So I didn’t really watch Bollywood movies growing up but I knew people who did and loved it. And when I was younger and had the opportunity to watch one or two, I didn’t even get what all the fuss was about.
Even when I saw Lagaan and began to watch more and more Hindi films, while I enjoyed them immensely, I didn’t fully get it… till I saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a 1998 movie chronicling the love story of two best friends who fall in love. SPOILERS AHEAD!
It starts off with Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Tina (Rani Mukerji) as a happily married couple. We watch some cute scenes of their marriage to their first pregnancy and shortly after she gives birth, Rahul is told that due to a pre-existing condition that she knew was dangerous to get pregnant under, she’ll be dying soon.
After her death, we are brought to the present and meet her 8-year old daughter, Anjali. On each of her birthdays, she’s been given a letter from her mother. And now on her 8th birthday, she’s given the final one. This letter chronicles the love triangle between Anjali, Rahul and Tina.
Anjali and Rahul are best friends. He’s a playboy and she’s a tomboy and they are merrily having fun together when Tina, the principal’s daughter, transfers to their school. She’s beautiful and feminine – just like Rahul likes ’em.
Rahul flirts with her likes he does every pretty girl but as she’s smarter and not as easy as all the other bimbos he usually chases after, he really falls for her. And Anjali sees this and it breaks her heart because she’s always been in love with him. This leads to some hilarious but embarrassing things like her attempt to become prettier to attract his attention. But of course, it fails so while Rahul is obsessed with Tina, he’s oblivious of Anjali’s feelings for him. One painful but touching moment involved him practicing to say, “I love you” to Tina with Anjali as a prop.
And one of the most touching scenes in the entire movie is the train scene. Anjali decides to leave the college and plans to do so without Rahul’s knowledge. But of course he finds out and runs in search of her with Tina in tow. He finds her on the train and tries to get her to stay but her mind has already been made up. You see the confusion or dare I say, despair in his eyes as he realizes that he is losing her forever. He still doesn’t realize that he is in love with her but it is clear as day to the audience, as well as to Tina.
In the letter, Tina tells her daughter to get them back together and that’s what the second half of the movie is about. Their first meeting is very awkwardly cute but I especially like their second meeting on the bench after both have had time to let it all sink it. They inquire after each other as he marvels at how much she’s changed. It’s kind of cliche but I like that’s it’s not necessarily a makeover but her maturing and becoming the woman she was always meant to be.
But, of course, the road to true love is never smooth and she just happens to be engaged to a wonderful man who loves her and so begins our second love triangle.
I’m quite sure I’ve given too much of this story away but all I know is that right after I watched this long ass movie, I hit the rewind button and watched it again.
Some of the college scenes are a bit over the top and I don’t know why everything had to be so damn colorful and later on in the second half, there was a bit too much slapstick comedy in the Johny Lever( a popular comedian) scenes but overall, I think this movie was well done. 100% escapist, overtly sentimental and full of unrealistic ideas of romance and love but guess what? I can’t help but love it.
I think part of the first half dragged a bit but on the other hand, Rahul and Tina did love each other so perhaps their story really needed that much attention.
Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan have great chemistry and were/are one of the most beloved reel couples in Bollywood history. It’s easy to see why because they connect quite well with each other that all their scenes seem so natural. The songs were also great in this movie, except the early ones set in their college. The little kid was cute and I loved Salman Khan as Anjali’s fiance. It did have that cliche Bollywood wedding ending but when I first saw this movie, it hadn’t begun to annoy me yet.
This is one fun, touching and romantic movie I recommend!
And I can’t end this without a screen cap of one of the most talked about gazebo scenes in Bollywood history. Oddly enough, this scene didn’t quite work for me. I can probably name ten other scenes in this movie I prefer. But, it’s still cute.