Darr ★★★★½

I have very mixed feelings about Darr. Darr means fear, which is frankly an emotion I didn't feel a lot while watching this movie. I chose to watch Darr on Halloween night, and I may have had too high expectations of how scary it would be. Creepy, yes, truly scary, not so much. It does stand out as one of Shahrukh Khan's best performances that I've seen, and this is movie 30 for me, so that's saying quite a bit. It's a must watch just for Shahrukh Khan's monologues alone.

SRK plays Rahul, who is obsessively in love with his college classmate Kiran. Or should I say, K-k-k-k-kiran, the trademark way he always stutters her name. Kiran has no clue that Rahul is obsessed with her, at first. She is almost married to her fiance, Sunil (played by Sunny Deol). Sunil is rather a jerk in a couple of scenes that fake the audience out that it's Rahul jumping out at her. There's one in particular to do with water that was my only really heart palpitating moment.

Rahul is in his own little dream world, talking to his dead mother about his girlfriend, Kiran, and obsessively drawing on the lips of huge pictures of Kiran he projects on his bedroom walls. He calls Kiran repeatedly on the phone, "I love you, K-k-k-k-kiran.", which sends Kiran into a near breakdown. When Kiran and Sunil go ring shopping, it sends Rahul into a rage and he shoots at Sunil. He disguises himself as a drummer to stalk Kiran at the family's Holi celebration, smearing her with vermillion.

After Sunil and Kiran marry, Rahul becomes more and more devious. He ultimately finds out where they are honeymooning and follows the couple to Switzerland. A phone call from home finally alerts Sunil that Rahul is the stalker, and Rahul is finally killed in the end.

So, what's amazing about the focus of the film, is that SRK gets so much screen time, he's almost the hero of the film. It's sort of sick in a way, and from what I gather of the audience reaction in India, Rahul WAS the hero of the film, and lauded for his obsessive love. Maybe it's the 20 years distance we have now, and our views of stalkers have changed. I am viewing the film after seeing SRK play the romantic hero in dozens of other films. Indian audiences in 1993 had only seen SRK in a couple of other films, also as an anti-hero, and this is the film that was his breakout role that shot him to superstardom. The charisma is there. I just couldn't find him really truly creepy most of the movie, as those chubby cheeks don't have that connotation to me. I've seen other actors transform themselves into creepy roles, like Robin Williams. I think part of the problem in my perception is the musical score of the film. It's just not creepy and scary enough in the parts that it needs to be. I will give you the romantic numbers that are Rahul's dream world, but the score could have set a more frightening tone and didn't in key scenes.

This does have the marks of a Yash Chopra lush Bollywood production, much higher level than the usual. And let me just say, I can understand why Sunny Deol was pissed. SRK totally stole the show, and you can see how SRK won Yash Chopra's admiration right there in the sheer number of minutes he gives him on screen. There's a reason this is a classic -- SRK's performance. Just don't expect to be terrified.

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