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Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna – A Controversial Summer Gem

August 2006

I am sure you have all heard of Karan Johar’s very much talked about latest movie that was released earlier this month. I always consider the coming out of his movies as a huge event that deserves a proper celebration: gang of friends or sisters to go and watch it, along with a full pack of tissues. This time I went to see it in my own, because I was going with colleagues and I need a first screening for subtitle reading….

Anyway, the press had had mixed feelings about this movie, I had listened to Karan Johar’s interview on BBC Radio Asia network in the morning and so I decided to go with a neutral mind.

The first half hour sets the scene: two couples of Indians living in New York, Rhea (Preity Zinta and Dev (Shahrukh Khan) and the other couple Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan) and Maya (Rani Mukerji). Each marriage is on the rocks: Rishi and Maya have different expectations in life; they cannot have a kid and cannot communicate. Dev is a wounded footballer whose career collapsed when it was in full swing, while his wife career is shooting to the stars. Dev resents this and his failure and passes his anger on the closest people to him: wife and son.

Dev and Maya meet the day Maya gets married and then four years later. They are both drawn closer to one another as they feel that their other halves cannot understand them. Deciding to make try to make things work out in their respective marriages together, they are drawn to one another, first by friendship, then this grows into something deeper that they cannot stop until too late, until they make the people they love suffer…

Amitabh Bachchan plays sexy Sam, Rishi’s father in the movie. He is full of good humour, adopts a seemingly hedonistic lifestyle, whilst being very wise…Kiron Kher plays Dev’s mother and lives with the couple. He has moved away from the patriarch role to playing a playboy, much less reasonable than his son.

The role of Maya was initially written for Kajol and that, true, she would have been great interpreting it, but Rani was delivers a great performance. She beautifully conveyed the deep emotions and inner fights of her soul in an amazing way.

Preity, was equally amazing, she really knows to adapt to different types of roles, although she still manages to leave her mark. You know that it is Preity Zinta who is playing that role though she always surprises you with the quality of her performance, but then you feel you could not expect less from Preity.

To be honest there are very few films that I have seen with Abhishek, but with this I was amazed and he conquers heart and soul with his performance.

Shahrukh, what is there to say? This is a role that stands apart from what we are used to. He must have had to work hard to reach this level of performance, for this role, because….he was simply great. This was a bit of a villain’s role. He always plays the cheeky but always the righteous guy. Here he is not through and through.

Abhi and Rani

The first half of the movie sets the scene with the rocky marriages but has here and there some seriously hilarious moments and that makes the film lighter in a sense. The second half is much heavier and unsettling in a sense. There are a few uneasy moments where you there shouldn’t children in the audience which is stands apart from Karan Johar’s previous themes and movies that have been very much geared towards the family audiences.

The film asks the question “what if you find your soul mate after you have married?”
What would you do if that happened??? It is quite a bold subject: extra marital affairs – or as Shahrukh very nicely put it at the release of the soundtrack in London, earlier this summer “people screwing around”.

It’s a beautiful film, very emotional, that seriously makes you cry a great part of the second half. There are good lines and you quickly connect with characters and you are quickly immersed in the film. It is beautifully filmed. The soundtrack is just perfect for the film. The first instrumental notes shake all your inner nerves and sends shivers to your body.

The movie is a treasure with a controversial subject true, but maybe it’s by being a bit controversial that a new genre of film will develop, I don’t know, who am I to judge…Anyway IT IS A MUST SEE!

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