Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita, co-hosts of the Khandaan podcast, wrap up their re-watch of the Khan-debuts with Deewana. This 1992 blockbuster is the movie we chose as Shahrukh Khan’s debut feature despite his earlier appearance as a supporting character in the artsy In Which Annie Gives It To Those Ones (1989) and his official debut as a lead in Hema Malini’s Dil Aashna Hai, which released later in 1992.
Shahrukh is an electrifying presence in this movie, waking up the audience from its Rishi Kapoor-induced stupor when he makes his appearance in the second half, riding a motorcycle through the streets of Bombay, singing “Koi na koi chahiye…” 1992 was a banner year for SRK – in the history of Hindi cinema, nobody has ever had a debut like him. Signed on to five films (Dil Aashna Hai, Deewana, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Chamatkar, and Idiot) on the strength of his popular TV presence, SRK cartwheeled on to the scene with a brash energy and a willingness to upend everything in sight, immediately rendering everything and everyone before him slightly dated and old-fashioned. This is particularly evident in his scenes with Rishi Kapoor where the two of them appear to be acting in two different movies.
Asim, Sujoy and Amrita agree that Deewana is quite the worst film out of the three Khan debuts. If the second half of the movie features SRK laying the foundations of his obsessed creep/lover persona, the first half of the movie is interminable and stars Rishi Kapoor as a schlubby pop star who gets faux-murdered for his inheritance after successfully wooing the leading lady who looks young enough to be his child. Said lead is Divya Bharati, whose remarkable career in Hindi cinema spanned roughly 18 months during which time she starred in 14 films – an unbroken record to this date. Her tragic death under suspicious circumstances a year after the release of this movie is perhaps one of the only reasons to re-watch this film unless you’re a SRK completist.
Deewana also has the weakest soundtrack of the three debuts but it scores highly on nostalgia. Sujoy was the only one with strong opinions – he’s a big fan of the Rishi Kapoor number, “Sochenge tumhe pyaar“.
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