December 14, 2001


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Review Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

Anjum N

'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was raw. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is rich,' said writer-director Karan Johar about K3G, his second film.

He was dead right. K3G is definitely rich.

Rich in casting. Rich in look and feel. Rich in costumes, sets and locations.

Rich in sheen, polish and emotions (read tears). Rich in the amount spent (approximately Rs 400 million).

Rich in flaws. In mush. In 'NRI-pleasing' pseudo patriotism. In the lack of freshness in the script, screenplay, dialogues and pairing. In whatever!

But before we get into all that, first things first.

The characters:

K3G The Raichand family: Strict businessman Yashovardhan (Amitabh Bachchan), his compliant, loving wife Nandini (Jaya Bachchan), adopted son Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), younger son Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) and two grandmothers (Sushma Seth and Achla Sachdev).

A middle-class maid for the sons (Farida Jalal), her neighbour (Alok Nath), his daughters Anjali (Kajol) and Pooja (grows up to be Kareena post-interval).

Lastly there is Naina (Rani Mukherji), daughter of Yashovardhan’s friend.

The storyline:

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A cannot-be-happier-and-richer family has everything going for it. The father has selected Naina as elder daughter-in-law.

Rahul does not know of his father's desire or that Naina loves him madly. He falls for the lower-middle class, chirpy and noisy Anjali, marries her and brings her home, against the wishes of his father.

Father cannot bear this and breaks his own rule of not discussing his son's adopted status. Rahul cannot bear his father reminding him that he does not have 'Raichand' blood in him.

He leaves home with wife Anjali.

Rohan, who happens to be in boarding school, is oblivious to this. He learns the truth ten years later and promises to reunite the family.

Rohan goes in search of his brother who has, in the meanwhile, moved to London.

By now, Anjali’s younger sister Pooja aka Poo has also grown up to be a high-on-attitude, western beauty.

Rohan teams up with Pooja and shifts into the Rahul Raichand home without the family knowing his true identity. He finds out they still love their parents, slowly reveals his own identity and convinces them to return.Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in K3G

Back in India, Rohan takes on his father and makes him realise that the family has been separated because of his arrogance. A few scenes later, Yashovardhan accepts his mistake and apologizes to his sons, paving the way for a happy ending.

The casting:

Amitabh opposite Jaya (after numerous hit films like Zanjeer, Abhimaan, Mili, Sholay and Silsila), after 16 years and for the first time as old parents. Great!

Shah Rukh and Kajol (probably the last time as a celluloid pair after successes like Baazigar, Karan Arjun, DDLJ and KKHH). Bearable.

Rani as the third angle of a Shah Rukh-Kajol love triangle (KKHH)? Methinks too soon for nostalgia.

Hrithik-Kareena (a fresh combination post the eminently forgettable Yaadein to remember). No great shakes.

Amitabh as the strict and arrogant elder (Mohabbatein, Ek Rishta), who apologises to the young hero at the end. Repetitive and predictable.

Reviewers might not digest:

* Amitabh singing Aati Kya Khandala (note, Ghulam released in 1998) for Jaya, with Rani looking on amused, at his birthday party. Only the party is part of a 'Diwali 10 years ago' flashback scene.

* In the same flashback, the young Shah Rukh and a child artiste sip from Coke and Pepsi cans in Chandni Chowk. I used to think the soft drink giants introduced cans in India only recently.

* Ditto to the hi-tech cellular phones in the flashback.

Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor * The five-finger right hand of the kid playing junior Rohan, is clearly visible in the first half of the film. Equally visible is the six-finger right-hand of the grown-up Rohan (Hrithik Roshan). The director could easily have asked one of the two Rohans to hide his right thumb (like Hrithik did in Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai).

One could go on and on. The film is that flawless.

For NRI's only:

A lot of old patriotic Hindi film songs, Vande Mataram, Jana Gana Mana (Do they expect the audience to stand up in the cinema halls in the midst of a film? No one did so when Salman Khan sang it in Love), pro-Bharat dialogues, values and traditions of Indian culture and the tricolour displayed on the streets of London.


The entire cast has done well. However, we have seen most of them in much better form in earlier films.

Amitabh delivers a controlled performance, yet again. He looks every bit the dominating and strict father and easily steals the Say shaava shaava song from his other costars.

He reserves his best for the climax. Though there is nothing in his role he hasn't done in the last two years.

Jaya Bachchan looks beautiful and performs as well as she has always does, especially opposite her husband. Her scenes with Shah Rukh are outstanding.

Kajol does a decent job, but tends to go overboard at times.

Kareena tries hard to look attractive with the skimpiest possible clothes probably lesser than the length of her role. She ends up being too loud.

Shah Rukh's role, supposedly the best of the lot, doesn't seem like it. He isn't his usual full-of-life self and comes out just as good as any of the other big stars in the film.

The surprise scene-stealer is undoubtedly Hrithik Roshan. He looks dashing, dances like magic, dresses well and proves he can perform too. He clearly holds his own in his scenes opposite Shah Rukh and Amitabh.

Whatever goodwill Hrithik may have lost due to the failure of Yaadein, he will regain it with K3G.Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan in K3G

Despite having an extraordinary starcast and more-than-enough funds to make his second film, Karan Johar disappoints. What he delivers is a bad remix of Mohabbatein and KKHH.

Like Mohabbatien, K3G might make money, proving yet again that bad art need not necessarily mean bad business.

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