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Kal Ho Naa Ho

Films are to entertain, and only to entertain! And who understands it better than Karan Johar? The young and vibrant director who revived the sinking career of Bollywood ka betaj Badshah SRK! After giving blockbusters like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and K3G, the director has carved his niche as potential filmmaker. With his latest film Kal Ho Naa Ho, he makes his debut as a producer. The film is directed by debutante Nikhil Advani. Unfortunately, the film hardly gives the opportunity to feel that this is a Nikhil Advani film, and not a Karan Johar flick! From costumes, grandeur, dialogues, music to scene executions, one finds the immutable style of Karan Johar. It is clearly evident from the film that Karan plays the role of a ghost director and poor Nikhil had nothing but to roll the camera reels.

The film opens with a voice over. "New York. April 2003. The late winter..." It is about Naina Catherine Kapur (Preity Zinta). Her life is cold, grey and dull as it has been ever since a family tragedy shook her world. Between the constant bickering in her half Punjabi and half Catholic lifestyle, her grandmother (Sushma Seth) often looses temper on her little sister, her mother Jennifer (Jaya Bachchan) is tensed with her restaurant and family's financial troubles � Naina has no time for things like parties, fun or even for herself. She�s twenty-three going on fifty. She serious and boring.

Enter�s Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan) like a whiff of fresh air. A la messiah style. He moves into their tiny Indian neighborhood to take it over. Helping others, solving their problems � Aman has answer for all. Much to Naina's irritation, he insists on interfering in her life too... Aman pushes Naina into doing things she would never dream of doing. He nags her till she learns to smile. He conspires with friend Rohit (Saif Ali Khan), an eligible Manhattan bachelor �help her find happiness. Kal Ho Na 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.

The film stands wholly and solely on the astounding performance of Preity Zinta while Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan gives a credible support. Preity has skillfully handled the hues of the complex character � from a moronic girl to a vibrant lover and finally as a denuded lover, she walked through the character with elan. Equally brilliant was Jaya Bachchan. Shah Rukh repeats his style once again, while Saif Ali gives a mellowed performance. The role gives Saif immense scope to exhibit a gamut of emotions and the actor carries not just his role. Rajpal Yadav as a businessman of pirated cassettes With a Mumbaiya lingo, Sulbha Arya as confused Gujarati maid Kantaben, Lilette Dubey as sexy neighbour, Reema Lagoo as SRK�s mother, Satish Shah as Saif�s Gujju father gives splendid performances.

Anil Mehta�s cinematography was mind blowing, along with Sharmista Roy�s art direction, Manish Malhotra�s designer outfits and Mickey Contractor�s awesome make-up is noteworthy. Director Nikhil shows flair for light scenes, but he needs to work on the emotional scenes. Credit also goes to Niranjan Iyengar for penning such fashionable dialogues. A rare treat for the audience after Dil Chahta Hai. Music by the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is melodious while choreography by Farah Khan is exhilarating.

Kal Ho Naa Ho falls under the genre of Dil Chahta Hai. It�s a film for younger generation. The pulse of the youngsters could be felt in this film. The film has a unique fashion of story telling, the one that Bollywood has yet not seen. Director Nihkil deserves kudos for dealing a forbidden subject like homosexuality with a dash of humor, and thankfully by not degrading it�s social connection. Sulbha Arya's comedy track, when she suspects SRK and Saif of having a sexual affair, is simply hilarious. In fact in a song sequence they also show a boy pecking a boy. Now that�s quite a bold stride!

Thankfully, this film is not a remake of Hrishikesh Mukherjee blockbuster Anand. Rather it is inspired from his another film Bawarchi. This film will surely create a bigger impact at the box-office and Karan Johar will make a hat trick with his success record. For SRK, this film is important, but will hardly ameliorate is position as an actor. Saif and Preity will be the next �watch out� stars of the coming year.

Critic�s Opinion: While watching the film one would not pay heed to the logistic part of the film. But after three hours of rona dhona session, one really stands clueless regarding certain points in the film. Why did Preity choose her adopted sister to narrate her life story who was very much existing in the original story? How come Preity�s daughter becomes a firang and speaks in anglicized English, whereas the entire family speaks in pure Hindi? SRK had his first cardiac arrest after the dance sequence and was asked to take rest, then why was he again dancing in the mehendi ceremony? SRK runs away from the hospital (without paying the bills!) to meet Saif and Preity with his kamzor dil, instead of calling them at one place why did he run throughout NY streets? Now that�s not a kamzor dil! Even after knowing that SRK would die, how come Preity and Saif manage to get themselves married. Isn�t it too harsh attitude towards a dying friend? What was Shoma Anand doing in the film apart from singing jarring tracks, no references? Why did Jaya�s husband kill himself, when Jaya had no problem with his illegitimate girl child?

There are several other questions� probably you too would be able to add more questions to my never-ending list. Still I would insist you to watch this movie, �coz Kal Ho Naa Ho is an "entertaining" venture for sure!

Ram Kamal Mukherjee


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