(2003) Kuch Naa Kaho Reviews
Akshay Shah Review
KUCH NAA KAHO is a movie I had completely dismissed at the time of it’s released, I didn’t hate the movie as such, but it didn’t do much for me, and I admit this isn’t a genre that usually “works” for me. However upon the insistence of a friend I decided to give the movie another try, and ended up enjoying it quiet a bit. Don’t get me wrong folks, KUCH NAA KAHO has it’s share of flaws, however the movie is a refreshing, spirited and extremely likeable due to some endearing performances and a lilting musical score; Rohan Sippy made a worthy debut and in many cases it doesn’t feel like the work of a debut film-maker.
Raj (Abhishek Bachchan) lives in New York with his beloved mother, Dr. Malhotra (Suhasini Mulay), who desperately wants her son to settle down and get married, Raj on the other hand doesn’t believe in arranged marriages nor does he have any intentions of getting married.
When Raj visits India for his cousin’s wedding, his maternal uncle (Satish Shah) emotionally blackmails him into agreeing to meet some eligible girls. To make matters worse, the person his uncle chooses as the matchmaker and go-between for these meetings is the same person Raj has already antagonised earlier.
That person is Namrata (Aishwarya Rai), an employee of Raj’s uncle. After a series of meetings with potential brides, it becomes apparent to Namrata that finding a match for this particular suitor is not only a nightmare, but an exercise in futility as Raj ends up scaring all his potential brides away. As fate would have it Raj ends up falling in love with Namrata…problem solved? Not quiet…Namrata is a solo mum who was abandoned by her husband a while back.
Rohena Gera has done a great job with the story. Her take on the subject matter is not only refreshing, but she handles the theme with the much needed mature touch that it needs. A theme like this is often shown in the most over-melodramatic light with our heroine weeping and crying, however Gera has been careful to ensure that Namrata never comes across as weak, but as a confident, strong-willed, and more importantly independent solo mum who is surviving and happy on her own.
Neeraj Vohra’s screenplay is the biggest culprit here. Infact the promo’s of the movie show Vohra struggling to write the screenplay as part of the movies publicity, and I actually wonder if that was actually true, as Vohra’s screenplay comes across as jaded and clichéd diluting the impact of Gera;s wonderfully fresh story. The first half has it’s fair share of laughter and light moments while the second half has plenty of emotional moments, though a lot of these sequences have a “been there seen that” feeling. The finale with Arbaaz Khan showing up at the last minute is a clunker and had it not been for the amiable chemistry between the leads the movie could’ve fallen flat, but thankfully it doesn’t.
Rohan Sippy essentially chose a subject which I’m guessing he assumed to be relatively “safe” for a debut film. It was clear right from the films brilliant and snazzy opening credits that the director within Sippy is dying to make something suave and stylish like BLUFFMASTER. However in saying that, Sippy does manage to impress with the mettle at hand. His freshness and enthusiasm is clearly visible throughout the movie and he manages to salvage a lot of the dire moments in the clunky screenplay with deft handling. Be it the comic sequences, romantic or the emotional ones Sippy seems equally comfortable with them all. Furthermore, Sippy as a director shows that he’s aware of all the age old traditions and “ins and outs” of the genre. I also found Sippy manages to incorporate a lot of “old world charm” in to KUCH NAA KAHO. This maybe a bit far fetched, but while watching KUCH NAA KAHO I was for some strange reason reminded of a whimsical yesteryear Hollywood romance film, Abhishek Bachchan could quiet easily be a modern day and updated Cary Grant, while Ashwariya no doubt has the charm, beauty and intelligence of Ingrid Bergman.
Performances in the movie are well done.
This was a phase in Abhishek’s career where he came across as “awkward” in certain scenes on-screen. It wasn’t his confidence, dialogue delivery or charm which is fabulous here, but more how he carried himself on-screen and his wardrobe. There are scenes throughout the movie where the clothes Abhishek wears simply doesn’t compliment a man of his height and ends up making him looks uncomfortable. This isn’t throughout the whole movie, but only in certain parts. However post YUVA I noticed all of that had instantly vanished in all his performances, and more importantly, he definetly got a better “feel” for his styling and how to pull it off on-screen. As far as acting goes, Abhishek is natural and impresses equally in the comic scenes as he does in the emotional sequences.
Ashwariya Rai is fantastic here, and this is a earlier performance of hers I’d unfairly over-looked. I will admit this, I wasn’t much of an Ashwariya fan in her previous films, it wasn’t until HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM and later RAINCOAT where I really started liking her, and since then she’s consistently managed to impress me be it DEVDAS, GURU, PROVOKED or JODHAA-AKBAR. She looks stunningly divine as always, however it’s the sass and charishma she brings to the screen that really makes this performance work. Her emotional scenes are spot on, and she lends immense credibility and conviction to the part of Namrata.
A lot of the movie essentially “works” because of the old-school charm both Bachchan and Rai bring to the screen.
The supporting cast is ranges from great to awful. Suhashini Mulay is efficient as ever Satish Shah is a pleasure to watch as always, I actually admire Shah a lot right from his YEH JO HAI ZINDAGI days and he remains one of my favourite comedians. I remember when every film he was involved with from MASTI to MAIN HOON NA were all blockbusters. Jaspal Bhatti and Himani Shivpuri on the other hand stand out like sore thmbs as caricatures. Master Parth Dave is excellent as little Adi, and completely natural. Arbaaz Khan; are you kidding me? He makes Arjun Rampal look like Pankuj Kapur in comparison.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s melodious soundtrack is spellbinding, and another huge plus point. I would no qualms in admitting that SEL are my favourite music directors after the legend himself; A.R Rehman. While there is Pritam, Vishal-Shekhar, and countless other directors, all doing great work in their own right, a SEL album rarely tends to disappoint me, right from their earlier albums like MISSION: KASHMIR to their recent JOHNNY GADDARR (a perfect album) they compose their tunes which ultimately work in sync with the genre at hand. KUCH NAA KAHO has some superb songs including the soothing and magical title track, BAAT MERI SUNIYE TO ZARRA, ABBG PPOG IPKI UPOG (instant reminder to old-school Amitabh and his MR NATRWARLAL “mere paas aaon”).
Technically the movie is slick. V.Manikanandan’s camerawork is pleasing to the eyes, and captures the vibrant colours of the movie well.
All up KUCH NAA KAHO isn’t path-breaking cinema, heck it’s not even genre-defying, however the movie is a fresh, youthful, and vibrant old-school Bollywood romance which succeeds in delivering what it promised.
There´s a lot riding on your shoulders when you are the offspring of the director of Indian cinema´s biggest ever box office sucesses. Sholay catapulted Ramesh Sippy to legendary status in Bollywood´s chronicles. But any expectations that his son´s debut flick would do the same for the ´beta´, are quashed with the final outcome that is Kuch Naa Kaho. The novelty and inventiveness that was Sholay is just not there in Rohan´s product, though you can witness a talented flair throughout the proceedings.
Raj (Abhishek Bachchan) is our all too familiar NRI (non-resident Indian) hero, the guy who does not want to get married because the right girl has yet to appear. He´s witty, jovial and carefree, yet stupid enough to get suckered in to attending his cousin´s wedding in India, There, his Mama (Satish Shah) is waiting to introduce him to a long line of prospective brides-to-be. Fate, however, has it that Raj will fall for Mama and Company´s employee, cum fashion designer, Namrata (Aishwarya Rai). And she is in no tearing hurry to fall in love with Raj. You see, the last guy in her life, her husband, left her eons ago just as she was giving birth to her now seven year old tot, Aditya (Parth Dave). Expectedly though, Raj, Namrata and Aditya make a perfect family, and just as things are about to resolve themselves “happily ever after”, something happens. If you cannot guess what, you obviously have not seen enough Indian movies in your lifetime.
On a ten scale of filmi predictability, Kuch Naa Kaho actually ranks a twelve. It is so often obvious what is going to happen next that you could probably give yourself credit for writing the story. And the problem is that when Rohan Sippy is copying Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (the adult and child mingling at school), Daraar and countless recent romance and wedding movies, the film is drab.
What makes Kuch Naa Kaho fresh and endearing are its light and different touches infused by the director and the crew. The innocence of a child´s longing for a fatherly figure, for one, is realistically shown. So is the confusion and angst of a woman who has once before been hurt by a male in her life. As an antidote to the philandering husband movies of David Dhawan, Kuch Naa Kaho succeeds fully with its mature and righteous perspective.
Further credit can be given to all of the lead trio. True, the romantic pair appear to be drowning in confusion during the first half hour, but afterwards, they suddenly learn to tread water. Aishwarya, in particular, proves she does not need a Sanjay Leela Bhansali to extract a good performance from her. I loved her interactions with screen son and her confused emotions were perfect upon her realization that Raj had fallen in love with her.
Similarly, while I will never forgive Abhishek for poorly immitating his zillion times more talented dad every so often, he succeeds in all the scenes that require subtle and quiet acting. Parth Dave is cute and precocious, and his acting is helped by a lot of chirpy dialogue courtesy Naushil Mehta and Nidhi Tuli.
The vast majority of the limited songs also show up at the right moments, a rarity in this day and age of shoving twenty songs into a five hour romance about “loving your lovings”. (The quotation is courtesy Ramgopal Varma´s brilliant “Company”.) Choreography, cinematography and set designs, it is all fun to watch, though “Kehti Hai Yeh Hawa” will stand as my personal favourite. This video appears to have also used much of the extra footage the self-indulgent director could not fit into the talkie portions. Now that´s good use of the cutting room floor scrap.
Portions of Rohan Sippy´s Kuch Naa Kaho reveal that the man has got quite some talent and potential. But other sections also show the excessive influence the peers of this newcomer director have on his work. If Rohan can rid himself of the urge to copy others´ success formulae, I´m confident he can make his own Sholay some day.