KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI (1998, d. Karan Johar)
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (’Something Happens’) was the first Bollywood movie I ever laid eyes on and right from the get-go I was hooked. A viewing experience the likes of which I had never witnessed before, I was in utter awe of its exuberance, colour and magic and completely taken in by its emotional manipulation and unabashed cheese. There are very few films of any kind that I would dub perfect, but ‘KKHH’ is definitely one of them. It’s possible this nostalgia may cloud my judgement - after all, the film boasts an incredible amount of ‘cutesiness’ and I can understand how some may find it unbearable. Nonetheless, for those who are willing to dive head-first into this sea of twee and let the waves carry them away, I whole-heartedly recommend it.
A huge hit in 1998, ‘KKHH’ is an unusually and refreshingly female-dominated story that revolves around the triangle love tale of college pals Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), Anjali (Kajol) and Tina (Rani Mukerji). The three-hour musical offers all the expected ingredients such as comedy, drama and song-and-dance sequences, but director Karan Johar keeps the tone light and breezy for the most part without resorting to too much ham or forced melodrama. Sadly, Johar’s subsequent films, while just as successful, have become self-indulgent and almost self-parody with bigger star casts, more extravagant sets and hammier acting with little of the warmth, fun and charm of this, his debut.
The biggest kudos in ‘KKHH’ must go to the cast who all put in sterling performances, particularly Kajol who gives a career-best. Despite her superstar status, Kajol has made very few films compared to her peers and has had even fewer hits, but if there’s one movie that perfectly displays her charisma, comedy expertise, acting prowess and dazzling beauty it’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - the Kajol show!
Love triangle: Kajol, Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji
The DVD release of ‘KKHH’ from Yash Raj Films offers a decent quality transfer of the movie, but one that’s marred by slightly dark and murky colour rendition. A satisfying 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track is also on offer as well as adequate English subtitles and heaps of bonus features made of up interviews, deleted scenes etc.