Na Ho Movie
this writer saunters in a preview theatre to
watch a select screening of KAL HO NAA HO, a few
questions cross my mind…
Will KAL HO NAA HO
match up to the high standards of Karan Johar's
earlier flicks, KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI and K3G, in
terms of style, substance and success?
Will the SRK
– Karan Johar combo magic work the third time
Is KAL HO
NAA HO the 2003 adaptation of Hrishikesh
Mukherjee's masterpiece ANAND? If yes, will it
pale or shine in comparison?
proved lucky for most first-time directors – Raj
Kanwar [DEEWANA], Aditya Chopra [D.D.L.J.],
Karan Johar [KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI]. Will history
repeat itself as Nikhil Advani makes his
directorial debut with KAL HO NAA HO?
supposedly 'sad ending' work at the box-office?
And as the magic unfolds on the big screen, the
doubts, if any, are set to rest.
Yes, KAL HO
NAA HO does live up to the expectations. Will it
be as successful as Karan's earlier flicks, only
time will tell.
Yes, the SRK
– Karan Johar magic does cast a spell the third
time around. The film works, courtesy SRK's
incredible performance and Karan's deft writing.
No, KAL HO
NAA HO is not the 2003 version of ANAND. Yes,
the protagonist in this film spreads happiness
and rallies around, disentangling tribulations,
but the similarities end there.
that KAL HO NAA HO boasts of, only a director
with mettle would've been able to do complete
justice to it. While watching this flick, not
once does the viewer feel that it has been
directed by a first-timer. And that's a
compliment for debutante director Nikhil Advani.
As for the
'sad ending' bit, let's put it this way. Sad
endings have worked in a big way in the past.
Remember ANAND, ANKHIYON KE JHARONKON SE, EK
DUUJE KE LIYE, Q.S.Q.T.? Hey, why are we talking
of a sad ending here? KAL HO NAA HO is all about
hope and love… and hope never fades and love
For Naina Catherine Kapur [Preity Zinta], life
is cold, grey and dull – as it has been ever
since her father passed away.
Between the constant bickering in her half
Punjabi, half Catholic household, her
grand-mother's [Sushma Seth] temper, looking
after her little sister and brother and helping
her mother Jennifer [Jaya Bachchan] deal with
the family's financial troubles – Naina has no
time for parties, fun or herself.
She is 23, going on 50. She is serious, she is
Enter Aman Mathur [Shah Rukh Khan]. Like a whiff
of fresh air, he moves into their tiny Indian
neighbourhood to take it over. Helping others
solve their problems and face life's little
challenges – Aman has all the answers.
Much to Naina's irritation, he insists on
interfering in her life too…
Aman pushes Naina into doing things that she
would never dream of doing. He nags her till she
learns to smile. He conspires with her friend
Rohit [Saif Ali Khan], an eligible Manhattan
bachelor, to help her find happiness.
KAL HO NAA HO is the story of Aman, Rohit and
Naina's journey together. How they discover
themselves, find the courage to love and come
together to celebrate life is what the film is
Like Karan's previous flicks, KAL HO NAA HO is a
contemporary film. It does tell the story of an
Indian family residing in may be Chelsea or
Queens in NY, but the roots are very Indian. The
milieu may be western, but writer Karan Johar
and director Nikhil Advani have packaged the
film with Gujaratis, Punjabis, Sardars,
Christians, a video pirate from Mumbai uttering
Mumbaiya lingo… Not once do you feel that KAL HO
NAA HO is an English flick in the guise of a
Hindi film. It's very much a desi film in
a videshi setting.
Even the emotional quotient is very Indian. In
fact, the structuring of the script is akin to
Sooraj R. Barjatya's all-time hit HUM AAPKE HAIN
KOUN. The script focuses on light moments from
start till pre-climax, but the last half-an-hour
takes a U-turn as seriousness sets in.
The first half of the enterprise abounds in
light moments. Moments that bring about a smile
recurrently. But the writer and director have
cleverly injected drama in the goings-on in a
subtle fashion [the Sushma Seth – Jaya Bachchan
track], which adds spice to the proceedings.
It is the second half that has its share of
serious moments. The love triangle and the
complexities of relationships, treated
differently, keep the viewer glued to the
screen. The culmination to the story – which
begins as the engagement song comes to an end –
takes the film to dizzier heights altogether.
The climax is highly emotional and completely
justified, in keeping with the story of the
film. The end is pleasant, very family-oriented
and will be identified by Indians everywhere,
whether in India or on foreign soil.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is melodious and
sounds fresh to the ears. Of the songs, 'Pretty
Woman', 'Mahi Ve' and the title track sound
pleasant. The choreography [Farah Khan] is
Cinematography [Anil Mehta] can be compared to
the best of international cinema. To state that
the film is a visual treat wouldn't be doing
justice to the output on screen. The indoor sets
[Sharmishtha Roy] meet the demands of the script
to the T. Costumes [Manish Malhotra] and make-up
[Mickey Contractor] deserves special mention.
Nikhil Advani makes a confident debut. Although
he shows a flair for light scenes, his handling
of the emotional part in the climax indicates
that he knows his job well. Karan Johar's
overall scripting and the detailing that has
gone into some sequences proves that Hindi
cinema has writers of calibre. Niranjan
Iyengar's dialogues are excellent.
One can't imagine KAL HO NAA HO without SRK. The
actor delivers yet another bravura performance
that he can be proud of, when he looks back in
life. The role gives him immense scope to
exhibit a gamut of emotions and the actor
carries not just his role, but the entire film
on his firm shoulders.
Preity Zinta has never looked so pretty, nor has
she ever acted with such conviction. This film
should consolidate her status as an actress of
substance. Saif Ali Khan is a revelation. The
actor manages to stand on his own despite
towering performances by SRK and Preity. Not
only does the actor look suave, he even carries
off his role with ?n.
Jaya Bachchan delivers yet another flawless
performance. Sonali Bendre [sp app.] acts her
part well. Kajol, Rani Mukerji and Uday Chopra
make fleeting appearances, adding to the
star-value of the film. Sanjay Kapoor [sp. app.]
Rajpal Yadav excels in a cameo. Sulbha Arya's [Kantaben]
comedy track, when she suspects SRK and Saif of
having an affair, will bring the house down.
It's simply hilarious.
Sushma Seth is first-rate. Ditto for Reema Lagoo.
Lilette Dubey, Delnaz Paul, Satish Shah and
Ketaki Dave liven the proceedings. Simone Singh
looks gorgeous. Shoma Anand and Dara Singh are
On the whole, KAL HO NAA HO has all it takes to
emerge victorious. At the box-office, the
face-value and the track record of its makers
have resulted in tremendous hype and hooplah.
Keeping in mind its merits and the opening that
the film has generated, KAL HO NAA HO should
emerge a winner, setting new records in days to