Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: A Timeless Classic Or Highly Problematic Film?
Yes, Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was released exactly 21 years ago. Feel old yet? Wait, before you get all nostalgic, let me warn you this is not a love post. So if this film still holds a special place in your heart I’d suggest that you go through an ecstatic KJo’s social media where he is reminiscing the journey of his directorial debut. Although, years later he termed the film as ‘unusually silly’ and we couldn’t agree more!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slamming you for choosing the prettiest one. I get it. You found someone attractive and fell in love. But then don’t say this dialogue to impress someone, “If she can’t be my best friend, then I cannot fall in love with her.”
Let’s just be honest, this 90s film is blatantly sexist and downright misogynistic. There were so many things wrong with it, including toxic masculinity (the basketball scene, c’mon!), and if today you rewatch this cult classic, without a doubt, you’d cringe at some scenes. I know I did.
As a kid the only thing I liked about this film were the clothes which went on to become a fashion trend (I remember my sister copied Kajol and flaunted headbands that she wore in the first half of this film.) and the equation between a daughter and her widowed dad, but that gets really creepy when in one scene Rahul (played by Shah Rukh Khan) and his eight-year-old daughter Anjali exchanged this dialogue. An angry Anjali said, “Main aapki beti hoon biwi nahin (I am your daughter not wife),” to which a grown-up dad Rahul replied, “Agar main papa aur mummy dono ho sakta hoon, toh kya… (“If I can be your mum and dad both, can’t you be my…) Need I finish that sentence? If this isn’t seriously inappropriate, then I don’t know what is. Just saying.
Sorry Rahul but you were an insensitive man-child and not to mention a douchebag. Although I understand pyaar dosti hai (Love is friendship) logic but how do you distinguish love from friendship? By looks, of course!
Also, let us talk a bit about the choices Rahul makes, when it comes to love, in his college days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slamming you for choosing the prettiest one. I get it. You found someone attractive and fell in love. But then don’t say this dialogue to impress someone, “If she can’t be my best friend, then I cannot fall in love with her.” the most ridiculous pick up line ever. If this were to be true, in your own terms, you’d be falling for Anjali (Kajol) instead of Tina (Rani Mukerji). Tina was hot and feminine, so she was marriage material. While Anjali is as attractive as a potato to Rahul untill she trades her short hair and “sporty” clothes for long tresses and chiffon sarees.
Paas rehke bhi thi doori… Jaane kaisi thi majboori, sings anjali in one of the song sequences of the film.
There was no majboori (helplessness) Anjali. KJo deliberately told his audience that since you looked boyish nobody couldn’t really fall for you. But then you transformed into this sanskaari lady and all of a sudden Rahul finds you lovable. Anjali never put on make-up, never dressed like a girl is expected to, so she was bro-zoned. What’s wrong in being just a normal college girl? Why can’t society accept a woman the way she is? Does she really need to dress ‘properly’ in order to get male attention? This film is deeply embedded in a patriarchal structure that we have grown to detest. The only good takeaway from this film which still resonates with the youth now is that you can find love again.
Nobody is perfect and changing yourself is never be the answer to your problems. Don’t try to be like someone you are not. So kids, don’t be like Anjali and give up on your identity for the sake of approval from either the society or a person you love.
Today if I think really really deep, K2H2 gave us some blissful earworms, nothing else!
Image Credit: Times Of India
The views expressed are the author’s own.