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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why didn't Raj run?

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During a discussion on movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge on BollyWhat? - which is a excellent Bollywood discussion forum aimed at non-Indian fans of Bollywood - someone made an interesting observation. When Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) returned from London for Simran (Kajol), in their meeting in mustard fields, why did he just stood with his arms stretched and it was she who had to run all the length between them? Didn't he love her as well? Observer was disconcerted by anti-feminist implication of the scene which suggested that woman need to run to their lover and man can haughtily stand with smirk on their face with "you-know-you-want-me" expression.

My reaction, at first, was amazement and surprise at sharp eyes of the commenter and depth of the issue that she to chose to look at scene with. By the way, discussions on this forum are as deep on many Bollywood aspects, which I don't really participate in, but are always refreshing look on Bollywood from Occidental fandom. My second reaction was drastic realization of how true love is perceived in India and in West. Here I mean true love in truest sense, pure genuine love, and not in ironical sense.

Other members quickly pointed that it was Raj who had come all the way from London for her, surely he was not as chauvinists as he is made out to be in this scene? I noted that, and I quote myself

I just saw Pardes ... recently. And this comment, and general comments on this board, and my perception of western world, all merges together in that dialogue of Pardes. It goes something like...''in west, love is give and take; in India, love is just give, give and give more.'' Of course, that does sound like ... preaching, but if you reflect you'd find some truth there.

In context of this movie, why should it matter that Shah Rukh is not running towards her and she is running. She knows she wants him, and he knows she wants him, and that's it, that should be enough for her to run towards him. Where is there a place for even doubt to appear whether his attitude is smug or not? Where is value judgment coming there? Why should you even expect something in return, if you love. I am not saying that all love is like that, but I think true love, from Indian definition should be like that, and we can assume that, this being a movie, their love is pure one. I may not be able to express my views here but I think, THAT is major difference expressed in that dialogue of Pardes.

Original member accepted that her expectation from true love is give-and-take. I can understand that these are expectations of an Indian couple too in real life, and are desirable in long-term relationship, yet we have plenty of example where real true love doesn't bother about reciprocation.