Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - a unique way of looking at extramarital affairs


Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (India, 2006)

Seen: Saturday, 1st May 2010 (DVD, repeat viewing)
Runtime: 193′
Director: Karan Johar
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta, Abhishek Bachchan, Kiron Kher, Arjun Rampal, John Abraham (cameo)
Production House: Dharma Productions
Plot: The story of two people, who fall in love with each other even though they are married to other people.


Rating: +2 (Adored It)

Impressions In Short
It’s one of the strangest films I’ve seen about the dynamics of marriage and extramarital relations. Then again I can’t name many films, which had an extramarital affair as its leading theme (I remember I saw some sort of Russian art house film at a festival once, but nothing else comes to mind).

More About the Film
The reason the film strikes me as weird in its treatment of the subject is that there are no villains. All the characters in the film are at least somewhat sympathetic. Neither of the marriages are abusive and there is even some love in them. It’s just that for various reasons the marriages are dysfunctional, which in turn is why Dev and Maya end up looking for love elsewhere (if “looking” is even the right word).
The level of detail in the portrayal of the relationships is amazing. The film touches upon so many marital problems in such a beautifully direct manner. For one thing, it deals with sex very openly. Not that it’s an explicit film - we’re talking Bollywood here ;-P Although it does have a scene in a sex shop, which is very bold I think *grin* (I mean I’ve only seen one other film that had a scene in a sex shop I think ;-P). While sex doesn’t seem to work out well in either of the marriages, for Maya and Rishi it’s a major factor in why there’s so much bitterness and resent between them. Dev and Riya’s marriage has different issues - Riya making a successful career for herself while Dev’s career is going nowhere is certainly amongst them. In one of the scenes of confrontation Dev accuses Riya of being a bad mother. Riya hits back at him by saying she’s the man in their house, which for him is probably the most hurtful thing she could have said. It’s a great moment - it takes on the gender issues in an extremely direct manner.
But even though the film has a substantial amount of melodrama, I always think of it first and foremost as a comedy (IMO the trailer is quite misleading). Much of the film is hilarious with a lot of sarcasm alongside the more standard Bollywood humour. The funny side of things is there even in a lot of the more emotional scenes. One of my favourite sequences is when Dev starts getting jealous of Rishi. There is something very real about it and yet it’s hilarious at the same time. Besides, I absolutely lurve it when Shahrukh does jealousy or any sort of possessive feelings - he’s awesome at it *grin*
There’s a lot of stars in the film and I like all of them, so the film is fun to see for that reason also. I think Rani Mukherji puts in a particularly good performance (or at least it’s my favourite one in the film ;-P).
Technically it’s a very beautiful film as well - there’s some great camerawork and editing in it. But then it’s hardly surprising - I’ve come to expect that from Karan Johar and Dharma Productions :)

Definitely - I think it’s a pretty unique film. Commercial and yet it doesn’t really fit any mould. And even in Western standards the way it takes on marriage and cheating is very bold.

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