Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Released: 1998
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Genre, Music
Director: Karan Johar
Starring: Rani Mukerji, Kajol, Shah Rukh Khan, ,
Run time: 177 min
IMDb: 7.6/10
Country: India
Views: 94051


Rahul Khanna and Anjali Sharma were best friends at college. Anjali realizes that she has fallen in love with Rahul but she’s too late because Rahul has already fallen for Tina Malhotra. Heartbroken, Anjali leaves the city. Tina and Rahul get married and soon Tina becomes pregnant, giving birth to a daughter which they call Anjali. Due to complications during pregnancy, Tina passes away. Anjali is brought up by her father, and each year on her birthday he allows his daughter to read one of her mother’s letters. Through these letters she learns that her mother (Tina) knew that another Anjali was in love with Rahul, and vows to bring them together again.
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User Reviews: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is Karan Johar’s first foray into understanding relationships in the Indian family context. This is a film from an era before he got into big cinema and expatriate Indians. The ensemble cast consisted of highly popular or young and upcoming stars like Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Salman Khan and Rani Mukherjee. Rumors are that the film was actually the brainchild of Kajol and SRK who had worked with Karan on Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and believed that KJo had it in him to direct good films. They helped Karan sort out a rather muddled story and had their way with the character development for the most part. It is quite fitting that a young director of 26 yrs would want to explore romantic relationships in the environment of young folks in a college setting. What is the most important factor in love? Is it lust or is it friendship? SRK plays Rahul (the continuation of his DDLJ Raj persona) whose best buddy is the tomboy Anjali (Kajol in a tomboy Simran persona). There is lots of friendship but not much attraction on either side. Then a young, different, attractive young woman Tina (Rani in an excellent hottie role) arrives on the scene and the mixture gets stirred up. Rahul feels the attraction (lust?) for Tina and at the same time Anjali discovers that she loves Rahul, but has no wiles to attract him. Rahul confesses to his best buddy his love for Tina and Anjali leaves the scene and goes away. Tina dies in childbirth but leaves letters for her daughter asking her to make sure Rahul and Anjali hook up again as she felt that she came between the true love they had for each other. The rest of the film deals with Rahul meeting Anjali again only to find her with another man in her life, and how the story gets resolved to give us the obligatory happy ending.

What I did not like about Kuch Kuch Hota Hai –

1. It is like a penny romance with no real deep meaning – I hate when that happens to what otherwise has the potential to be a good film. 2. Everything is stereotyped – relationships are perfect, lives are perfect…. I wish some more exploration of the conflict between love and lust had been done in a more substantial manner. 3. The characters were dressed in Lycra for the entire first half – no doubt to make them look young! But it was kind of annoying… 4. The basketball matches were not really played as per rules were they? Even I know how many steps you can take before it is called walking! 5. I am so conflicted about this film – it is like a candy bar that one cannot help taking guilty pleasure in, but you know that in the end it leaves nothing of substance behind.

What I like in the film:

1. The overall feel-good feel of the film. 2. The story – it begins with a funeral pyre and ends with 15 minutes of copious tears but the middle is funny, romantic and happy. 3. Many moments between SRK and Kajol – this is why the duo was the best romantic pair out there for so long. In many moments when Kajol is a tomboy buddy, in the second half when she is the demure Anjali – she and SRK sizzle on screen. Some moments are my particular favorites – when Anjali leaves and goes off – the entire train station scene is brilliant – Rahul watching the train leave, Anjali watching him. The first meeting between the two at the summer camp, the scene at night on the bench, the second basketball match-up at the camp – the friendship/attraction is palpable. 4. The music – the movie has some of the best music and awesome song picturization. Koi Mil Gaya remains my favorite stage song –I love SRK’s tongue in cheek Elvis impersonation and the contrast between the hot Tina in a short short silver dress and the tomboy Anjali in red overalls! The title song is contemplative and beautifully picturized – sets the stage immediately for the conflict between these three characters. 5. The summer camp stuff is campy to the max – but who will not feel good about a bunch of kids singing, dancing and having fun! 6. The supporting cast is actually very good – Farida Jalal as the Mum, Anupam Kher, Himani, Archana, even Johny Lever. The kids are a bit annoying – but aren’t most film kids? 7. The acting – Shahrukh does extremely well in this film as the young man who is conflicted about his own feelings, unable to sort them out, unable to understand the difference between love and lust, and in the end almost unable to express his true feelings when he does realize them. He also shows considerable maturity as the father, the widowed son – this is a role that allows him to express a lifetime of personal growth and to do it well. Kajol is brilliant as the tomboy who grows up fast, as the demure young woman who has always known her mind but never really expressed her feelings – good girls don’t do that you know! She is consistently good throughout the film – maybe her best role opposite SRK. Rani is excellent as the sexy Tina, even Salman is less annoying than usual.

A word of warning to lovers of serious cinema – there is nothing for you here! But if you want to be entertained by a feel-good film then by all means rent it. If you do not hate SRK and Kajol you could even buy the film – you will watch it more than once! And if you show the film to your non-Indian average movie watcher friends they might get seriously addicted to Hindi cinema.

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