SRK's character has been burning in the koyle of revenge for many years. Get it? Eh? EH?
Koyla (Ember) is like the cover of a Danielle Steele novel come alive, as horrific as that sounds. The first 3/4 of the film are perpetually in soft focus, where men are judged by their virility and women are either virgins or whores. Muscles glisten. Sweat pours down women's backs. Horses neigh, fires burn, and so forth. It's all a little embarrassing. The last 1/4 of the film turns much more Hindi, as the filmmakers suddenly remember to include a prologue (in the form of flashback) and the requisite 20-years-coming vengeance. But it's really the first 3/4 of the film which define Koyla.
The story: Somewhere in rural India, there is an evil mine owner, Raja Sahib (Amrish Puri). He wears puffy shirts. He drinks a lot. He has a big hairy mole on his face, obviously signifying Pure Evil. When angry, he calls people, "Bloody phool!" He has a large household of hangers-on: his sociopathic brother, Jirgwa (Salim Ghouse), his mistress, Bindiya (Deepshika), and his provider of fake Viagra pills, Vedji(Ashok Saraf). Vedji's son (Johnny Lever, in a rare serious-ish role) is the house jester and ventriloquist. Oh yes, and how could the PPCC forget the mute, hunky stable boy, Shankar (Shah Rukh Khan).
OMG, his hair.
OMG, his shirt.
OMG, his sociopath brother.
OMG, his ventriloquist.
OMG, his hunky stable boy!
In the same village, there is a happy-go-lucky girl, Gauri (Madhuri Dixit). Gauri has an army of pre-pubescent friends, and she enjoys eating marijuana-laced cookies with them and then dancing around the fields, high. See first item number. This is as much as she gets in the way of background.
Gauri and her child friends during their marijuna-induced romp.
If you cover the mullet portions with your fingers, it's really not that bad.
One day, Raja Sahib spots Gauri (presumably still high) and decides he must bed her. Preying on Gauri's greedy uncle and aunt, an exchange is made and Gauri soon finds herself in Raja's household, marrying him against her will. She is understandably appalled (more on Amrish Puri's appallingness later), and one evening, Shankar hears her cries. Forming an alliance with Johnny Lever, Shankar decides he must save Gauri. Meanwhile, Raja Sahib keeps getting drunk, demanding that Bindiya get naked, and then falling asleep before anything comes of it. Bindiya, being the Whore (yes, Gauri is the Virgin; she may eat marijuana-laced pastries with minors, but she doesn't just put out for anyone!), goes to the stables and proclaims that she needs the hunky Shankar for some sex, toot sweet. Except the man turns around: it's not Shankar, but sociopathic Jirgwa! We couldn't tell! Their mullets are so similar from behind! There is an attempted rape scene which is truly disgusting in how it lingers on the eroticism of the act, and then finally Shankar comes to the rescue. He is beaten, and once again the camera lingers in ways which made the PPCC uncomfortable. Ugh, it was all just so wrong.
The latest novel to hit the Romance section: Wounded Hearts: The Stable Hand and the Maiden.
We should note right now that we spent most of this film: