Aaja Naachle only really begins 27 minutes into the movie, when Diya (Madhuri Dixit) goes visit a local politician Uday (usually referred to by his title Raja) about the local theater Ajanta, which he plans to tear down and turn into a mall. Raja offers her pizza he made himself. He likes pizza. She brings up the plans to tear down Ajanta. She asks him not to. He says he will despite.
But not before he offers her pizza.
You evil son of a bitch.
Eventually they make a pact - if she can revive the village's theater life with local talent, the mall deal is off.
Look at this heartless, animal of a man. All that pizza-making and flirtation only covers up his true nature, that of a villain who makes heroines dance on broken glass and shoots henchmen for the heck of it.
Except .. no, wait. Akshaye Khanna's villainous Raja is the fluffiest, cutest villain you will ever meet. Put him next to a sharpei puppy and you'd still be going, "That sharpei puppy is up to no good."
Villain's Log, Day 47: "I made pizza and a cute lady talked to me. Yay!"
And then he watches her perform and likes it and just grins to himself like he's just crushing on her hardcore (which he obviously is, in his own cutesy smug manner). These is not even a pinch of ruthlessness in this man's body.
And then he's just super-cute with the daughter. Is this supposed to be menacing? "I'm the bad guy", followed by a smug but adorable smile. What are we to think?
Oh the venomous exchange of words! Except he naturally takes it as an opportunity to flirt and make puppy eyes at her whilst pretending to actually have some debate about the Ajanta issue. Diya takes it more seriously, providing more fuel to the fire of dramatic tension because, well, somebody has to!
She delivers a healthy dose of "oh snap!" and he's all, "Hee, I like this lady."
This pattern repeats itself.
"Oh, what am I doing here? I just bought these new Ray-Ban's and wanted to show off them and my awesome swagger. Did you know they gave me an ominous background score for these scenes?"
"I am so evil! And adorable. And hot. Do you like ice cream? I like ice cream."
"But not as much as I like kittens fighting. Or you. Whoops, what am I saying? Oh that's right, I'm the bad guy. Grr. Evil things! Fire and brimstone, murky polluted rain ..and then rainbows! Pots of gold! ..Dammit."
"You're a better villain than me, Irfan. That's why I like playing golf with you. Do you like pizza?"
"Oh, you want to sabotage the play due to business profits? Well, that's not cool. Don't you know fairies die whenever you stop believing in the goodness of mankind? Think about it for a minute."
Villain's Log, Day 82: "Got awesome seats at the theater today because I'm an MP. Yay!"
"PS. Really enjoyed the play. 5/5!"
Sadly Diya is leaving to return to the US. Our heroine won! What does our villain do? Curse and retreat back to his lair, possibly kidnapping her daughter as he does so? Not at all. Instead he's like, "Oh, what a shame. Well, I'll give you a call sometime."
And then we have our Starbucks ending. Who knows what the future will bring.. But what we do know is that our terrible villain has left behind the days of evil schemes and all that.
What a relief!
And some bonus cute Khanna!face for you --
File this one in the dictionary, as definition for awesome!face.
"God willing I'll make more guest appearances this worth watching."
...If only , Akshaye, if only.