Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Something Happens, aka KKHH) is a super popular film, especially among SRK fans who were teenagers when it came out in 1998. It features two love triangles separated in time by nearly ten years, both combining Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol with a third supporting player. In the first half of the film, Rani Mukerji, in her major film debut, plays Tina, the gorgeous, sophisticated, feminine new girl on campus who wins Rahul's (SRK's) affections away from his tomboyish best friend, Anjali (Kajol). The rest of the film, set years later, pits a widowed Rahul against Aman (Salman Khan), who is engaged to Anjali. The film swept the Filmfare Awards that year, including all four acting and supporting actor awards, and it really is just that good!
As the college-age Rahul, SRK is his usual insufferable dude self at first. (I am getting used to this, but still find myself looking forward to his inevitable transformation into Mr. Charming Sadder-but Wiser-Guy.) Anjali sees through his macho facade and they enjoy a close, platonic friendship. When Tina arrives and proves immune to his tried-and-true ways with the ladies, Rahul falls hard, just as Anjali is starting to feel attracted to him.
Because this is a film that argues that love and marriage can happen more than once in a lifetime, it is important that Rahul's connection with both Tina and Anjali are credible as real love. Their chemistry is different, though. College-age Rahul's feelings for Tina are infused with youthful passion in the flush of first love, and the conviction that there is just one such soulmate for each of us. Grown-up Rahul realizes, as he realizes the depth of his feelings for Anjali, that this, too, is love. Compare the previous scene with this one, which always gives me chills.
So, now the questions:
What is your first impression of Rahul? Nobody does insufferable young pup like Shah Rukh Khan. Newcomers may hate collegiate Rahul; fans will know that he grows out of it and cleans up his act really, really well.
What is Tina's first impression of Rahul? She's not impressed by his Big Man on Campus act, and teaches him a thing or two. She also befriends Anjali, which earns her major points for being able to spot a quality person.
How would you describe their chemistry over the course of the film? Credible and very sexy. She goes on to win his heart over and over again in many memorable romantic films. Chalte, Chalte (2003), Paheli (2005), Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) are all fabulous romantic stories.
If you had a first date with Rahul, would you go on a second? Young dude Rahul? Yes, if only to beat him at basketball. Grown-up Rahul can park his slippers under my bed anytime.
Next first date: Aishwarya Rai - Mohabbatein (2000)