There isn’t any dearth of romantic love stories in Bollywood, but there are few that still resonate in the hearts of millions decades later. It has been two decades since Karan Johar introduced his passionate love sagas to the world, starting with ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (1998). The film which introduced three characters intertwined through friendship, love, passion, and grief, is still remembered for its path-breaking love story, where love and friendship did coincide and tell us that love can indeed come knocking twice. As ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ turns 20 years old today, BizAsiaLive.com looks back at the film’s memorable characters that still make the film one of Johar’s best.
Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul Khanna– Rahul is the flirt; he is the ever-favorite, the sneaky romantic and the loyal best friend. There were so many facets to Rahul that only Khan could pull off. He was charming, slightly witty, and very humorous. Rahul was introduced as the college heartthrob who hands out friendship bracelets to all the pretty girls and plays challenging basketball with his best friend Anjali. He knows what love actually is, because ‘kuch kuch hota hai’ (something, something happens). That something happens just when he meets Tina, the new girl in school that college flirt Rahul is now hopelessly in love with. This follows with Rahul and Tina marrying, but him becoming widowed and a father to a daughter, also named Anjali, and also finding love again in best friend Anjali. You can’t help but fall in love with Khan as he goes from an immature hopeless romantic to a doting father, and then an understanding life partner. Twenty years later, Khan’s portrayal of Rahul still screams ‘prince charming’.
Kajol as Anjali Sharma– Kajol played the athletic tomboy Anjali, who only played basketball and was not deemed a ‘girl’ because all she did was play sports with the guys. She constantly fought with Rahul and didn’t even know that love even existed. Kajol effortlessly stepped into Anjali’s shoes, making us laugh at her silly arguments, saying aw when she wanted to match up to popular girl Tina and be the girl that Rahul could see in a new light, but also make us weep as her heart shattered thereafter. She was the epitome of friendship and fell in love with the one man she knew how to love, but that man was not hers to keep. She went back to her hometown and was re-introduced as the woman no one saw in college. Anjali was crazy, young, funny, and in love, and no one could of enacted her better than Kajol.
Rani Mukerji as Tina Malhotra– Tina was confident, smart, beautiful, and the girl that other girls despised for exactly this. She was also new to love, new to friendship, and new to life with Rahul. Mukerji’s natural progression from a simple college girl to a woman in love, and then to a mother was nothing but graceful. You want Tina to have the forever that girls always dream of, but alas, that dream is soon interrupted as Tina doesn’t survive after giving birth to her and Rahul’s daughter. Mukerji has given us many fantastic performances, but her innocent portrayal of Tina will always remain an audience favorite.
Salman Khan as Aman Mehra– The knight in shining armor could best describe Khan’s character Aman. He was brought in to provide a twist to Rahul and Anjali’s rekindling, and was nothing short of a perfect man. Introduced with a band, baaja and baaraat as Anjali’s fiancé, Aman was soft spoken, passionate, and possessive. Although Khan’s appearance was brief, his performance was note-worthy. While you knew that Rahul and Anjali had to be together, Khan’s sincere performance as Aman could make you think twice, right up to the climax.
Sana Saeed as Anjali Khanna- Who can ever forget young Anjali Khanna, Rahul and Tina’s eight-year-old daughter. The daughter who set out to fulfill her mother’s last wish, to bring back her father’s lost friendship and complete Anjali Sharma’s love story. Sana was incredible as Anjali. It’s very hard for a child actor to enact natural emotion when they are too young to understand the difference, but Saeed was nothing but natural. From the moment she was introduced to the ending credits, she captured and conquered the film, making one think that there should be a young Anjali in every Karan Johar film.
Anupam Kher as Principal Malhotra- Kher played Tina’s father, the eccentric principal Malhotra, who was the principal of Anjali and Rahul’s university. There are many actors who play characters, but Kher became the character. He fit perfectly into the role of a single father, who wanted nothing but the best for his daughter, but also tickled our funny bones in the process with his jumpy antics. Whether it was unknowingly climbing up a ladder Rahul used to climb to Tina’s room, or reading his daughter’s love-filled mind, he made us simply happy with his presence.
Reema Lagoo as Mrs Sharma- The late Reema Lagoo played Anjali Sharma’s mother. Like they say, mothers know everything, and so did Mrs. Sharma. Anjali could smile and laugh all she wanted but she knew that heartbreak sat beneath her daughter’s laughter. You couldn’t help but sympathize and smile with a mother who only wanted her daughter to be happy and fulfill her love story.
Farida Jalal as Rahul’s mother Savita Khanna- Farida Jalal played the hilarious ‘kitty-party’ mother and grandmother. If there was a person who wanted Rahul to move on in life and have someone to share his heart with, it was his mother. She supported her granddaughter Anjali to the fullest, even going behind her son’s back to bring her to a summer camp that would reunite him with Anjali Sharma. Jalal played the cool grandmother to the T, putting her on every child’s wish-list.
Himani Shivpuri as Rifat Bi- The most important character even though her screen time was limited, but the most impactful, was Himani Shivpuri’s. Rifat Bi was the only person that Anjali Sharma could go to in college when she was so far away from home. The first to see Anjali’s love for Rahul, she was as heartbroken when Anjali couldn’t fulfill her first love story. Like a second mother to Anjali, she was the sole reason Rahul could even find his best friend who had gone so far away from him. Shivpuri was the map to the hidden treasure, one that was a pleasure to find.
Archana Puran Singh as Ms Braganza- Singh played Ms Braganza, Rahul, Anjali, and Tina’s university professor. She flirted with principal Malhotra and did what she does best, made us laugh at her constant poking at him and her students. She asked her students the most prevalent question of the film, what is love? The question that started the love story that changed Rahul, Anjali, and Tina’s lives forever.
‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ taught the audience that true love is friendship. At a time when love stories were all about just falling in love, the film showed us that there is more to love than meets the eye. Johar taught us that it is possible to fall in love more than once, just like it is possible to stay in love with the first person who ruled your heart.
BizAsiaLive.com congratulates the whole team of ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ for completing 20 years of ruling our hearts!