How Baghban was basically a check-list for Indian parents on how to guilt trip their kids

Starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini, Baghban is one of those films that parents absolutely love and the kids wish never existed.

Remember how every argument goes with your parents? However reasonable you may be trying to be (at least in your own mind), it will always end in emotional blackmail. Parents will always try and force a guilt trip you in whatever it is that they want you to do and that’s basically why Baghban was made. This BR Chopra movie is all the ammunition your parents will ever need to throw random statements about love, ill-treatment, selfishness or kicking them out of the house when they get old. Or now… It’s not like there’s ever any muharat for emotional blackmail.

Baghban outlines the life of Raj Malhotra, played by Shah Rukh Khan Amitabh Bachchan, and his wife Pooja, who is portrayed by Hema Malini. Raj and Pooja have been married for 40 years, and have sons for each decade that they were married. While the two of them seem like the only sane people in the family, it gets kind of hard to like them when your mom quotes scenes from the movie just because you didn’t go out to buy dahi like she’d asked you to two minutes ago.

1. Introducing perfect parents who would sacrifice anything for their kids

You would often find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster with this hyperbolic representation of abuse in the family. In the first few shots, between all the “cleverly placed” advertisements for its sponsor, Tata Tea, Baghban establishes that everybody loves Raj. Be it people at his bank – where he has worked for decades as an accountant or random people walking in the park like him – everyone is all jolly around him. He lives with his perfect wife in that perfect house where they spend the days of their perfectly happy marriage until God knows when. And when it is this perfect, you know sh*t is ’bout to go down.

Raj may be likeable and all but Pooja is a bit meh! Legit two minutes of screen time and she already has a catchphrase- “Tum nahi sudhroge“. Anyway, even after 40 years of marriage, they’re still not over their honeymoon phase. They romance away their days in the house until disaster strikes…

It seems like a nice and happy family, until we notice that this guy is there…

When was the last time you ever saw this dude in a nice-guy role? (Or any role really) Also, one of the bahus has streaked hair and that’s Bollywood’s way of telling you that she’s a vamp, so that’s there. And, the daughter is in that teenage phase. That’s never good either.

By the way, who cast this lot? Seriously, were the producers so low on budget after Amitabh, Hema, and Salman that they let anybody waltz into the audition?!

2. The ‘Sharmaji ka ladka

Anyway, near 20 minutes into the movie, we are introduced to Prem Alok (Salman Khan). And he is the most sanskari boy ever! Like, EVER! Seriously, he greets his adoptive parents with a “charan sparsh” over the phone. Boy, really?

While most of us only talk about thinking of parents as Gods, Alok walks the talk. He literally prays to a photo of them at his mandir!!! But, even the obedient, sanskari thing doesn’t keep him from going for a love marriage with his girlfriend “Arpeeeta”.

3. Stereotypical money-hungry kids

Meanwhile, things start to unravel with the biological kids between more inbuilt Tata Tea commercials. From the looks of it, the kids only bank on their parents for financial security and are after their “jayedaad” and stuff.

Then there’s a Holi scene for no reason other than the writers trying to say, “You see this happiness? You see it? I’m gonna kill it!” And then they do… After what will probably be their last family dinner together, Raj and Pooja drop the bomb on their kids.

 

The parents want to move in with their children and they have left it up to them to decide who gets to keep them. Obviously, we saw this coming but the kids are pretty freaking insensitive to their own parents. These kids are so bad, that for once, even you would throw a fit and say, “Bhagwan aisi aulaad kisi ko na de.

Fast forward 15 minutes of tearful drama, Raj and Pooja are SEPARATELY going to live with their children and then swap after six months because apparently, that totally makes sense!

4. Bramhastra: Parents crying (to get the ones in your living room all weepy)

Now, thanks to their ungrateful, privileged little children, Raj and Pooja’s only job is to talk on phones, read letters and bawl their Goddamn eyes out!

Oh! Also, they face abuse every now and then, courtesy – said ungrateful, privileged children (and random car salesman).

Raj finds solace in writing a book about his love life but it’s still not enough to deal with the constant mental harassment.

One rape attempt and a broken chashma later, Raj and Pooja decide to not give a crap about their kids anymore and get back together. BTW, Raj conveniently leaves behind the manuscript of his book on his way to meet his wife.

The couple finally reunites after six months on a train station and they decide to pull a full-on dramatic slo-mo run as they carelessly ignore their luggage. Aren’t they like super-poor now? Seriously, check-in your freaking luggage! Jejus!

5. Adarsh-ness intensifies

Anyway, they soon head to the town where they first had sex (really did not need to know that, but thanks, Baghban) and behave like they’re 20 and enjoying the bliss of that summer love. But wait a minute, Alok is magically here and he ain’t gonna let his parents have 2 seconds of peace. Seriously… HE SLEEPS. IN. THEIR ROOM!

He’s a little extra, isn’t he? “Arpeeeta” isn’t far behind. She’s blindly accepted her husband’s religion and oh my parents, there’s two of them now.

6. Parents always know what’s best

Back to the book Raj left behind, this one unimportant dude decided to publish it in the author’s name without even asking for his permission. First of all, wow! Anyway, he brings with him a cheque for Rs 10 lakh because that’s what writers got paid in 2003 apparently…

Raj is now suddenly famous, as his abusive children and amateur writing skills led him to the Booker’s Prize AND being on the local daily’s front page. They might have gone a bit too far with this one. Now that they are rich and famous, the four chindi kids are looking to make up for things. Like seriously, I can’t even…

At an event held for Baghban, the kids show up uninvited and expect their parents to happily accept them. TBH, my goal in life is to be as confident as this dude:

7. Ignoring your parents will land you depressed, loveless and broke

But thankfully, the old couple has some sense slapped into them and they are just about done wiping their kids’ dump any longer. About time!

After one looooooong, speech about generation gap, besaharam young peeps and savage taunts, Raj and Pooja simply blow their kids off, to live happily ever after by themselves.

The moral of the story is that parents have their own sense of independence. Trust only your spouse and if your kids are mean, tell them to GTFO. Ah! What a happy and totally appropriate family drama, innit?

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