Wednesday, August 16, 2006

KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA


How does a director mature? How does a filmmaker attempt to get serious? How does Karan Johar try to shift gears from teenage mush to adult post-marital blues? Well by merely talking about it, because for all the interviews and buzz about Bollywood’s Peter Pan growing up, he has virtually nothing to show for it in ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’.

Okay, kudos to Karan for telling it like it is. One CAN fall in love after marriage. One HAS every right to explore a relationship honestly post marriage. DOWN with being moralistic about extra-marital sex if you indeed are in a relationship. And yes, by all means do go ahead and TIE that knot a second time. But unfortunately films aren’t made ONLY to showcase a filmmaker’s outlook.

Portraying extra-marital relationships and its fallouts isn’t exactly child’s play. And after earlier films like ‘Arth’, ‘Masoom’ and ‘Silsila’ which have handled the subject somewhat deftly, Karan Johar’s multi-crore attempted tear jerker remains a one-dimensional showpiece. The film for me failed to go beyond being a visual catalogue of Manish Malhotra’s designer wear and Sharmishta Roy’s art work. Directorially Johar continues to play with his doll house. His Archie, Betty and Veronica have only passed Riverdale High to walk down the aisle.

Shah Rukh as a cynical limping football junkie, Preity as a career woman playing the ‘man’ of the house, a confused much-married Rani still looking for Mr Right and Bachchan Jr. as the patient hubby sound great on paper and remain just that. Virtually none of the characters manage to breathe life into their parts on screen. Can we see Shah Rukh a little more on the field? Can we see a football freak WEAR his passion? Can we see him have a real relationship with his son? Can we see Rani a little beyond the New York Station? Can people loosen up and sit down in their homes to talk instead of acting like props at the local interiors shop? Can we see Shah Rukh Khan fall in love with Rani at some point of time and vice-versa? Can they act like passionate adults in an unconventional relationship instead of looking like two kids out to play whilst their parents are away? Can we feel the tension in the air when they are out together romancing behind their partner’s back? Can we NOT see Rani cleaning the floor in black designer cocktail party wear? Can Karan Johar grow up and think up of something more soulful than a silly Black Beast caper to make SRK and Rani meet? Can Karan Johar really grow up?

The film has its moments. Like when after an early morning jog a limping SRK tells Preity ‘lets walk home together’ and she has already sprinted ahead, like the scene where Preity and Rani walk towards SRK on a busy Manhattan street unknown of each other’s presence or the dinner table scene where Amitabh Bachchan gives SRK a million-dollar look. But for a 200 minute long movie they are too few and far in between.

Frankly I loved ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ for it’s freshness and enjoyed ‘Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham’ for all it’s grandeur. But ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ is a disappointment. If this is really any sign of Karan Johar growing up, I wish he wouldn’t.

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