Baghban (or Caretaker) is a 2003 Bollywood film, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini as Raj and Pooja Malhotra. Raj and Pooja are happily married for 40 years. They have four sons:
- The eldest Ajay is married to Kiran, and they have a daughter in her late teens, early twenties: Payal.
- The second eldest Sanjay is married to Reena, and they have a son who is still a child: Rahul.
- The third eldest Rohit is married to Priya.
- The youngest Karan is unmarried.
Raj and Pooja also have an adopted son, played by Salman Khan in a special appearance. He is in love with Arpita, played by Mahima Chaudry, also in a special appearance. They appear to be a loving, harmonious family. However, is this still the case when Raj retires and becomes dependent on his children?
The treatment of Raj and Pooja by their four sons is a central theme in this film. This is put in contrast with the treatment Raj and Pooja receive from Alok. It is notable that Alok does not have any interaction with his four brothers.
Baghban contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Inverted. Raj and Pooja provided their four sons with everything they needed, at the expense of their own desires. However, when they are forced to live with their sons, they force Raj and Pooja to live separately. Both receive a lot of abuse staying at their sons. This does not include Alok, who practically worships them.
- As You Know: In the opening scenes, the characters often say things to each other about their traits, personalities and backgrounds they certainly know already.
- Bitter Sweet Ending: Raj and Pooja do not have to depend financially on anybody, can live in their old house again, close with Alok and are loved by their grandchildren. However, their relationship with their children is completely shattered.
- Covers Always Lie: Salman Khan and Mahima Chaudry only appear in brief appearances and take up less screen time than the other characters. However, they are on the film poster, while the other children of Raj and Pooja are not.
- Crowd Song
- Foreshadowing: When Ajay and Sanjay discuss the invitation of Raj for the Holi Festival, they talk about the money he probably received after the retirement and what he should do with it. Celebrating Holi comes second.
- Forgiveness: Notably averted for a Bollywood Movie. The children of Raj and Pooja beg for forgiveness in the end. (Whether it is genuine or still to get to their money is up for debate). However, Raj severe ties with them and disownes them while even Pooja does not forgive them. Understandable, after their horrible treatment.
- From Bad to Worse:
- First Raj and Pooja has to leave their house and live with their children, since they have not enough money to pay for it. Then, they have to split up, living in different houses. This causes them grieve, but they still are looking forward to living with their children. However, they receive horrible treatment from them. They even do not have any family gatherings anymore.
- And than inverted when after six months Raj and Pooja each move to a different house and things are getting better and better. First they are able to meet again and spend some happy moments. Then, they finally meet Alok, who they haven't seen in a long time. Alok treats them with a lot of love and respect and dreams of living with his parents in one house. Then, Alok gives Raj a car as a present, something he was dreaming about for a long time. Raj and Pooja are able to visit their old house and meet again with old friends and their dogs. And to top it of, it turns out that Raj's book became a best-seller, ensuring their financial security.
- Happily Married: Actually all the couples in the movie, but Taken up to Eleven for Raj and Pooja. Even though they are married for 40 years, they behave like they are a young couple who are madly in love.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Raj and Pooja met Alok when he was living on the street. He offered to clean their shoes, because he wanted to study. Raj completely melts for his innocence and arranges that Alok can go to school and adopts him.
- I have no sons: Raj disownes his four sons after the misery they put him and Pooja through. A bit of inverted with Alok. He is not a biological, but the adopted son of Raj and Pooja. However, in the end, Raj sees him as his only son.
- Jerk Ass Has A Point: Raj uses his old type machine, which makes a lot of noise, to write his book. Even though Sanjay and Reena are not very nice to Raj, they have a point when they say that his type machine is very disturbing.
- Laser-Guided Karma: A very nice one. The abuse of his children prompts Raj to write a book about his life. It turns out his book becomes a best-seller, earning him enough money to solve his financial problems. However, his children won't receive a penny as he disownes them.
- Malaproper: Partially subverted with a café owner and Raj's friend: Hemant Patel. He mangles his Hindi figures of speech, much to the amusement of his wife which, he reveals, is why he does it.
- Mama Bear: DO NOT harras the granddaughter of Pooja.
- Mood Whiplash: The family seems to be a very happy and close one. They make jokes, have a nice dinner and celebrate Holi together. However, Raj then asks his sons that Pooja and he need to live with them. His sons turn out not be very loving after all. The remainder of the film is much darker, where Pooja and Raj receive much abuse from their children.
- Morning Routine: Every morning Raj goes out for a walk with his dogs, which is so scheduled that Pooja opens the door the second he returns. Than they have a nice cup of tea. Played for Drama when they are separated and they cannot drink tea together for the first time in 40 years, which brings them both to tears.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Payal realizes her treatment of her grandmother, Pooja, was horrible after Pooja defends her from a sexual predator and subsequently from Payal's parents.
- Playing Gertrude: Payal is in her late teens, early twenties. Since her grandfather Raj is sixty, it would place her parents - Ajay and Kiran - in their later thirties or early forties. It is also discussed in the movie that Ajay became a father at a very young age. However, Payal is played by Rimi Sen, who was 22 during filming. Kiran is played by Suman Ranganathan, who was 30. And Ajay was played by Aman Verma, who was 32.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Multiple times for Ajay, Sanjay, Rohit and Karan:
- First by Hemant Patel, when they come looking for Raj after he didn't show up. He blames them for splitting up their parents and making Raj cry.
- Then by Payal and Rahul. They are disgusted that Ajay, Sanjay, Rohit, Karan and their wives are only asking Raj and Pooja for forgiveness in order to get to their money, not because they are genuinely sorry.
- And finally, an extended one in the final scene, when Raj delivers his monologue during his book presentation.
- Took a Level in Cynic: Raj. In the first act Raj states that he doesn't need savings after his retirement, since he can count on his sons. However, after their treatment of his children he says in his final monologue that children see their parents as a resource for money, food and shelter until they can take care of themselves. After that, he coldly rejects and disowns his own sons.
- True Companions: Raj picked up some good friends along the way. Right after he has to move in with Sanjay, he befriends Hemat, an owner of a local cafeteria. They become really good friends, treating each other as brothers and helping each other out. It is this friendship that makes the stay at Sanjay bearable for Raj. Raj visits his café every day to escape from the house where he is staying. Raj writes to his wife that he always looks forward to visit the café and dreads returning at the end of the day to Sanjay. Raj is also good friends with his landlord, who vows that he won't rent his house to somebody else when Raj had to leave. These friends are depicted in the end as being closer to Raj than his own children.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Ajay, Sanjay, Rohit and Karan. During their upbringing, they received everything they wished for. However, they do not return the favour. Moreover, they claim that their success in life is based solely on their own capabilities, not the support of their parents.