24 – « Koyla » of Rakesh Roshan (04/07/1997)

Know that I will perhaps spend time here or on the contrary leave a lot of mystery, I have not yet decided !
We will see together where this column leads.

We are here with a film from one of my favorite couples : SRK – Madhuri Dixit (And we will very fortunately have the chance to meet them again a few times during this #SRKathon).

The characters first of all:
Shankar (SRK), mute young man, devoted and faithful servant (like a dog yes, and the parallel is not fortuitous) of Raja (Amrish Puri).
Raja is a rich man, rather bad, surrounding himself with a few idiots, themselves quite, if not very, mean.

He is also accompanied by a beautiful young woman at his service for… well, you’ll see.
Finally, we will follow Gauri (Madhuri Dixit), a free and independent young woman with a strong temperament.

The story as we discover it :
Raja, having a pronounced taste for youth (I weigh my words but you will understand easily), becomes infatuated with Gauri and, not being able to get married otherwise, decides to use cunning (and especially the photo of Shankar).

The poor Gauri, blinded by the growing love she feels for the sweet young man glimpsed, is persuaded to get married. She will discover the horrible truth too late, during the wedding, when she sees Shankar distributing the flowers to throw to the bride and groom.
(And even if we know it before her… this moment is terrifying !)
There follows a fainting, an attempted rape, threats and even, a little later, an aborted suicide attempt thanks… to Shankar !
It’ll finally be the occasion for our 2 protagonists to discover on the one hand the mutism of our hero, on the other the atrocious stratagem put in place by Raja.

The story will get even more complex as you go along so that you never have a dull moment. Between romance, action, drama and thriller, this film is a real concentrate of the best hero (able to express himself only by the look), the best heroine (in love, free and strong), the best villain (is always perfect in figure authority), the best musics (you should easily recognize the main theme which is none other than Vangelis – Conquest of paradis. You don’t know it ? Let me refresh your mind : https://youtu.be/WYeDsa4Tw0c ) but also the best comic duet (since we again find Johny Lever accompanied by Ashok Saraf).

I have to admit that I was very skeptical before my first viewing: I’m not particularly fond of action-adventure movies at first, and then, I say it and repeat, I love the romance in the movies.
(That and the explosions, but we’ll come back to that).
Finally, it remains a film from the 90s and it is not always a universe and a culture with which I can identify or whose codes I can easily understand.

Still, I was on the wrong track !
While it is true that 2-3 things necessarily escape me (Do I bring up now the subject of a song about cannabis with children or do I wait a bit…? ^^), that and the sound of hits given are always the same (hit on the face, stomach, or even on the back, the noise will be the same… Yes yes…^^), apart from these very small things, I must admit that I completely let myself take in the whirlwind of Koyla.

(I make a small (new) parenthesis : at this point, you must be wondering the meaning of the title… Coal ! That’s it…
Oh no ? Do you need more? Ok, I’ll continue my story then !)

We discover during the movie that Shankar’s devotion to Raja comes from the fact that he has taken him in after the murder of his parents. While Shankar’s father worked in Raja’s… coal mine (I see that some are following !), he discovers diamonds and make the mistake of speaking of it a bit too openly. Two men will take him down later to retrieve the diamonds and, since 8-10 year old Shankar witnesses the scene, he is silenced by a handful of fiery… coal (Good !!) inserted into his throat.
Fortunately, he will have the opportunity to designate the assassins who will be duly arrested and executed, leaving Shankar with more or less good care of Raja having taken pity on him.

Finding out that his adopted father betrayed him and, at the same time, cheated on his own wife is a real blow.
The sequel will of course not fix their relationship which will end in a big « Boom » (I said I liked explosions !!^^).

To top it off, this film highlights the strengths of its actors : speaking with the eyes for SRK, instilling respect and fear for Amrish Puri, making people laugh (Never stupidly) for Johnny Lever and finally/above all… dance to make you lose your mind for Madhuri Dixit.
This fabulous actress is also an outstanding dancer whose every number danced is a delight!
I could watch her for hours…

In short, very good actors brought together, mythical music and a scenario that holds in suspense from beginning to end with twists, emotion, and even explosions, I say: Banco ! (Yes, I’m getting carried away ! But I really like this movie)


Post-Scriptum : I could also have mentioned the way Gauri and Shankar bond day after day, which is absolutely beautifully brought to the screen, Shankar’s gradually shaken confidence in Raja, the way this one imposes his power on all… Because all this was also approached with a great sensitivity and a great work on the characters by the director. Which is important to notice (I think) for a mostly action movie.

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