There's a point in every movie where the fit hits the shan, if you know what I mean. In an action movie it's when Bruce Willis discovers that the bomb is located in an elementary school. In a romantic comedy it's when John Cusack realizes he's in love with the girl his best friend is about to marry. In a Bollywood movie, it occurs an hour and a half into the film, usually during a happy, upbeat musical number to show the disjunction between drama and danceyness.
The problem with the fit hitting the shan in Bollywood films is that so often the point is unbelievable - and it completely divides the film in half. The first hour and a half might as well be a different movie than the second ninety minutes. That's my primary complaint with Baabul, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Rani Mukherjee, Salman Khan, and FPMBF John Abraham.
I was led to believe that this movie was about the relationship between a father-in-law (Bachchan) and his widowed daughter-in-law (Mukherjee), which I thought could be adequately explored to make an interesting, intelligent film. Baabul, instead, is the same old masala just reheated in the microwave with an extra dash of superfluous conflict. Firstly, it's formulaic - guy and gal fall in love, gal doesn't like old man, gal is convinced to marry guy after a few earnest speeches. Oh, and gal's best friend (Abraham, in a dimple-icious role with not much to do but smile pensively, which is a stretch for Abraham's acting skills, admittedly) is in love with her but disappears after the wedding without saying a word. Everything goes along smoothly and without conflict, much like a Sooraj Barjatya film. After the first guy dies, it's time for best friend to reenter the scene as part of father-in-law's plan to make gal happy. There's a little hubbub about widows being allowed to remarry and whatnot, but everything is resolved with a few more earnest speeches at a predictably dramatic moment.
I may be a little harsh, but I think there was so much potential in this subject matter that could have made such a great movie - it's just that Baabul isn't it. It's as though the filmmakers took the most superficial approach possible. The same goes for the songs and the cinematography. The songs were good, and yet some were ruined by Dumb English Lyrics, and the entire film looked like Technicolor on LSD.
It's a good thing John Abraham is just so darn cute in this movie, otherwise I just may have turned it off in frustration.