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Sep 1, 2006

Movie of the week - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

Work was chillaxed on Wednesday, so I decided to take the afternoon off and go watch the much publicised KANK at one of the only two theatres that show Hindi movies in Johannesburg. Before this I had heard (after futile attempts to block opinions on a film) that the movie generated a lot of controversy through its positive protrayal of extra-marital relationships. There was also comments on the local Indian radio channel that the movie is adult-oriented and should not be viewed by children, and that someone from Mumbai had murdered his wife after watching the movie. Blah blah...

There have been a few really good movies on extra-marital relationships. The Malayalam movie Meghamalhar is an excellent example on how such a topic is handled. The director took great care in creating a story on film without placing an opinion on whether embarking on such a path is good or bad. A little thread was left at the end of the film from which the viewer is left to hang on to, to decide for themselves whether the path taken by the main characters was good or bad. This movie was a classic example of the quality of scripting and movie-making by the Malayalam film industry (not being biased - watch it and decide for yourself!).

I thought the Karan Johar crew was brave to venture into unchartered territory in an attempt to explore this theme. The movie is littered with little sub-plots (as is characteristic of a Karan Johar movie) with loose ends (like Dev's mother and son, or Rishi's life, or (sic) Black Beast), but the story around Shah Rukh Khan & Rani Mukherjis' characters was handled well, I thought. In my opinion, the movie was handled well. The theme may not be everyone's cup of tea, but that should not lead to any blindfolding just because its considered 'wrong'.

The plot gets my thumbs-up. The acting was pretty good. Abhishek Bachchan was stylish and funny (a marked improvement). Priety Zinta was glamorous as ever. Rani Mukherji carried on from her excellent acting in Black. King Khan and the Big B flowed in their characters.

The music and cinematography were my 'stars' from the movie. The songs (esp. 'Mitwa') were melodious and were coupled effectively with the visuals. Almost every frame seemed picture-perfect. I forgot to mention the artwork and the detail given to the costumes and sets - dazzling.

Direction was as good as ever. The slick editing between the tension-filled scenes played a large part in getting the story going.

The length of the film though was real big let down. Ok, so its value for money in theatres in India, but really! I thought a shorter version would have helped the slow pace in the 2nd half.

I don't think the film should be shot down because of its theme. That just shoots down the reason films are popular. Another medium of art to express one's opinions. Us viewers should be educated enough to take in the maker's understanding of a topic, and be able to make a judgement on its affects (I liken this to the Da Vinci code). In the end, we should be able to realise that the movie was... different. A change from the masalas that get churned out on such regular basis.

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