Over the last decade, there have been very few filmmakers to cause a frenzy before their movie releases, and one such name is Karan Johar. With "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" in 1998, he made us see how friendship is the root to love; with "Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham" in 2001, he made us appreciate our parents; and almost five years later, we get "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna", based on the sanctity of marriages.
Expect the unexpected as this film is an emotional drama with no frills, no college scenes or characters named Poo. Karan Johar ventures into a territory exploring a subject that most filmmakers have turned into a sleaze fest. It is safe to say that he does not disappoint with his third film.
This young director has once again created simple but unforgettable characters with a story that is very progressive about relationships. Dev Saran (Shahrukh Khan) is an ex-footballer who becomes handicapped after an injury. With his tenacious and career-oriented wife Rhea (Preity Zinta), he has a son. Rhea's success combined with his own failure shatters Devâ€™s ego, causing much tension in their home.
Maya Talwar (Rani Mukerji) is a sensitive character who tries to compensate for her inability to bear a child. Despite the fact that her husband Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan), a stylish PR consultant,loves her passionately, the couple suffer from intimacy issues. Maya is searching for something more deep and meaningful in her relationship and Rishiâ€™s attention and devotion to her, in her point of view lacks something, emotionally and physically.
"Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" poses numerous questions that you are left wondering about even after the movie ends. What would you do if you were married to someone, you might love or not, and then meet your soul mate? Can you sacrifice a relationship in a flash for the person you think you are meant to be with? Can happiness bloom in a garden of lies? Can friendship compensate for love in a marriage? Can marriages get a second chance despite flaws? Certain portions of the movie will have you go on a roller coaster of emotions, its unpredictablity carrying upto the climax.
The story (by Karan Johar) is intriguing from the start, but looses momentum near the end of the film. Writer Shibani Bathija ("Fanaa") does much better with her screenplay, but makes the second half a bit too melodramatic. Cinematography by Anil Mehta captures New York as the ideal city backdrop for the movie. Art direction by Sharmistha Roy is like a dream set in almost every frame to suit the theme and mood of the scene. Special marks to makeup for making Rani and Preity look gorgeous throughout the film, along with costumes (Manish Malhotra) which were trendsetting, metrosexual for the men, with colors that truly stood out (red and black). Dialogues are award-worthy by Niranjan Iyengar, which seem straight out of life (especially during confrontation scenes). Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy will gain more popularity with the movieâ€™s release; watch for â€śWhereâ€™s the Party Tonightâ€ť, â€śTumhi Dekho Naâ€ť, and â€śMitwaâ€ť to have have you mesmerized. Editing by Sanjay Sankla is the biggest flaw and the movie needs to be cut by at least twenty minutes towards the climax.
Performances will bring big competition during the awards season. Shahrukh Khan is solid as the angry, sarcastic, mean husband that makes you detest and admire him at the same time. Rani sinks her teeth into Mayaâ€™s character, bringing forth the pain she goes through. Preity as the intelligent and confident wife plays her role with conviction. Abhishek Bachchan keeps improving and shows shades of his father in the emotional scenes. Amitabh Bachchan (as Rishiâ€™s philandering and sexy father Sam) is different and shows why he is still around. Kirron Kher (as Devâ€™s mom Kamaljit) shares great chemistry with Amitabh. Arjun Rampal is limited in his role, while Kajol and John Abraham add extra glamour to some songs.
"Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" is not a family film and is intended for a mature audience that is open-minded to the modern world. The movie does not embrace the idea that compromise in marriage can bring true happiness and love. The film will be a big success overseas, perhaps due to more liberal audiences, and is a recommended watch at least once. Enjoy!