Everything is fair in love and war. A motto Sunil (Shah Rukh Khan) completely relies on when it comes to winning his love. Sunil does not hesitate to speak ill of Anna (Suchitra Krishnamoorthy) to win her. Nor does he shy away from procuring a fake report card to cover his failure in the exam. In short, Sunil is a little cockamamie devil. But still, we love him.
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa is the story of this happy-go-lucky guy. He is always on the look to get Anna to like him back. But Sunil has got a contender in Chris (Deepak Tijori), who too loves Anna. To Sunil’s dismay, Anna likes Chris back. So Sunil goes on to use every trick in the book to keep the two apart. He creates a nasty web of lies involving Anna, in which he himself gets caught in. Anna does not want to see him anymore and his fellow band members kick him out. To add to his worries he fails his college for the fourth time in a row and lies about it to his dad. But Sunil, the charmer he is, wins his way back into everyone’s heart by his utmost sincerity. He means it when he is apologetic about all the wrongs he has done to his father and Anna. And of course, they accept him back. With his true love for Anna, he is able to convince her father to give his daughter’s hand to him. He promises that no matter what he will always take care of her and provide her all the happiness she deserves. Anna accepts Sunil’s proposal. Sunil is finally going to get what he has always dreamt of. But what about when he realizes that Anna is still in love with Chris? What does Sunil do when he finds that she has chosen him but inside her heart resides Chris? It is his decision that makes imperfect Sunil’s perfect love story.
In Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, we see a Shah Rukh who is much different from the superstar we see him as today. The reason the movie sets itself apart from other 90’s movies is Shah Rukh Khan’s portrayal of Sunil.
The movie came out at a time when all other heroes in 90’s were over-achievers on the silver screen. For instance, in 1993 came out Bewafa Sanam (not to confuse with Sanam Bewafa). Its protagonist was a talented singer, a brilliant student, cricketer and also a poet. But Sunil was an underdog. He failed again and again in his diabolic endeavors. He for once, before Shah Rukh Khan became the King of Romance, was the King of Failure in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.
He presented a character who was vivacious, zealous and not at all trying to be holy and moral. There is a child-like mischief coupled with the quivering of his voice. This physical restlessness brings out the vulnerability of his character. It was a role only Shah Rukh of 90’s could have played.
KHKN has always been special to Shah Rukh Khan. As it not only fetched him the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor but also happens to be his all-time favorite movie. He later went on to buy the movie’s rights under his banner Red Chillies Entertainments. In 2015 the director of the movie Kundan Shah recalled how much they loved to see Shah Rukh perform in the scene. He recounted when Deepak Tijori once got upset. He and Shah Rukh were doing a scene together and Tijori asked Kundan Shah how his performance was. But all the director could notice was Shah Rukh Khan.
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa has been one of the finest examples of how small movies with a low budget can leave a mark in your heart. It did not have big stars nor it had grand locations. Shah Rukh received only ₹ 25,000 for the film. But the reason the movie works is that it has a sweet story and an atypical hero, whom we can identify with. The movie will always remind us of the fact that script above anything else is the soul of a movie.
- Rim Pacific