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Movie Review - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM.com

KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA has generated tremendous heat within and outside the film industry. It's not the star cast alone that has resulted in unparalleled, unmatched and unprecedented craze for the film. It's also the person seated on the director's chair that makes KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA special. Very special.

KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA narrates the story of two families -- Sarans and Talwars -- both not connected to one another. But circumstances bring them together. Dev Saran [Shah Rukh Khan] has an uneasy and troubled relationship with his wife Rhea [Preity Zinta] and son Arjun [child artist Ahsaas]. He resents his wife's growing success and in the process, ends up turning all his anger towards his loved ones.

Maya Talwar's [Rani Mukherji] relationship with her husband Rishi [Abhishek Bachchan] is layered with a lot of self-doubt and question. She is unable to whip up enough passion for Rishi and is disappointed that her love for him does not match her own expectations of what it ought to be. This dilemma pulls her further apart from him, thereby causing a strain on their marital life.

One fine day, Dev and Maya's path cross each other…

KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA starts like a nice romantic drama, with Abhishek getting married to his childhood sweetheart and SRK talking to his wife about the $ 5 million deal after he has won a game of soccer. But minutes later, the film does a 180-degree turn and establishes the friction between the two couples.

The tension between the couples surfaces gradually, but reaches the crescendo 20 minutes before intermission. The spat between SRK and Preity on one hand [Preity: “I wear the pants in this house”], followed by the heated argument between Abhishek and Rani [Abhishek: “You can't even bear a child”] is amongst the most remarkable portions in the film. These sequences hit you like a ton of bricks!

It's not that the first half is laced with tense-filled moments. In fact, the first hour-and-a-half has light portions in abundance. Amitabh Bachchan's philandering lifestyle provides ample moments of laughter and of course, eye-candy, what with some gorgeous firang babes jumping out of the closet.

In the post-interval portions, infidelities occur, betrayals are discovered and the couples' worlds go upside down. The sequence at the dinner [Sr. Bachchan hosts a sit-down dinner on Kiron Kher's birthday], when SRK expresses his feelings, or when SRK opens up to Preity and Rani to Abhishek about the affairs are master strokes from the writing and execution point of view. Note another scene: SRK waiting with a bouquet of roses for Rani and by a sheer coincidence, Preity walks in at that time at the signal crossing. This sequence [it depends on treatment alone] deserves distinction marks.

The end is powerful, but disturbing. Disturbing for those who believe in the age-old traditions. The film moves about in a serpentine fashion. Just when you thought that the couples have decided to go separate ways, there's another twist in the tale and yet another, in the end.

KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA is not a date film and the writers [Karan Johar, Shibani Bathija] spell it out at the very outset. The screenplay balances the two extremes -- light moments and dollops of emotions -- with amazing ease. The relationship between the couples or even those between the parent and child [the Bachchans] is delicately handled. If there are moments that move you to tears, there are ample moments that bring a smile to your face as well. Another noteworthy aspect is its forthright dialogues [Niranjan Iyengar]. The lines sound straight of life and there also exist a host of interesting observations. Yes, the film is talky, but in a smart way. You never feel that the characters are talking to hear their own words or to fill up screen time.

Anil Mehta's cinematography is awesome. The film has been filmed in New York and the lensman captures the various seasons and colors with gusto. The outcome is easily comparable to the best in Hollywood. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is melodious. 'Mitwa', 'Rock N Roll Soniye' and 'Where's The Party Tonite' appeal also due to the vibrant choreography [Farah Khan]. The styling and the production values are topnotch. Editing could be tighter. A bit of trimming, in the first half mainly, would only sparkle the film further.

In KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA, the actors get a chance to shine and no one shines brighter than Shah Rukh Khan. Let's just state one thing here: This is SRK's finest work after D.D.L.J. His sequences with Preity specifically, when the couple has their spats, or in the climax, when he just stares at Rani from inside the train, proves that he's undoubtedly the best in the business. The ferocity with which he delivers his lines and the restless energy he imparts to his character electrifies every scene that he's in.

Rani is remarkable yet again. In fact, if you consider BLACK to be her most memorable performance so far, then watch her in KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA. This surpasses her work in BLACK or VEER-ZAARA and PAHELI. Her makeup as well as her overall appearance is tremendous. She's never looked as good before!

It would be unfair to describe either Abhishek Bachchan or Preity Zinta's performances as 'lesser'. Abhishek is brilliant, especially when he gets serious towards the end. His penultimate sequence, when he gives a golden advice to Rani, is outstanding. Preity not only looks gorgeous, but the dedication to her role shows at vital points. Her penultimate scene with Rani, when she confronts her at the marriage reception, is fabulous.

Amitabh Bachchan is in superb form. The naughty streak that he displays soon disappears in the second half, when he realizes that something is amiss. In fact, his expressions at the dinner first and also in the hospital only reiterates the fact that he's an icon. Kirron Kher excels in a brief but significant role. Arjun Rampal looks perfect for the part. Kajol and John Abraham [both appear in songs] add to the glamour quotient. Child artist Ahsaas looks cute and acts well.

On the whole, KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA is an outstanding film from the writing, performance and execution point of view. It has style, substance, it takes challenges and doesn't follow formulas -- and that is its biggest strength.


FRIDAY , SATURDAY, SUNDAY : 1:30PM, 3:30PM, 5:30PM, 7:30PM, AND 9:30PM



For detailed review visit: http://www.indiafm.com/movies/review/12514/index.html
For show details visit: http://www.cineplazaboston.com

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