Planet Bollywood
Kal Ho Naa Ho
Producer: Dharma Productions
Director: Nikhil Advani
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Jaya Bachchan
Music: Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Genre: Emotional
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: 27 November 2003
Reviewed by: Aakash Gandhi  - Rating: 9.5 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.15 / 10 (rated by 415 viewers)
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With such blockbusters as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham to his name, Karan Johar is ready to add another feather to his cap with his beautiful and heartwarming Kal Ho Na Ho.  Kal Ho Na Ho is directed by Karan Johar’s associate director Nikhil Advani and produced by Karan Johar, who has also written the screenplay for the film.  Nikhil Advani was Johar’s close assistant in all his films including Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, K3G, and Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein..  The main cast has Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Jaya Bachchan in the lead, and a plethora of others, including Sonali Bendre, in support.

Kal Ho Naa Ho takes place in Manhattan, New York, and is the story of three friends, Aman (Shah Rukh Khan), Rohit (Saif Ali Khan), and Naina (Preity Zinta), who travel on a journey that teaches them the true meaning of friendship.  It teaches them to discover themselves, and to find the courage to live through times of happiness and times of sorrow. With the constant arguments and bickering in her semi-Punjabi/semi-Christian family, Naina, 23, is completely distraught by the conditions which surround her.  In addition to this, she is bombarded with the responsibilities of taking care of her younger brother and sister, as well as helping her mother, Jennifer (Jaya Bachchan) handle the family’s economical complications. Between all these burdens, Naina never has time for herself.   

 Then comes Aman. He moves into Naina’s small Indian neighborhood, and with him he brings his joyfulness and charming personality.  He helps solve everyone’s problems and helps them face the obstacles and challenges that life usually has in store. Much to Naina’s dismay, Aman demands on intervening in her life as well. He makes her do things that she would never have dreamt of doing. His constant nagging eventually teaches Naina how to smile once again.  In doing so, Aman joins with his friend Rohit in trying to help Naina find her happiness that has been lost in the wraths of time.

The power of friendship starts to weave its magic over these three friends.  But to their unpleasant surprise, a fatal turn of events cause chaos between all three of them.  What are these fatal events that cause a ruckus of emotions describes the basic essence of this film.

One would never guess that this is Nikhil Advani’s debut film, as he succeeds in every aspect of film making.  With Karan Johar serving as guru, Nikhil is able to deliver a flawless performance and creates magic on screen. Karan Johar’s masterful effect of emotions with a perfect blend of comic relief makes for an almost invincible film. It also helps when you have such characters as Shah Rukh and Preity delivering the lines.

As far as the technical performance of the film goes, it is almost impossible to create a more perfect film.  The editing skills are extremely sound and the cinematography shows the viewers what a difference a few angle adjustments can do for a film.  The overall effect of the film is merely jaw dropping, for a lack of a better term. To put all rumors to rest, Kal Ho Na Ho is NOT a copy of Hrikesh Mukherjee’s 1970s classic, Anand. Although Nikhil and Karan have adopted a shade of the film, by no means is it a copy, and should be regarded as a purely original story, written by Karan himself.

The greatest asset that Kal Ho Na Ho has is its cast.  The magnitude of chemistry between Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Saif Ali Khan is mind blowing!  Adding Jaya Bachchan to the mix creates for an even more awesome effect. It’s safe to say that this is one of Shah Rukh Khan’s best performances ever.  He breathes so much life into his character, Aman, and literally has you feeling for him as if he was your very own. He puts on a mesmerizing performance and will definitely earn himself many awards.

This is easily Saif’s best performance since Dil Chahta Hai.  No one can play such a role with such ease, it’s almost uncanny. Only Saif can portray a character that is quite comical for the most part but always has a place for love in his heart. Preity Zinta has also given her best performance as an actress.  It’s amazing to see how much energy and talent is given in creating her character, Naina.  After entering the industry in Dil Se in the song Jiya Jale, her and the King Khan will surely have you on a roller-coaster of emotions.

Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy are a major part of this film as well.  There music, which has been topping the charts ever since its release, brings a beautiful touch to the film.  Their soft yet mellifluous melodies compliment the film wonderfully.  To top it all off, Javed Akhtar’s mastery of the language creates for some heart warming lyrics.

Hands down this is the best film of the year, and deservingly so. Although Nikhil Advani started off in the backseat, it looks like from now on his job is in the director’s chair. With the support of Karan Johar and Papa Yash Johar, it’s almost impossible to go wrong.

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