×

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham …

Bollywood's most highly awaited production of the year, with a veritable constellation of star pairings, the family comedy-drama "Kabhi khushi kabhie gham …" is a highly enjoyable, often dazzlingly staged vehicle dragged down by a sluggish final half-hour.

With:
With: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji, Simone Singh, Himani Shivpuri.

Bollywood’s most highly awaited production of the year, with a veritable constellation of star pairings, the family comedy-drama “Kabhi khushi kabhie gham …” is a highly enjoyable, often dazzlingly staged vehicle dragged down by a sluggish final half-hour. Opening worldwide in mid-December, pic started gangbusters thanks to hefty advance bookings, though its staying power will be tested in the coming weeks. Outside traditional markets, film has less crossover chances with non-Indian auds than recent period costumers “Lagaan” and “Asoka,” but, with considerable trimming to the latter half of Part II, pic would be a colorful audience-pleaser at festivals.

Following Karan Johar’s huge 1999 success “Kuch kuch hota hai,” expectation for his “K3G” has been at fever pitch, especially in light of Bollywood’s rocky local fortunes this year. Billed as the most expensive Indian production ever (at a reported $10 million) and going out in an unprecedented 650 prints in India alone, pic cannily brings together three generations of stars (several from “KKHH”). The splashy, super-long production — lensed in India, London and Egypt — plays traditional Indian values off against Western-influenced attitudes.

Repping the older generation of stars are Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan as Yash and Nandini Raichand, traditional heads of a filthy rich family living in a vast English-style chateau outside Delhi. As celebrations for Diwali get under way, younger son Rohan (hot new star Hrithik Roshan) arrives from overseas and learns that his beloved elder brother, Rahul — who’s mysteriously not around for the family get-together — was actually adopted.

In a huge 90-minute seg, pic flashes back 10 years. Rahul (’90s star Shah Rukh Khan) falls for Anjali (Kajol, also from the ’90s), the feisty daughter of a provincial sweetmeat-shop owner, instead of the girl his dad favors for him, the glam Naina (Rani Mukherji, also from “KKHH”).

After some entertaining character comedy between the breezy Anjali and confident Rahul, pic really kicks into gear with its second musical number, set during father Yash’s 50th birthday party, which underscores all the relationships and social divisions.

Stunningly scored and costumed, and gradually bringing in all the principals as it crosscuts between the Western-influenced party and Anjali’s more traditional, middle-class milieu, the sequence is a corker — modern Bollywood at its extravagant, exhilarating best.

As love deepens between Rahul and Anjali, subsequent numbers–including a fantasy sequence by the Pyramids — expand on the relationship. When Rahul insists on marrying Anjali, Yash finally boots his son out of the family.

Second half begins with a switch in tone, as Rohan travels to London, where he hears Rahul and Anjali have settled. Lighter and more modernistic, Part II throws the spotlight on Roshan, here re-teaming with Kareena Kapoor, his partner in recent surprise flop “Yaadein.” Best known to Western auds as the heroine in “Asoka,” Kapoor has a great deal of fun spoofing Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless.” As Pooja, Kapoor first falls for Rohan and then engineers the incognito meeting with his elder brother that drives most of the second half.

“K3G” starts taking on water, however, in Rahul’s reconciliation with his dad back in India, an unnecessarily drawn-out affair with traditional values laid on thick. Script seriously loses momentum in the final 30 minutes and shows its formulaic, soap opera origins.

Performances down the line are utterly confident, with Khan (from “Asoka”) adopting an agreeably lighter style and leaving Roshan to pile on the look-at-me-I’m-a-hunk appeal. Latter has good chemistry with the equally forthright Kapoor, while Kajol emerges as the funniest and most likable of the distaff players; looker Mukherji brings considerable credit to a smallish role.

Tech credits are tip-top in all departments, from Kiran Deohans’ eye-watering widescreen lensing to the sumptuous costumes, both Western and Indian. Between the regulation six musical numbers, Babloo Chakravaty’s copious background score makes hay with the catchy main theme as well as other musical montages. Hindi title literally means “Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow… .”

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham …

India

Production: A Yash Raj Films release of a Yash Johar presentation of a Dharma Prods. production. Produced by Yash Johar. Directed by Karan Johar. Screenplay, Sheena Parekh, Karan Johar.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Kiran Deohans; editor, Sanjay Sankla; background music, Babloo Chakravaty; song music, Jatin, Lalit, Sandesh Shandilya; lyrics, Sameer; production designer, Sharmishta Roy; costume designers, Manish Malhotra, Thilaku Paranesh, Shabina Khan, Rocky S.; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS Digital), Anup Deco, Anuj Mathur; choreographer, Farah Khan. Reviewed at Warner Village West End 5, London, Dec. 14, 2001. Running time: 209 MIN. (I: 100 MIN.; II: 109 MIN.)

With: With: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji, Simone Singh, Himani Shivpuri.

More Film

  • A-Beautiful-Day-in-the-Neighborhood-Trailer

    Tom Hanks Channels Mister Rogers in 'Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' Trailer

    It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood because Sony debuted the first trailer for its Mister Rogers movie starring Tom Hanks. “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is inspired by a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers (Hanks) and Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys), a cynical journalist assigned to write a profile of the long-running television host. [...]

  • For web story

    'The Burnt Orange Heresy,' With Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland, to Close Venice

    “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” starring Mick Jagger as a reclusive art dealer alongside Elizabeth Debicki (“Widows”), Claes Bang (“The Square”) and Donald Sutherland, has been selected as the Venice Film Festival closer.  The English-language art heist movie marks Italian director Giuseppe Capotondi’s first time back at Venice since 2009, when his debut feature film, the [...]

  • A woman prays at a makeshift

    Kyoto Animation Death Toll Rises to 34; Suspect Still Too Injured to Be Questioned

    Shinji Aoba, the man suspected of setting a fire that killed 34 people at the Kyoto Animation studio, remains hospitalized and too injured to be officially arrested and questioned. Police in Kyoto have obtained an arrest warrant for Aoba but cannot serve it because of his condition. Police sources have raised the death toll from [...]

  • Azania Muendane

    Locations Africa Expo Sends Message in Durban: ‘Africa is Ready’

    DURBAN–The first edition of the Locations Africa Expo and Conference was held this week during the Durban FilmMart, with an eye toward identifying and growing the opportunities to lure incoming productions to the continent. “Locations Africa is trying to service a need on the continent to discuss the physical production…on the ground, highlighting film commissions, [...]

  • The Lion King

    China Box Office: 'Looking Up' Is Surprise Weekend Winner Ahead of 'Lion King'

    Actor and comedian Deng Chao underlined his enduring popularity with mainstream Chinese audiences by delivering a surprise No. 1 box-office hit in “Looking Up” over the weekend. It scored $38.6 million in its opening frame, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway, and displaced “The Lion King” from its perch. “Looking Up” is a family [...]

  • Unathi Malonga

    Report Urges South African Media to ‘Step Up’ Against Gender Violence

    DURBAN–In a country with some of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world, South African media must step up and play a greater role in the fight against gender inequality and gender-based violence. That was the conclusion of a report, “Gender, Diversity and Gender-based Violence in South African TV,” that was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content