Producer : Yash Johar
: Karan Johar

*ing: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee, Sana Saeed, Anupam Kher, Farida Jalal & Salman Khan (sp. appearance).
Music: Jatin Lalit

Released on : October 16, 1998

Reviewed by: Anish Khanna

out of 

It is here. The wait is finally over. Karan Johar's "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" has been a long-awaited film for several reasons. First and foremost, it re- unites the "DDLJ" team of Shahrukh and Kajol. Second, this is "Aati Kya Khandala" girl Rani Mukherjee's first film after hitting stardom. Most important, however, is the advance buzz about Karan Johar - that he is allegedly in the league of Aditya Chopra as a writer/director. With so much resting on the shoulders of this film, it seems almost inevitable that the film should collapse under the weight of these expectations. Rest assured - it doesn't!!!! "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" takes these expectations and uses them as a catapult to soar into the land of classic romantic cinema.

The story is novel yet presented in a simple manner. The film opens with Rahul (Shahrukh) at his wife Tina's (Rani Mukherjee) funeral. Tina (Rani Mukherjee) has died during childbirth, leaving eight letters to be given to their daughter Anjali (Sana Saeed) on each of her first eight birthdays. In the eighth letter, Tina reveals to her daughter the story of Rahul and his best friend in college, also named Anjali (Kajol). Via flashback, we learn that though Rahul and Anjali were very close, Rahul fell for the sexy Tina, while Anjali was left with an unrequited love for Rahul. Anjali then dropped out of school, but not before Tina was able to discern Anjali's true feelings. Through the eighth letter, the deceased Tina then asks her daughter, little Anjali, to re-unite the old college friends. The only problem is that big Anjali is now engaged to Aman (Salman Khan).

All of the actors are in top form here. Kajol has a lot of work ahead of her. What do I mean? She needs to start clearing her bookshelves as the awards are about to start pouring in. She is simply brilliant as the gawky, outspoken tomboy who transforms herself into the demure, sexy siren. Shahrukh is Shahrukh. His performance is heartbreakingly honest at times, and at times he hams his way through scenes, but isn't that why we love him? It must be noted, however, that the Rukhster and Kajol define chemistry. Ironically, the relative newcomer - stunning Rani Mukherjee - has the task of playing the most intelligent, attractive, and confident of the characters, and she does it with the perfection of a pro (do I hear another award?). All of the supporting cast - including Farida Jalal, Anupam Kher, Himani Shivpuri, Archana Puransingh and Johnny Lever contribute to the film with brief but strong performances. As for little Sana Saeed, though a bit wooden at times, I found her to be less annoying than the Aditya Narayan's of Bollywood.

The creative team also manages to do some superior work. The song sequences are intelligently shot (especially the title song and "Tujhe Yaad Na Meri"). The cinematography is awesome whenever it has the freedom to be. Sharmishta Roy's colorful set for the camp is simply gorgeous. Farha Khan's choreography, though sometimes lifted directly from "Grease", is great as usual. (Incidentally, Farha makes a cameo on "The Neelam Show" in the film.) Above all, Karan Johar makes an impressive directorial debut, has a good script sense, and knows how to make a film with S-T-Y-L-E.

"Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" is not a film with a message. It is pure escapist cinema at its best. This is actually a very competitive period for the film's release, as two of India's biggest superstars are starring in a comedy that is releasing simultaneously. In my opinion, however, the little Sikh boy with the extended cameo in "KKHH" has more screen presence than any star of either film. He is innocent, cute, intelligent, and refreshing, and he is bound to leave you with a smile on your face that will stretch from ear to ear - very much like the film he is starring in.

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