Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna : My Thoughts

The bad press that ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’ or KANK as it is now known as, got from Day 1 was the reason I preferred to give it a miss and nothing, not even Abhishek Bachchan as part of the cast, could change my decision.

Then I happened to read this wonderful review by fellow-Caferatian Vandana Vasudevan and I couldn’t wait to see it!!

I walked in to the movie with Vandana’s eight reasons and a lot of warnings (badly fleshed out characters/stupid plot/bad acting/yada-yada-yada) but from the first scene itself they vanished as I became part of the lives of

Dev (I-am-going-to-rain-on-everyone’s-parade)
Rhea (I-refuse-to-be-apologetic-for-being-happy-and-successful) Saran.

Maya (I-don’t-know-what-I-want-but-crave-for-it-anyways)
Rishi (what-is-this-woman’s-problem) Talwar.

I am clueless about why people complained that the characters were half-baked or not fleshed out enough.

Preity Zinta is Rhea Saran. A confident, successful magazine editor married to a bitter, cynical football coach, Dev. She is a strong woman who understands that she is the one who has to bring in the bread, butter and caviar after her husbands accident and at the same time not make him realize it and goes about doing just that and at the same time tries her best to keep her marriage alive in her own subtle way.

Shahrukh Khan is Dev Saran. A major league football player who had just signed a 5 million dollar contract when a freak accident smashed his knee, his dreams and his self-esteem to smithereens. And, just like his knee, he too never recovered fully from this incident/accident. Dev is an extremely cruel, cynical and bitter person whose ego rules him. And just as when a person doesn’t have anything else going for him, his ego takes over so is the case here too. He resents every person he comes across because he resents himself the most, and that attitude seeps into all areas of his life, whether it is his relationship with his wife and child or with complete strangers.

Rani Mukherji plays Maya Talwar. A repressed, confused, dissatisfied, nursery teacher who doesn’t know how to handle life’s bounties and finds ways to be miserable. She marries Abhishek as an obligation, as she states at the very start, because Abhishek and his Dad (Amitabh Bachchan) took her in and brought her up since she was a kid. Besides being obliged she isn’t strong enough to say “No” to the marriage and goes ahead with it despite all her misgivings and fully aware of the fact that she doesn’t, nor ever will, love Abhishek.

Abhishek Bachchan plays Rishi Talwar, a successful, easy going, event manager who loves his wife to bits and does everything that he can, which includes bringing her flowers, paying her compliments, clowning around, indulging her Obsessive Compulsive Disorders , among other things, to make her happy and see her smile. He shares a great relationship with his flirtatious, fun-loving father Samarjit Talwar (Amitabh Bachchan has outdone himself) or “Sexy Sam” as he is known as.

No amount of effort put in by their better halves (literally speaking) is enough to make the marriages of Maya and Dev work. Till fate, presumably quite tired of the gloom of the former and rants of the latter, decides to introduce one to the other.
Misery loves company and both these despondent people get together to find a solution to make their respective marriages work but find solace in each others company instead. They blossom in the attention showered on them by the other and between sharing endless cups of coffee and infinite advice and solutions on how to get closer to their respective spouses, they realize that they are closer to each other instead.

Their spouses, Rishi and Rhea, totally oblivious to this entire backstage drama are pleasantly surprised at the change and view it as a positive turn of events. Please do watch the movie to see what happens next.

KANK has a mature script and direction by Karan Johar. Sensitive dialogues by Niranjan Iyer left me misty eyed and with a lump in my throat at so many places.
This movie has loads of class and common sense and I fail to understand what people see ‘wrong’ in what the movie had to convey.

The story, as I saw it, was about 4 different characters and 2 marriages. Extra marital affairs happen all the time and all around us. It takes 1 person to mess up a marriage but BOTH the spouses to put it right and no matter what goes wrong in a marriage; the effort to put it right has to be from BOTH sides, which wasn’t happening in either of these marriages.

Each of the characters brought what they had into the marriage. So, while Rhea and Rishi brought in loyalty, commitment, the positives and thought of solutions and how to make their marriages work, Dev and Maya concentrated on finding non-existent negatives and ways to evade their spouses/marital responsibilities.

When Dev said that ‘Love is what makes a marriage work’ he was right. Love comprises of a lot of things put together like respect, loyalty, commitment, honesty, trust, caring, to name a few. And when you ‘love’ your spouse and your marriage enough you pull all the stops and put everything that you have into it to make it work, like Rhea and Rishi did.

But when there is no ‘Love’ for your spouse or marriage, like in Maya and Dev’s case, then nothing can make it work, not even well- meaning spouses who want it to.
Maya and Dev were two very disgruntled people who didn’t know what they wanted from life. The only thing they had in common was a bad marriage.

I loved the movie and the layers that each character came wrapped in.

Sexy Sam’s over the top, bawdy behavior behind which a sharp eye detects his daughter-in-law has fallen out of love with his son, before anyone can.

Preity Zinta’s strong, never complaining, loyalty and deep love for her undeserving husband that you realize only at the end when the sophisticated sparring of words take place between her and Rani.

Kirron Kher playing a refreshingly different, not only from reel but real life too, mother-in-law who supports and stands by her daughter-in-law and accepts that her son has erred.

Abhishek’s strength of character and his adoration for Rani that is reveled subtly in so many places (when he bandages her foot, when he tells her ‘she is finding ways to get out of the marriage while he is finding ways to stay in it’)

And, most of all King Khan. This role must have been the only when where no acting was required *wicked smile* the frustration, the envy, the insecurity each emotion played out effortlessly.

Movies are not made to change your lives, they are made to change your mood and Karan Johar does a great job of it each time. Irrespective of which continent, class or crowd he makes his movies for I enjoy the 3 hours of opulence, grandeur and the awesome color combinations in each of his films.

For me movies are just a source of entertainment and Karan Johar never fails to deliver his side of the bargain.