The filmmaker, who gave us a cult classic in ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, also presented a young Shah Rukh Khan in a sweet little film ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’. Khan, who has time and again reiterated that this film is one of his favourites, delivers a first-rate performance in this charming ‘slice-of-life’ film.
The brilliance of Kundan Shah and the effervescence of Shah Rukh Khan, along with a stellar supporting cast and crew, make ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’ one of the most memorable films of the 90s decade. The music by Jatin-Lalit has stood the test of time for almost two decades.
Young Sunil (Shah Rukh Khan) harbours aspirations of becoming a fine musician, much against the wishes of his father, Vinayak (Anjan Srivastav). Struggling to complete his education (having failed thrice in a row already), Sunil finds it difficult to live up to his family’s expectations. His only confidante in the family is his younger sister Nikki (Sadiya Siddiqui).
Sunil, while concentrating mainly on his music band, also featuring Imran (Ashutosh Gowariker), Yezdi (Kurush Deboo), Tony (Aditya Lakhia), Chris (Deepak Tijori) and Anna (Suchitra Krishnamoorthi), also has to deal with the matters of the heart! He is in love with Anna. Anna and Chris are fond of each other. Sunil, in his attempt to keep Chris away from his ladylove, ends up hurting Anna.
The film revolves around Sunil. When he is happy, you have a smile on your face. When he is hurt, your heart goes out to him. When he redeems himself, you feel vindicated.
One wonders whether if it was Kundan Shah’s magical direction or Shah Rukh Khan’s magnetic personality that made this film so endearing.
The supporting cast, including stalwarts such as Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Satish Shah, Rita Bhaduri, Tiku Talsania, Goga Kapoor and Virendra Saxena, don’t let this film become a one-man show. Every character stays with you. Kundan Shah has this rare ability to make his characters so real, and yet give them a cinematic appeal. Ranjit Kapoor as dialogue writer and Kundan Shah-Pankaj Advani as the story-screenplay writers, produce brilliant moments on the screen. Essentially, the film, much like ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, finds humour in the most tragic situations. The film may not shape up as you would want it to, yet you will be smiling through most moments. Kundan’s films are like that. Optimism is omnipresent throughout ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’.
The editing by Renu Saluja deserves special mention. Music by Jatin Pandit and Lalit Pandit is absolutely brilliant. All the songs on this album strike an instant chord with listeners. Ae Kaash Ke Hum, Anna Mere Pyaar Ko Na Tum, Deewana Dil Deewana, Woh To Hai Albela and Sachchi Yeh Kahani Hai are timeless songs. They kind of take you back into the 90s era. The costume designer of this film is Shah Rukh Khan’s wife Gauri Khan. Enough said! The two powerhouses of this film are Shah Rukh Khan and Kundan Shah. Shah Rukh Khan’s romantic side was discovered much later in films such as ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ and ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’, but the first film to really capture that emotion was ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’.
The film is about love, music, coming-of-age, values, money, simplicity and so much more. Must watch!