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May 20, 2000

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Kundan Shah lost interest...

Sharmila Taliculam

Kya Kehna! Itís bad enough when you have directors who play it safe and make the same kind of films over and over again. It's worse when a director makes a film with absolute indifference. And Kundan Shah is supposed to be part of the cream of our lot.

Kya Kehna is his first film in almost six years and the time lag shows. In every frame, every scene, his disinterest is apparent. After all, this is the film took four years to make. He did direct a film called Loveria in between, but it is still lying in the cans.

Kya Kehna is a young girlís point of view about what is right and what is wrong. Priya (Preity Zinta) comes from a very loving family, consisting of her parents and three brothers. They indulge her because she is the only girl.

Ajay (Chandrachur Singh), her childhood friend, is in love with her. But, like in most Hindi film, Priya loves a playboy named Rahul (Saif Ali Khan). Though her family disapproves of her love, she goes ahead nonetheless and becomes pregnant by him.

He refuses to marry her. Not because of parental objection or such reasons, but because he canít marry just anybody who doesnít fit into his 'class.'

This is the first half of the film. The story actually begins in second half, with Priya struggling to survive against all odds. The only thing going for the film is the rather unusual climax.

Kya Kehna! Kya Kehna is coloured by Shahís earlier films, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. One notices it is difficult for a director to forget his previous films, especially if they are successful. The result is that they make sequels. The same thing happens here. Though Kya Kehna can't exactly qualify as one, there are many scenes which remind you of Shah's earlier films.

The scene where Priya returns is reminiscent of Shah Rukh waiting for his beloved on the station in KHKN. As is the situation where Priya is not aware of her childhood friendís love for her.

Also, the film is an amalgamation of many successful films. It has all the ingredients -- college romance, a loving family, tragedy, a happy ending. Unfortunately, somewhere, the flow is lost. The first half is too happy, the second half is too sad. Shah probably just gave up after a point. After all, four years is a long time.

Kya Kehna was supposed to be Preity Zintaís first film. As a result, she alternates between looking very young to looking mature. Still, she has a certain freshness which is very appealing. The only area she needs to work on is her voice.

Saif Ali Khan has a negative shade to his character here and he handles it quite well. What with contact lenses and all, he manages to look quite the irresponsible Don Juan.

The only other character worth mentioning is Anupam Kher as Preityís father. But then, he has done these kind of roles so many times now, one more doesnít make much of a difference.

The songs are quite unnecessary. They just come and go whenever there is a happy moment. The only one worth listening to is the title song, Ae dil, laya hai bahar.

Kya Kehna! Itís a pity to see somebody of Kundan Shahís repute coming up such a damper. The least one expects from him is an entertaining film. KHKN was not in the league of JBDY, but it displayed a good sense of humour. One knows Shah can make films that keep you glued to your seat. That is why this film is not worth the trouble at all.

Shah is probably right when he says that, even if he makes a film on a low budget (his kind of films usually are), he canít help it if the producers give him more money to put in song and dance sequences to make it look a little flashier. But then, it would help if he didn't lose interest in his film.

Apart from the climax, the film is no big deal. But, to see that, you would have to sit through the whole film. So if you can find something better to do, give the film a miss. You wonít be losing much.

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