Revisiting an old film may lead you to see things with a fresh pair of eyes. Costumes are not so much ‘vintage’, as they are tacky. Humour that tickled then might be problematic now. Once the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia are off, it’s easy enough to see a once-beloved film for what it is, warts and all. And often, that comes with realising just how bizarre its plot is. Which brings us to Karan Arjun. Released in 1995, it starred Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan as brothers, a casting coup that would be impossible today. When they are brutally killed by a scheming uncle, their distraught mother (Rakhee, perennially cast as the weepy mom) asks the Goddess Kali to bring them back. They’re reincarnated, find out about their past lives via monochrome flashbacks, meet, and take back what’s rightfully theirs. To celebrate 25 years of the film’s release, here are five of its most ridiculous scenes:
1. The ‘Jaati hoon main’ dance
Reincarnated Shah Rukh is a horse trainer. Rich girl Kajol wants to learn horse riding. Obviously, shenanigans ensue at the stable. They, very literally, have a roll in the hay before breaking out into dance moves that can only be described as awkward. What makes the forced sensuousness of the scene funnier is that it’s interspersed with reaction shots of the horses. If animals could talk, this is a voiceover we’d want to hear.
2. Johnny Lever defying the laws of gravity
Karan Arjun not only asks you to suspend your disbelief when it comes to reincarnation, but apparently gravity as well. While Johnny Lever gets several moments to showcase his comedic chops, this is one in which the humour is unintentional. Standing at ground-floor level he casually tosses a top-secret note to Kajol…who catches it on the first floor window. The shoddy editing only amplifies the ridiculousness.
3. Salman punching with both fists simultaneously
Salman Khan’s never met a movie he didn’t want to be shirtless in. The movie sets up his brawn with a scene of him pummelling equally muscular men in shady underground rings for cash. But even that doesn’t prepare you for this scene, in which he tackles the village goons by punching them off with both arms at once. Not since Henry Cavill’s reloading arms in Mission Impossible: Fallout have we been more transfixed by a fight sequence.
4. The brothers find out about their past lives
Let us set the scene by telling you about the one that precedes it: Shah Rukh, using only a handheld catapult propels a pebble through the windshield of a police van, instantly killing the cop at the wheel. Salman, the prisoner, rolls out as the vehicle hits a tree and IT instantly bursts into a ball of flame. Nonplussed, he then vaunts onto a bike driven by his girlfriend and Shahrukh as they ride off. Next scene: Shah Rukh reveals he and Salman are the reincarnations of brothers Karan and Arjun, with photographic evidence to back it up. Far from being rattled, Salman accepts the news placidly, clearly the result of a concussion from the previous scene.
5. Every flashback scene
One of the side effects of reincarnation is pesky flashbacks when you least expect them. Like when the sight of your girlfriend’s sparkly bangles during a fun dance number reminds you of your tragic past-life mother, causing you to break out into a sweat. Or when your opponent’s fighting style reminds you of your past-life killer’s and you’re so filled with rage, you win the match you’re meant to lose on purpose so you can collect 10,000 bucks on a bet. That these flashbacks only occur in photo-negative tones accompanied by dramatic music makes them stick out all the more.