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Kal Ho Naa Ho : 20th Anniversary

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Jaya Bachchan, Sonali Bendre “Jiyo! Khush raho! Muskurao! Kya pata kal ho naa ho!” is hea...

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Jaya Bachchan, Sonali Bendre

“Jiyo! Khush raho! Muskurao! Kya pata kal ho naa ho!” is heartbreaking to hear Shah Rukh Khan say this in Kal Ho Naa Ho when you already know what’s going to happen at the end. Kal Ho Naa Ho is an integral part of Indian cinema at this point, full of excellent songs and quotable, heartbreaking and funny dialogues, and par-excellence performances from the three leads: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan. Kal Ho Naa Ho just turned 20 today and is a perfect film despite all the perceived flaws.

Every time you watch it you find something new to appreciate. Only a well-made film works every single time for the viewer. Shot like a Karan Johar film, edited like a Karan Johar film, and made like a Karan Johar film, it’s actually directed by his assistant, Nikkhil Advani.

It is interesting to see that the colour of Naina’s umbrella is different from everyone else’s in Rohit’s introductory scene. Her umbrella is pink whilst everybody else’s is black, which means that Naina has a lot of love inside her but nobody to love. Then Naina and Rohit start to walk with the umbrella over them, which, again foreshadows that they will eventually fall in love; Naina stands alone under the umbrella at the beginning of the scene, then Rohit runs towards her and starts to walk with her under it: Naina has finally found someone to love.

Shah Rukh Khan’s character Aman represents God. He is called “God” in multiple scenes: “Unhone humari sunli,” One of Lajjo’s friends remarks in a scene just before the song “Pretty Woman” and then the film cuts to Shah Rukh Khan’s character, Aman. Aman is seen wearing white for most of the runtime as well. Another interesting thing in Aman’s introductory scene at the subway is, that everybody else is wearing black while Aman and his mother are wearing white. Preity Zinta’s character’s clothes are dull in the beginning but gradually become vibrant over the course of the film.

Nikkhil Advani has said that the film is about living in the moment which is certainly the case with the film: it’s all about characters learning to live in the moment. The film also continues using Karan Johar’s philosophy that “Pyar Dost Hai.” We hear that for the first time in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, it was continued in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, in Kal Ho Naa Ho and then Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna followed by Student of the Year and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil as well.

Shah Rukh Khan is simply brilliant as Aman: he has great comic timing and acts just as effectively in emotional scenes. Preity Zinta makes Naina believable while Saif Ali Khan is funny and charming as Rohit.

The film features some great jokes, which at times are overtly sexual. The writing is brilliant and this might as well be the best thing Karan Johar has written. Nikkhil Advani deftly helms this film to make it so memorable. The songs are so energetic and fun to listen to right from Maahi ve, Kuch to hua hai to It's the time to disco and Pretty woman. The title track breaks your heart as does the background score.

Kal Ho Naa Ho is one of the saddest and simultaneously uplifting films in mainstream Bollywood cinema in recent memory. It may have been made 20 years ago, but it will resonate with people and make them laugh and cry till the time cinema is alive.


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