How to Play the Awkward Miffed Lover

It happens to everyone at some point. We all hate this situation. You land the girl of your dreams, you take her to a fancy dinner party, and just when everything is going your way, her ex-lover crashes the scene. With the heavenly voice of a playback singer, the new contender bursts into dramatic song, calling out his passion with your girl in front of EVERYONE.

Plus, the more the song goes on, the more you realize you’re trapped–any interruption would only backfire. And on top of it, your girl is getting embarrassingly emotional.

So what to do? It’s clear everyone in the audience is just cheering for those two to reunite, leaving YOU with the ugly villain label. The rules of the game prevent you from simply cutting the song off short—you have no option but to helplessly be made a fool. It’s such an unfair tactic, and heroes of Bollywood films LOVE to use it.

In times like these, we reflect on the inspiring behavior of greater men. They too were placed in these compromising and uncomfortable situations. Each one had their own style, their own method of handling the filmi fire life dealt them.

As I see it, you have five main options to choose from. Let us examine their protocols below.

The Vinod Khanna: Get Angry

During the beautiful love ode “Koi Nazarana Lekar” from Aan Milo Sajna (1970), Vinod Khanna shoots daggers from his eyes at the shameless flirt Rajesh Khanna.

Option 1. Get angry. It’s bad enough that you showed up to this event in a lime green tuxedo. Complete the look and let your face turn pea green with envy. Who cares who judges you? Be a party-pooper and scowl your way through the song, sucking the joy out of everyone else’s fun.

The Rehman: Blush

Ugh. Nothing worse than having your own crimes turned into public poetry. Although it’s a black-and-white film, you can see Rehman turn a hot pink during Guru Dutt’s classic lament “Jaane Woh Kaise” from Pyaasa (1957).

Option 2. Blush. You’re guilty and there’s no hiding it. Don’t make eye contact with anyone! Instead, mentally review the cquestionable ethical decisions you took along the path that led you to this debacle. You will realize what a jerk you’ve been, and although you have to stay the course, colour will rise to your cheeks.

The Raj Kapoor: Play it off as a joke

Always a goofball, Raj Kapoor attempts valiantly to make light of the humiliating situation wrought by Dilip Kumar singing “Jhoom Jhoom Ke” from Andaz (1949).

Option 3. Play it off as a joke. You’re at a dinner party, after all and this is no time to aggravate the situation. Keep that bow-tie straight and act casual. With enough non-chalance, maybe the party-goers will think it’s only a bit of fun among friends?

The Rishi Kapoor: Give up

Horror and resignation overwhelm Rishi Kapoor’s face during Tariq’s performance of “Kya Hua Tera Wada” from Hum Kisise Kam Nahin (1979)

Option 4. Give up. Just give up. How could you have not known of this beautiful subverted love story earlier? This is entirely your fault. You’re overwhelmed with moral guilt and regret–do the righteous thing and withdraw your nomination from the ballet entirely. In this way, you can quickly drop the villain label and return to your proper place as hero!

The Pran: Enjoy the show

Pran doesn’t ruffle a feather during Shammi Kapoor’s heartfelt and passionate “Dil Ke Jharoke” from Brahmachari (1968). But hey, when you’re as devastatingly sophisticated as Pran, you wouldn’t have time for these amateurs either.

Option 5. Enjoy the show. After all, who’s worried? This other guy has nothing on you, you suave gift to womankind.  Keep the entertainment coming! Oh, I’m sorry, honey, are you crying? Here, take my silk handkerchief. You might need it.

So the next time you hear the tinkerings of a tragic song start on the piano behind you, don’t panic. There is a way out! Just pick an approach from the textbook of Hindi films. If classic Bollywood has taught us anything about these moments, it’s that they can and will happen all the time. Tell us whose approach YOU prefer!

-Mrs. 55

11 thoughts on “How to Play the Awkward Miffed Lover

  1. Great post !

    The moment I started reading it, the song & scene from “Brahmachari” loomed large – Pran’s seemingly oblivious & nonchalant presence 🙂 Despite the heavy-hearted serious song, one can’t help but grin (&, at the same time, get angry) at Pran’s “innocence” & self-centredness. And also his egotism & cockiness – almost saying ‘let him sing his heart out, let her cry her eyes out, I”M the one going home with the trophy. So there!
    What me worry 😉

    A slight twist, but with the essential trio, in “Love in Tokyo” – “mujhe tum mil gaye humdum…”. Joy Mukherjee’s growing concern as he begins to realise the change in his lady love’s leanings midway through the song …. and Pran’s antics throughout the song, culminating in taking charge of the heroine …. This song seems to have almost all the nuances you’ve listed in some form or other, played by the 3 actors.

    • My favorite is always Raj Kapoor in Sangam, “Dost dost na raha.” Forever the tragic misguided misunderstanding triangle of how love can go so horribly wrong when a third party is brought in.

      • Ah fantastic point! Dost Dost Na Raha is a brilliant song, but doesn’t quiiiiiite make this list because instead of suffering through the rival singing a tragic song, it’s Raj Kapoor himself singing tragically after his own return from abroad! I was never rooting for Rajendra Kumar–Raj Kapoor is such a tragic hero in this film, no one wants to see such a nice guy lose! Still, the mis-en-scene (framing the parties in a truly awkward triangle) is priceless in this song, so thanks for the comments!

    • Thank you! And hahaha, I completely agree with you. Pran is really out of control in this song–he’s practically snickering! But I was pushed over the edge when he patronizingly passed her his handkerchief–no on can pull these moves off like Pran. It’s so outrageous and great! And you’re right, he gives a fantastic performance in Love in Tokyo as well–it’s a character he perfected over and over again!

  2. I support Vinod Khanna, although I would never have worn a green suit to any party. You can’t let some dude come claim your date away from you!

    • Seriously, that hideous lime green tuxedo makes my list of 5 WORST outfits worn in Hindi films–stay tuned for the upcoming post! I think The Vinod Khanna the protocol most men default to–and for good reason!

      • Oh come on, nobody can get that angry with Rajesh, can they? 😦 He’s too cute to be raged at. 😀 -grins-

        I think I will go for Raj Kapoor’s method in Andaz! Act casual, and once everyone’s gone… get angry? But it’s too hard to get angry at Dilip Kumar either…

        I’m just glad I’m a girl.

  3. It definitely takes a lot of guts to scowl at a man as close to perfection as Rajesh Khanna–one Khanna deserves another! But yes, being a girl in these situations is usually a better way to go…although look what happened at the end of Andaz! First time being an innocent lady did not quite pay off…

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  5. You missed one .. “Be oblivious”.

    Several times the maiden’s current squeeze is unaware that the guy singing (mostly gently tapping away at the piano) is a past beau. Often, the guy playing current lover is Ashok Kumar. The tortured soul at the piano is often already known to said current lover as a friend/acquaintance or has saved his life. An added complication can be that current lover is an older guy and considers the former beau as his protege in some way. Even if he knew about lady love’s past, Ashok Kumar was quite sophisticated and suave enough to act charming about it! If he can’t beat ’em, at least he can enjoy the music..
    Examples:
    Chalo ek baar phir se: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE5q9kst-Zc
    Dekha hai zindagi ko: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAR3dde_U8Y (a very OTT Sharmila)
    Geet gaata hoon main: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n4iC-6tb9o (not Ashok Kumar)

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