tale of human relationships and its predicaments and, barring a few implausibilities and crude dramatic elements, is a sweet film that captures emotions and relations in the right vein.
Ram Jaane (1995)
Of all Shah Rukh Khan films which feature him 'in and as', Ram Jaane is perhaps the worst 'as' to be in. This Rajiv Mehra film shows SRK as a nameless orphan who adopts the name after a priest responds to what his name is with 'Ram Jaane'. SRK makes his return as a villain for the first time after Anjaam and Ram Jaane portrays him as a negative character that is in the grey area and was a very crass and ordinary drama. The film received mixed reactions from the audience and did well at the box office, but is not a film Shah Rukh will be remembered for. However, a true blue fan would say, Ram Jaane why some people didn't like it.
In a year that saw the superstar's Yes Boss, Pardes and Dil Toh Pagal Hai hit the silverscreen; Rakesh Roshan's Koyla was the black sheep of the bunch. A mute Shah Rukh, a damsel in distress Madhuri Dixit and an evil Amrish Puri as an aged scoundrel; the film is an extension of the dead and buried genre of feudal drama. The oppressor inflicts pain and when the lid blows, the oppressed revolt and order is achieved. The melodrama was appreciated for some of the songs but was, in more ways than one, ordinary.
Published in DNA After Hrs (Pune) on November 2, 2012