Movie Review January 2004
Kal Ho Naa Ho
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan
Producer: Karan Johar
Director: Nikhil Advani
Music Directors: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Nikhil Advani who had so far only assisted in the direction of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, narrates a sensitive story scripted by Karan Johar to a heartwarming effect. Beautiful lyrics and poignant dialogue combine with masterful direction in the creation of a film that flows like molten chocolate, delighting, exhilarating, exciting and touching the heart from time to time, without a hint of melodrama.
Family pressures have taken their toll on Naina Catherine Kapur (Preity Zinta), a resident of Lower Manhattan. New York and she has become a boring, serious type of person with no time for fun. She lives with her mom Jennifer (Jaya Bachchan in jeans), who shares a love-hate relationship with her mother-in-law Sushma Seth (at her loudest Punjabi best). The only interesting person in Naina's life is buddy Rohit Patel (Saif Ali Khan).
Enter funny guy Aman ( Shah Rukh) who turns out to be the proverbial angel in her life though she hates him at first sight. He is Dale Carnegie-Jim Carrey-Richard Gere-Deepak Chopra all rolled into one and zooms into Naina's neighborhood singing pretty woman. Life is one big song and dance till the interval. Post interval, it is time to bring out the tissues. You will sob all the way to the end though the proceedings never turn heavy as they are laced with a liberal dose of humor.
Shah Rukh is absolutely mesmeric as the guy who spreads happiness wherever he goes even as he awaits death. Given SRK's performance, it is all the more important to take note of Saif who plays Rohit Patel with a finesse that is all his. Preity Zinta slips beautifully into the character of a girl who has lost her smiles to a disturbed childhood. Jaya Bachchan has never been so impressive in any of her comeback films, probably because she never had a role so exquisitely etched. The supporting cast, including Satish Shah and Lilette Dubey, are terrific as always.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is foot-stomping except of course for the title track which is soothing and soulful.
Any parallels with the 70s' classic Rajesh Khanna-starrer Anand? No. That was one masterpiece. This is another.
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