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Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna October 13, 2006

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

Eight years ago, Karan Johar made his debut with the much loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; most of us who would have seen it probably remember the line Shahrukh says when asked to define love…”Pyaar Dosti Hai” and the rest of the movie tried to hammer that point home. Well, the tide seems to have turned now…two minutes into KANK you have the same SRK sermonizing a would-be-bride about how “dosti” and “pyaar” are oft mistaken and the movie is all set to prove this newfound thesis.

The plot of this movie (as you would probably know by now) is about people stuck in bad marriages finding true love outside it. The basic problem of KANK is the bad marriage itself. For instance, the rift in the SRK-Priety relationship is due to the more familiar ego clash – successful career woman who doesn’t have time to spare for family vs comparatively less earning “loser” husband. This definitely wasn’t a case of no love lost between the two…atleast the way it is shown in the movie. The bigger problem is the Abhishek-Rani relationship – there is no justification provided for Rani’s behaviour throughout the movie. In fact her characterization is the biggest flaw of the movie – her role is conviniently written just to prove that friendship is not equal to love. I hated her all through the movie and was very happy when Abhishek leaves her towards the end. As for SRK, you do feel sympathy for him initially but his post-interval behaviour changes that. In recent times, I’ve never seen the words “bold” and “mature” so overused to describe a film like this. Believe me, if you watch this flick the culmination of events is quite pragmatic….though I wouldn’t agree with the way SRK and Rani’s personalities are elevated in the end….like some noble souls who have found true love with a small twinge of regret that they had to tread a path fraught with broken hearts. Also, SRK and Preity’s kid is conviniently forgotten while writing the climax – who would definitely have raised complications in this fairy tale like ending. But first things first…given the serious theme this still manages to be a very thoroughly entertaining film. Also, this is not as emotionally manipulative as Johar’s previous directorial venture K3G.

Coming to the performances, SRK goes into his extreme hamming mode (as in every Karan Johar film) but still is charming as always with his sarcasm filled lines. Abhishek gets a well written author-backed role and he is the only character in the movie you would feel sorry for. Preity is okay but Rani Mukherji is outrightly bad (more due to her ill conceived role). The surprise packet is Amitabh Bachchan and Kirron Kher who in similar roles previously have been quite irritating but they are really good here. Kajol makes the mandatory guest appearance. John Abraham has a similar appearance too…don’t know why. Arjun Ramphal’s bit role is something you would generally expect Suniel Shetty to play. Music and the background score by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are extremely good. Since this is a 40 crore Karan Johar film, all characters are filthy rich living in mansions and wearing gaudy clothes…thankfully they don’t commute by private choppers this time around; they somehow manage with their feet and trains. All said and done, this is a trademark Karan Johar film which you would definitely enjoy watching as long as you don’t really think deeper about the events happening on screen.


1. Sai - October 17, 2006

Great observation about Karan Johar’s changing fundas on friendship and love! This is what he says on the official website of the movie – “There are those couples that marry for their parents, for money or play it safe and marry a friend. These are the most unfortunate ones in the world… and they don’t even know it”. Talk about change!

Karan Johar always believed in true love (though its definition keeps changing). I guess he was miffed when Amitabh and Rekha didn’t get together at the end of Silsila and wanted to change that for the better. That could be one of the reasons he made this film apart from the idea that he would like to move away from the kind of films that he has made so far. Starting from this climax, he creates the screenplay along with Shibani Bathija (who badly wrote the melodramatic, overhyped and undeservingly successful Fanaa).

Johar’s movies always had illogical storylines (except when the story was inspired as was the case with Kal Ho Naa Ho and this one) and a manipulative screenplay. However, the humor, gloss, starcast and music made up for it resulting in an entertaining film. This movie didn’t work for me because I tried to think. I was somehow never drawn into the world of these characters unlike his earlier movies.

There are some good, identifiable sequences in the movie but they are few compared to the contrived ones. Johar touches some real issues. Shahrukh’s anger and the disparity between him and Priety is well-conceived. Shahrukh diverting his anger onto his son is very believable. However, the love that develops between Shahrukh and Rani isn’t really acceptable. The friendship, I can understand, but the love is something that is too far-fetched. To me, Rani came across as a character that really cannot love because she is always in doubt. At least Karan didn’t convince me enough with reasons for why she loves Shahrukh over Abhishek.

That was the case with the decent first half. However, I felt Karan lets you down in the second half with mostly contrived crap that does enough to bring the movie down. Karan uses very old plot devices to show the conflicts. There were also some unintentionally funny scenes. The “Dev toh muhje wapas kardo” was the one that had me laughing till it pained.

The second half also has a lot that will make those with a traditional mindset squirming in their seats. The short sex scene has to be one of the worst ever and the only one I’ve seen where both individuals are crying.

Except for the locations, sets, a few people and some shallow details, this movie doesn’t feel like it is set in the USA. The movie is only set in the USA because the subject of infidelity would not be accepted at all in an Indian setting.

Amitabh, Abhishek and Kirron Kher are the only ones that do justice in the acting department. Amitabh isn’t necessary but brings the humor and makes Sexy Sam likeable. The humor isn’t as good here as in previous flicks from the Johar banner. Sometimes, it is illogical but funny. However, there are times where the characters are compromised for the humor. The actors seem ill-at-ease with some of the situations except for the Bachchans and Kher who deliver consistent performances. shahrukh’s inconsistent characterization makes for a performance that isn’t very likeable. The same is case with Rani and Priety. If they seem good in a couple of scenes, the next two are botched up.

Of course you have the customary special appearance by Kajol and more by John Abraham and Arjun Rampal. I might have missed some more when I blinked. Actually, I think I saw Karan Johar in the train towards the end.

The music by the very consistent Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is excellent. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are good too. My favorite is the Tumhi Dekho Naa number while many seem to enjoy the Mitwa number more. Among the others, I initially did not like the Rock ‘n Roll Soniye number as much, but it doesn’t fail to get my feet moving even now. The other departments like Cinematography (Anil Mehta), Art Direction (Sharmishta Roy), Choreography (Farah Khan) and Costumes (Manish Malhotra) do not need special mention in a Karan Johar film because they are good as usual.

Those who have conventional ideas about marriage should skip this if they cannot look at it objectively. Otherwise, I would say that it is a appreciable attempt by Karan Johar to do something that he isn’t really good at – make a meaningful film. This movie works only superficially. This isn’t exactly feel good cinema but then again it isn’t a really consequential film either. The film is entertaining but not as much as his previous films. For me this was average. I think this film works for those who aren’t watching this movie for meaning and are willing to watch it only for the drama, entertainment and stars.

2. Tweety - October 17, 2006

I am waiting for Karan’s next movie..i want to see which game he would pick this time…
K3G starts with a cricket match , KANK with a football match…kuch kuch hota hain has the basketball game all through…

To shujath…that was a great observation about Karan Johar’s love thesis changing scope each time. You already mentioned that ego was one of the main reasons of rift b/w sharukh and preeti.. I would like to add to this ..Sharukh’s failure as a star football player was a reason too..he felt his life was ruined and he felt incapable.He was trying to vent out this frustration on somebody and preeti became the target…sameis the case with Rani, she was feeling bad that she could not deliver a kid for her husband and even though abhishek never makes an issue with it, she took it as a failure and so is always frustrated. It didnot make sense to me though why she had to fall in love with SRK though 😦
the climax scene was so bad…it didnot make any sense at all…I didnot understand what Karan wanted to potray.

In any of their discussions b/w SRK and Preeti abt their breakup, no mention about their son was mentioned. I think the only time, the kid was mentioned in this regard,was by Kirron Kher, when she expresses her desire to stay back with Preeti because of her grandson.

3. Mazi - November 27, 2006

funda ya dunda!

4. Amit - January 17, 2007

good review..
more so as i had the same thoughts on the movie..

5. ar - March 5, 2007

kareeb is much better than this movie

6. Asma Khatun - March 10, 2007

i want to watch ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ for free. Please allow me i will be glad to all.

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