Hello all! So a few weeks ago I rewatched ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and was very disturbed by how glorified the film is, pointing out a lot of WTF moments from it. I rewatched my next Bollywood flick over the weekend in my ongoing quest to question the fraternity’s most famous films, and the latest victim happens to be another Karan Johar film (sorry KJo, love you), ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho.’
I hadn’t seen ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ for almost a decade, so my thoughts on the film were fairly unbiased going into it; I barely remembered anything about it apart from the crux of the story. I really had high hopes of diving into this classic, but honestly, as the credits rolled in I felt like bashing my face into a concrete wall. Let’s get right into it, shall we?
Aman (Shah Rukh Khan) was a mansplaining, misogynistic asshole
He continually shamed Naina for wearing glasses (like WTF dude), constantly mocking her and labeling her as chashmish. In one awfully uncomfortable, mind-numbing scene he’s overly touchy with Naina – someone he HARDLY knows by the way – trying to coerce her into smiling. His response when she tries to politely tell him to buggar off? “I know, I’m sexy *roar*”
…Touch her glasses one more time and I’ll break your face Aman
…And let’s not forget how intrusive Aman was, forcing Naina and Rohit (Saif Ali Khan) to be in a relationship because, well he just wanted to
Aman saw Naina as a project, and kind of gnawed his way into her life and deciding to ‘fix’ her – it almost felt like everything was a game to him, and him ending up terminally ill was an empathy card to justify his bullshit throughout. He persuades Naina to marry Rohit even though she doesn’t truly love him because that’s really healthy, isn’t it?
And then when things get a bit messy between Naina and Rohit, Aman thinks it’s alright to speak FOR Rohit by reading out of Rohit’s diary
…All the while confessing his own feelings for her…toxic much? Is Rohit not able to speak for himself? Well, Aman doesn’t think so.
Also, did Naina not realize that Aman stopped looking at the diary when he was giving his speech? Naina girl, you stupid AF
Another issue I had was a particular, very blatant projection of lightly materialism is glorified, in this scene where Rohit’s family literally sing about how well wealthy they are
It’s not funny tbh, I found it incredibly cringy and very distressing considering the fact that the concept of dowry in both Indian and Pakistan is so misconstrued and so blown out of proportion (so many lives are lost over dowry disputes each year). By comically singing about how rich you are, you’re just catalyzing that mindset, transcending both class and generation.
Rohit was the epitome of grotesque, trying to win Naina’s heart over in six days because love is a game, isn’t it?
Rohit, with the help of sleazy Aman, won over Naina within six days. It was all part of their plan, and all the while they didn’t really think of the repercussions if Naina were to ever find out. Both boys were in it for the thrill of winning a woman over with one-time extraordinary measures. Ugh, such twats.
This bit where Rohit suddenly forgets about Naina because he remembers “Camilla’s legs” falled flat in it’s attempt to be funny
Okay, let’s talk about Aman’s illness a little more, and how irrelevant and inappropriate he was tearing his drip out of his hand after suffering a near-fatal heart attack
Oh, and to add to the realism throughout, Aman ran a mile afterward. Sorry, Aman, we aren’t buying the ill card you’re using to gain empathy votes.
If you think about it, Rohit and Aman had no clue what consent meant and spent the entire narrative playing around with Naina’s feelings
Also, let’s take a moment to discuss the song ‘Pretty Woman,’ that was basically an incredibly delusional and warped ode to America
Aman singing in front of the American flag was honestly the most extra thing about the entire film, fight me if you think I’m wrong.
Aman creepily lived vicariously through Rohit’s life, at one point playing out a scene by telling Rohit what to do with Naina, but also emulating it himself
This was one of many unnerving moments throughout ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho,’ and all the physical, one-sided intimacy made me feel sick.
What did you think of ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho?’
Cover image via: Dharma Productions