Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Of Similarities Between Kal Ho Naa Ho And Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

I watched Kal Ho Naa Ho again yesterday. I think I can never be good friends with a person who does not like this film. I love this film and, like always, I have a lot to write about again on the eternal charm of this movie. 

While watching Kal Ho Naa Ho, I could not help but observe how much it is similar to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. There are many common themes between the two movies. In Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Rahul and Anjali are the best of friends. Rahul falls in love with Tina, though Anjali is in love with Rahul, too. Tina and Rahul get married; however, Tina dies due to complications during her pregnancy. She writes a series of letters to her daughter in which she expresses her wish that Rahul and Anjali should get together after her death. Similarly, in Kal Ho Naa Ho, Naina and Rohit are friends, and Aman comes as an angel in Naina's life. Naina falls in love with Aman, who also loves Naina immensely; however, Aman is suffering from a heart disease and does not have many days to live. Therefore, he helps Naina find love in her friend Rohit, who also loves Naina. As she says to Aman, "Itna pyaar karte ho ke jaane ke baad bhi mere liye pyaar chhod ke jaana chahte ho, chahe kisi aur ka sahi." Both Aman and Tina wanted to see the person they loved to be happy after their deaths, and wished to help them find love again when they are gone.

There is also a theme of falling in love with two people in both the films. I have written many times on this theme before also. At one point in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, on being asked by his mother to get married again, Rahul says that we only live once and we only love once. He says, "Hum ek baar jite hain, ek baar marte hain, shaadi bhi ek hi baar hoti hai, aur pyaar, pyaar bhi ek hi baar hota hai." Though he said this statement, later he realized his love for Anjali. By marrying Anjali, he did not stop loving Tina, it is just that he found love again. Similarly, Naina fell in love with Aman. However, she was tricked into believing that Aman was already married. At one point, Rohit asked her if she would ever be able to love someone again. She did not reply but it seemed that she will not be able to love anyone again. But Rohit asked her to marry him and she accepted. She might love Aman, but it does not mean that she cannot love Rohit. At the very least, she tried to move on. This is a heartening message in both the films that just because one does not get his first love, it does not mean one should stop living, but rather one should move on. As Riya had perfectly summarized in Hum Tum, "Kisi ke jaane ke baad bhi pyaar thori na kam ho jata hai. Sameer ka pyaar mere saath hamesha rahega. I will always love him." Not everyone has to self-destruct like Devdas. Maybe if Anjali had married Aman who loved her immensely, she might have started loving him, too. Even in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, there is this message to move on. Though Maya was never really in love with Rishi (she tried, but maybe she did not try enough), she was being advised by her father-in-law Sam to leave Rishi as by not leaving him, she is stopping him from the love he could get. Rishi ko chhod do, is tarah saath reh kar tum usse kisi aur ke pyaar se door kar rahi ho. At some levels, there was a hidden subtext of falling in love with two love people with Naina's dead father, too. He had an extra-martial affair with a woman, with whom he had a daughter, Gia. He commits suicide because he could not bear that his wife Jenny accepted his daughter from another woman. We don't get to see more about his back story but he fell in love with another woman but still remained married to Jenny but did not have the courage to fight for his relationships. As Jenny said, "Tumhare Papa kamzor the." It is indeed remarkable on Jenny's part that she understood and forgave her husband. She is a great woman. 

Then, there is a subtext of incomplete first love in both the films. First love is always special and everyone remembers it. In Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Anjali runs to Rahul to tell her about how much she loves him. Instead what happens is that Rahul tells her that he loves Tina. She, then, remains quiet and tells him to go and tell the same to Tina. In an almost similar scene in Kal Ho Naa Ho, Rohit calls Naina on a lunch date to tell her that he loves her. Instead, Naina tells him that she loves Aman. He is heartbroken, but then, he also tells her that she should go and tell Aman, like Anjali said to Rahul. She should not be afraid because, "Koi pagal hi tumse pyaar nahi karega, Naina." Then, there are two more similar scenes. Anjali comes back and tells her Rifat Bi, "Mera pehla pyaar adhoora reh gaya." In a contrasting scene, Rohit says, "Mujhe apna pehla pyaar bhulana padega." In the end in Kal Ho Naa Ho, Naina remarks that Aman was her first love and she will not forget him. 

There is also a theme that love is friendship in both the films. Rahul believes that love is friendship, "Pyaar dosti hai, agar woh meri sab se achchi dost nahin ban sakti to main us se pyaar kar hi nahi sakta." Rahul believes that to fall in love with someone, you have to be best friends with that person. Rahul and Anjali were best friends. Tina became friends with Rahul but as she says, perhaps, she never became his best friend. It was always Anjali, who was in love with him, but Rahul realized it only later. Anajli was there in his subconscious even after eight years. Similarly, Rohit and Naina were great friends. Rohit was in love in Naina. They both found love in each other. As Naina said perfectly in the end, "Har ladki ka sapna hota hai, ki use apne pati mein hi ek accha dost mil jaaye. Lekin main bahut khush kismat hoon, ki mujhe apne sabse acche dost mein hi apna pati mil gaya." 

I also felt many similarities between the relationship of Anjali, and her mother; and that of Naina and her mother. There was lack of a fatherly figure in the life of both Anjali and Naina. At one point in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Anjali's mom observes a certain grimness in Anjali and asks her is she is happy with Aman. She replies that she has made a compromise in life. Similarly, Naina's mother figured it out that that she loves Aman, and asks her to move forward. Interestingly, there is a similar moment during the engagement of Naina and Rohit, and Anjali and Aman where their mothers dance during the songs Saajan Ji Ghar Aaye, and Maahi Ve.

And, while Anjali throws a red dupatta to Tina as a symbol of her love for Rahul in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, we see a red tie and a red dress by Rohit and Aman, a metaphor for love in Kal Ho Naa Ho. It is also worth mentioning how love brings a change in both Anjali and Naina. Naina learns to smile again, she learns to be happy again. Aman's love makes her feel alive again. Similarly, Anjali tries to change herself so that she can be loved by Rahul. She becomes more mellow, and 'girly' to get Rahul's love. There is another similar line in both the films gives a feeling of déjà vu. When Anjali is leaving, Tina says, "Anjali ki khamoshi mujhe sab kuch keh gayi." And, Naina on being asked by Rohit, if she can fall in love again says, "Meri khamoshi sab kuch keh gayi."

At two points in the film, Kal Ho Naa Ho pays a tribute to Dil Chahta Hai. In the first scene, Aman, Naina, and Sweetoo are sitting on a ferry. Aman tries to hitch Sweetoo with Frankie and calls him Ramdayal. He says, "Kya karoo maine Dil Chahta Hai nahi dekhi hai." It is interesting because Preity who starred in Dil Chahta Hai, is sitting with him in this scene. In a second scene, Aman is sitting with Priya and he remarks, "Koi mar gaya kya," another iconic line from that film.

In another funny similarity, in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Farah Khan and Nikhil Advani make a special appearance in a film directed by Karan Johar. In fact, in that scene, he calls his girlfirend Superna who was actually Nikhil Advani's girlfriend at that time (now his wife). In Kal Ho Naa Ho, Farah Khan and Karan Johar make a special apperance in a film directed by Nikhil Advani. 


Books in Movies:
Kal Ho Naa Ho has done excellent research on the MBA books that Naina reads. 

The Portable MBA Desk Reference  Paul A. Argenti

 Competitive Strategy  Michael E. Porter

Advanced Modelling in Finance using Excel and VBA  Mary Jackson, Mike Staunton

Catch 22  Joseph Heller

100 Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor  Pablo Neruda

A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You  Amy Bloom

Twelve Women Detective Stories — Laura Marcus, Chris Willis

The Giant Book of Dreams: Unlock The Secrets of Your Unconscious Mind  Pierre Daco

Kal Ho Naa Ho is a glorious film. I weep every time I watch it and can watch it repeatedly. The film has great dialogues, melodious songs, and above all amazing characters. I love Rohit. Naina accuses him of being weak because of taking Aman's help to make her fall in love with him but in fact, he was one of the strongest people in the film. As Jenny said perfectly, "Vo jaanta hai tum kisi aur se pyaar karti ho, phir bhi tumhe apnana chahta hai. Yeh taakat hai." It takes great courage to accept that your love might not be reciprocated, and Rohit had that immense strength of character that Naina might never love him but his love can be enough for the both of them. Indeed, he is a gem of a person. Koi paagal hi Rohit se pyaar nahi karega.

I have already written so much on these two films here, but still I can continue to write. More here, here, here, and here. And, yes, I still sing the Kunwari Kudi ad whenever it comes. Kudi Kudi Kudi, choose karle munda, one two ya three, ke aaao aooo ke aoooo aaooo :)

Dialogue of the Day:
"Ishwar ki prathna karne ka kya fayda jab uski zindagi ki kadar karna na jaano, tumhare paas jo hai tumhare hisaab se kam hai, par kisi or ki nazaro se dekho to tumhare pass bahut kuch hai."
— Aman, Kal Ho Naa Ho


  1. Pankaj

    This was a wonderful post. The similar running themes of these two classics was something I hadn't paid any notice to when I had seen them. Possibly due the large time gap between them and the short attention span we generally have.
    Kudos for listing out the name of each of the books covered. Clearly each title has been carefully selected and placed in the frames to gel so well with the characters portrayed.
    I am so inclined to go ahead and rewatch both these movies. Looking forward to more such in-depth analysis of movies, both new and old.

  2. Wow! You amaze me every single time. The details are simply Superb!!! 😍👌👌👌

  3. Wow! You amaze me every single time. The details are simply Superb!!! 😍👌👌👌

  4. awsome as always.. kal ho na ho is most favourite.. i love aman more... yes.this film always make me cry.


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