People of the city can finally stop crossing off painstaking days on the calendar. Instead, they could try their hand at waiting in long queues. And this, for no small reason. All Shahrukh fans please stand up. All Amitabh fans, kindly also stand up. All Abhishek fans... you get the point. Or rather, you get a whole city of upstanding fans.
The hyperhyped KANK has hit the screens to some wild raucous cheering on the one hand, and possibly another cinematic landmark on the other. But that's just possibly.
What we have here, is some old Tequila in a long, long, bottle-necked bottle. By the time it comes out, the party is almost over. However, we'd admit... While the concepts that have been thrown in have definitely been seen before, they have certainly never been packaged in this way.
Charming football star Dev Saran (Shahrukh Khan) is already married when he meets Maya (Rani Mukherjee) for the first time, all decked up in her wedding regalia. Maya ho-hums about her marriage to Rishi Talwar (Abhishek Bachchan). Dev's suggestion: Try and be happy with her husband, or wait for a love that may never happen. Rani quips: What if she finds love after marriage?
This sets the base, the tone, the flavor, (the length,) and, if you will permit us, even the scent of the movie. Or, the starting ammo with which Karan Johar launches his latest melodrama from New York.
What happens when you fall in love with someone after you are happily(!) married? If you were from a so-called "Western mindset", the answer would lie in a simple word starting with D. However, if you're even slightly in the know of Indian Culture, and further, more in the know of Indian cinema, then the answer lies in a complex word, starting with a T. Taboo!
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna goes much further beyond the barriers set by previous movies like Murder or Silsila. The difference is that there the affair stays the affair, and the wife stays the wife. In any case, in the older movie, the wife wasn't allowed to know about big words starting with a D.
KANK puts in your way, an extra-marital love which is out of this world, lust which knows no limits to passion, guilt which almost dredges you into the ground, jealousy which knows no reason, and enough ethics to drive you insane.
All these emotions and events come your way with a very surprising and refreshing free-style approach: Nothing really matters to anyone in the movie, except you. But then, you aren't in the movie, so if they aren't bothered, why are you? Dev's atrocious fatherly behavior rarely gets a reprimand from mother or wife, let alone get noticed by child agencies. A full-blown declaration of adultery in front of all and sundry gets passed off as a sense of humor. Divorce is a quick flash away.
Anyway, getting back to the screen, Dev turns into a frustrated short-tempered coach after an accident leaves him with a limp for life. His wife Ria (Preity) is the busy editor of a fashion magazine, and has a fewer number of hours on her watch than her husband. As far as Maya goes, it is clear that her marriage was a compromise in spite of her loving, amorous Abhishek.
Dev and Maya meet amidst some highly contrived circumstances, and help each other reclaim their marital bliss(?). What happens then is something to visit the cinemas for.
But boy, does Shahrukh Khan possess star power. He plays the Devil's advocate, the grumpy husband, the frustrated sportsman and the ardent lover with such consummate ease, that you could almost forget that he is courting two women in the movie. However, there's the feeling that it's not enough. With stars scattered around like this, you can never get enough of any.
Sam (Amitabh Bacchan), the flamboyant "Ahh, the bed broke this morning" widower, refreshes in his role. If this man's got yet some more up his sleeve after all these years, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.
Preity Zinta does not have too many words, but plays the part of the modern woman in modern love. All she is allowed is one resounding thappad across Dev's face. Kiron Kher does well for herself, especially while receiving compliments from the frisky "sexy" Sam about the growing size of her... well, of Chandigarh. Rani Mukherjee plays the loveless-wife-yet-passionate-lover role with consummate skill. Abhishek Bachchan performs fabulously as the husband, blinded to all faults. His passion and maturity come across very easily.
But the movie's real mark is in the way it ends. In Sippy's Sholay, Amitabh dies because society won't accept a widow remarriage. Here, Karan Johar gets KANK to move the heavens and the earth, and, of course, the starcast, to be among the first to have brought off the new concept of finding love after marriage.
And perhaps, you may also just see that Tequila slowly squirming its way out of the mouth of the bottle as you move out of the halls.