Freeze Frame #30: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Karan Johar’s debut movie is arguably his best so far. There isn’t a single unpredictable moment in the entire movie, there are moments in the first half that make you cringe, and SRK hams it up like nobody’s business. But for all that, it manages to convey the palpable enthusiasm of a debutant filmmaker in love with Hindi cinema.
KKHH is essentially Kajol’s movie. Not only does the story revolve around her, she gives one of the best performances of her career. The plot is straightforward: Anjali (Kajol) and Rahul (SRK) are classmates and bosom buddies. But before that relationship could progress beyond that, in comes Tina (Rani) and Rahul is smitten. It helps, of course, that Tina has the whole girly-girl thing going for her. Anjali realizes this and tries to compete, but loses Round 1. In Round 2, however, Tina’s no longer around (died at childbirth), and Anjali has become an amalgam of Tina and her earlier self. Which makes it that much easier for Rahul to fall in love with her.

The scene that ties these two halves together is my favourite scene in the movie: it is when you first see the “transformed” Anjali. The camera pans over a busy household in the midst of a celebration – Anjali’s engagement to Aman (Salman), in fact. Her mom asks Anjali to hurry up, and she turns, smiles, and says, “Usse kaho, yeh dulhan der lagaayegi.” (Meaning, tell him this bride will take some time.) Her look, her smile, the confidence she projects… all of that manages to convey in one moment what will happen over the next hour or so.

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