Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Surprisingly bold

Went to watch Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (KANK) thinking that I was in for a boring, 3-hour movie. I was pleasantly surprised when I came out of the theatre and realized that I actually liked it. I hated Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, missed K3G, didn't like Kal Ho Na Ho much. But with KANK, Karan Johar looks like he's trying to break out of the mould - extra marital affairs, strong women who are not ashamed of putting career over family, and a sex scene - he is definitely growing up.

Early in the movie, the married protagonist Dev (Shah Rukh Khan) tells Maya, the confused bride-to-be (Rani Mukherji) that she could either keep waiting for the right guy to come along or she could be happy. (Ouch, that hit a little too close to home!) She takes his advice, only to be trapped in a loveless marriage with a seemingly perfect guy, Rishi. (Abhishek Bachchan, yummy as ever!). She runs into an embittered Dev years later, who is also having trouble accepting that his wife Rhea (Preity Zinta) is far more successful than he is. Inevitably, they are drawn to each other even as they give each other tips to sort out their respective marital issues.

Johar manages to capture the guilt and agony of a couple in an illicit relationship - they realize that they are going to hurt people they love, but cant stay away from each other. Nobody is portrayed as the bad guy here - Zinta's character starts off with a negative vibe, but Johar quickly demolishes the concept of a career-woman-who-cares-a-damn-about-family. Johar also gets the basics right - 3 years after a divorce, Rishi gets married again, but Rhea prefers to wait and take care of her career and son instead.

That doesn't mean that the movie isn't saccharine sweet, or that performances are subtle. Rani is good, as usual. Shah Rukh is well, Shah Rukh - he doesn't do justice to the character. Preity and Abhishek are adequate. Kiron Kher and Amitabh Bachchan are over the top. Imagine a 60+ lecher giving you relationship advice! The Big B is getting way too irritating these days.

Verdict: Not bad. A bold attempt.

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