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Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

Aprajita Anil

Posted: Aug 12, 2006 at 1549 hrs IST

Movie: Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

Rating: ****

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan (Dev Saran), Preity Zinta (Rhea Saran), Abhishek Bachchan (Rishi Talwar), Rani Mukherji (Maya Saran), Amitabh Bachchan (Samarjit Singh Talwar or 'sexy' Sam), Kiron Kher (Kamaljit Saran) and Arjun Ramphal.

Director: Karan Johar

Five stunning actors. Three and a half hour movie. One picture perfect director and ofcourse a simple message: Marry only if you're in love!

This precisely sums up Karan Johar's latest box-office blast Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. The film weaves together the tales of two families, the Sarans and the Talwars.

Dev Saran (Shah Rukh Khan) and Rhea Saran (Preity Zinta) are a happy married couple and have an adorable son Arjun. Dev is a football player by profession. An ace sportsman, Dev has everything a man can ask for but fate has other plans for him. He meets an accident and becomes handicapped.

Meanwhile, Rhea is a strong woman with great determination. She works for a fashion magazine and her presence changes the outlook of the organisation. After Dev’s accident, Rhea takes the responsibility to run the house.

Dev refusing to give up his passion for football dons the cap of a football coach. But his dreams are turned upside down. He starts looking at everything with a negative mindset. Nothing gives him pleasure. His much-successful wife just adds to his already-complexed character. Dev begins to dislike everything about Rhea and enjoys only one company – his own.

Let’s meet the Talwars. Colourful by nature, ‘sexy Sam’ or Samarjit Singh Talwar (Amitabh Bachchan) is a flamboyant high-spirited man who lives life to the fullest. But being one of the most balanced character, he never allows his indulgence to over-power the ground realities. And only two people matter to him – his son Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan) and his daughter-in-law Maya (Rani Mukherji).

Rishi Talwar marries his childhood friend Maya, who he deeply loves. However, Maya is unable to reciprocate Rishi’s feelings. She cares for him but her relation with Rishi is layered with a lot of self-doubt and queries. She tries too hard to discuss and work out their relation, but the harder she tries the more strained it gets. Whereas Rishi, handles Maya with utmost love and patience but is unable to comprehend her complexity especially when it rears its ugly head in the most intimate moments of their personal relationship.

Both couples have their own share of problems, frustrations and needs. But when Rhea and Rishi accept it as just another ‘marriage problem’, Dev and Maya fight a different battle altogether – brittle marriage. And one fine day Karan Johar’s co-incidence formula brings them face-to-face.

Crusading on the same boat, Dev and Maya become great friends. They discuss everything, which they couldn’t with their own spouse. They even try and help each other workout their marriages. But soon their friendship deepens into dependency and then dependency rises into romance. Passion ignites, sparks fly and true love beckons. And then comes the dilemma of accepting the fact about their respective marriage partners on one hand and choosing a life of their choice on the other.

The story has everything you expect in a Karan johar’s movie – humongous canvas, enchanting Shah Rukh, foot-tapping music, soothing visuals, pasionate moments and ofcourse hilarious stints.

Yet something seems to be wrong somewhere. To begin with the movie acutally could have done away with some amount of editing. For it does become difficult to sit glued to the chair for three and a half hour.

Then ofcoure the co-inident encounters between the characters are so many that one might be left to wonder – is New York City really that small a city! Then there are the predictable stock of done-to-death lines and contrived situations from the Chopra-Johar camp. And finally the small gaps, which leave you confused - what to feel for whom.

Karan explores almost evey aspect of human emotion, giving everyone in the audience enough time and space to identify with one or the other shade of the characters, and for some, the identification may be in total!

Yet I have to admit that it’s difficult to point fingers at the story line. For Karan has, like any other time, done his homework quite well and the characters, the plot, the theme and the sequences, everything seems to fall in place. In these terms, it would not be an overdrive to admit that it is a brilliantly driven entertainer from a director’s chair.

But the biggest low of the movie – most unexpectedly, I must admit – are Shah Rukh and Rani. The actor is so much himself… the Raj from DDLJ or the Rahul from Kal Ho Na Ho… you can visualise his expression even before he expresses, you can predict his next move and many times you can even recite his about to be spoken lines! There’s nothing different about Dev Saran except for the new sking he’s been given – yes old wine in a new bottle!

As for Rani, there’s not much to look forward to. A cleanliness freak, Rani must have taken lessons from her role in Chalte Chalte. But after her breath-taking role in Black, Rani fails to add to add fervor to Maya.

Amitabh Bachchan has done what he does best – doing everything perfectly! Sexy Sam is something far beyond the imagination of Big B’s audience. Yet he slips into the character with utmost complete comfort and grace. So are his fans ready to accept the garceful and poise Amitabh Bachchan as a ‘foxy’ father.. well that’s another issue altogether.

Kiron Kher has done complete justice to her role and reminds you of the good-old mother figure which Farida Jalal played for Yash Chopra’s films.

But the actors who walk away with the cake are Abhishek Bachchan and Preity Zinta.

Whether it’s the jazzy fun-loving hunk or the emotional husband, whether he’s the stylish professional or the furious man, junior B has done it just right! The actor has indeed matured from his haydays is in to give the legends of tinsel town a run for their roles.

As for Preity, the lady has not just looked glamorous but she has walked with poise, sat with grace, smiled with composure and spoke with calmness. Who would have thought that the bubbly girl could so skillfully shed her age-old tag and walk away as the don’t-mess-with-me lass. So all those who are in search of the peppy Preity, well guys you’ve dialed the wrong number this time.

The actors indeed add the true flavour to the melodrama… sometimes keeping you in awe, sometimes making you laugh and other times making you look at the watch (Yes!)…

Complementing the director’s special and actors’ art is Anil Mehta’s cinematography, which captures the true essence of glitz ‘n glamour and emotions and blends it well into the aura.

The songs are excellent, both in terms of music and visualisation and one number which would get you into the party mode is Rock ‘n roll, with the father and son shaking it together!

Although Karan takes up a complex story with complex situations characters and twists, he doesn’t depart much from his original formula - shades of romance, loads of colour and plenty of melodrama.

And in the process Karan pleases all his fans, paving the way for KANK to go down in the book for exploring a bold theme and daring to handle the subject.

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