You just sit on your big tastefully appointed porch swing and think about what you've done: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
When I first started watching Bollywood about six months ago, I was sad to find out that my local video store doesn't have this movie. And the more I read web forums and reviews, the more surprised I became - this was a big movie, packed with important stars, a movie people were talking about all over the place. Imagine my delight when it came in a bundle of films I got online.
And imagine my... "enh" when I finished it today. What is the big deal about this movie? This particular sentiment expresses my opinion on a lot of big US movies too, particularly dramas that win Oscars lately, so it's nothing uniqiue agains K3G. Good Will Hunting. The English Patient. Gladiator. All of these made me go "enh."
I think I can best sum up my experience of K3G by saying that I gobbled down the first half in one night, staying up past my bedtime (as usual). But it took me four more sittings to get through the second half. I just didn't really care. The family was bound to reunite, through some combination of ruse, showdowns, and tears. Knowing how something will end is often a great delight to me - I routinely read the end of books first - and always adds to my enjoyment of the telling of the story. So it wasn't that. It was just that I didn't feel any compulsion to watch it happen. There was no way the movie could improve on the bracelets in the market in the first half, or Poo dancing around to "It's Raining Men" barely into the second. And, for me, it didn't.
On the bright side, the strength of this film, I think, was the casting, particuilarly SRK and Hrithik and the relationship they portrayed. I liked the generations/phases of actors involved, with the parents really being parental figures in a way, with elder and younger children coming up from behind. I liked that Hrithik is almost as tall as Amitabh and could literally stand up to him. I liked that Jaya didn't budge either. So help me, I liked Kajol's antics, as well as how much fun she and SRK seemed to be having (until they got to London, where everything sucks). I've never read what the actors honestly thought of this movie, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves in a way that bubbled over into their portrayals.
Aside to Karan Johar: I get it. I freakin' get it. I admit that I did not know you were also responsible for KKHH when I started this movie, but now I get it, and I will carry that fun fact to my grave because you bellowed it at me for three hours. KKHH was superb, but more than a passing, winking reference to it feels awkward and pleading. Character names. Actors. Dialogue. Music. That red scarf that Anjali had on the train. Maybe you learned your lesson. Kal Ho Naa Ho was also superb but it was that way all on its own - you just let it be great, breathing on its own, without reaching out and sticking a post-it on my forehead that says "Remember when SRK ran his hand down Kajol's neck in the gazebo? Wasn't that great? And remember how much you cried? And remember how important love is?" And guess which one of K3G and KKHH I love more and will watch again and again?