Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Karan Johar
Produced by Yash Johar
Hiroo Johar
Written by Karan Johar
Starring Shah Rukh Khan
Rani Mukerji
Music by Jatin-Lalit
Cinematography Santosh Thundiyil
Santosh Sivan(Additional Shots)
Edited by Sanjay Sankla
Distributed by Dharma Productions
Yash Raj Films
Release dates
  • 16 October 1998 (1998-10-16)[1]
Running time
185 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Hindi
Box office INR1.03 billion (US$16 million)[2]

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (translation: Some Things Happen), also known as KKHH, is an Indian Hindi coming-of-age romantic comedy drama film, released in India and the United Kingdom on 16 October 1998. It was written and directed by Karan Johar, and starred the popular on-screen pair of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in their fourth film together. Rani Mukerji featured in a supporting role, while Salman Khan had an extended guest appearance.

Filmed in India, Mauritius, and Scotland, this was Karan Johar's directorial debut. One of his goals for the film was to set a new level for style in Hindi cinema. The plot combines two love triangles set years apart. The first half covers friends on a college campus, while the second tells the story of a widower's young daughter who tries to reunite her dad with his old friend.

The film was extremely successful in India and abroad, becoming the highest grossing Indian film of the year, and the first Bollywood film to enter the UK cinema top ten. The soundtrack also became the biggest seller of the year. The film won many major awards including the "Best Film" honours at the Filmfare Awards, the National Film Awards, Zee Cine Awards, Screen Awards, and Bollywood Movie Awards. Years after its release, it still makes appearances on Indian television and has achieved an iconic status.


Rahul Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan) and tomboy Anjali Sharma (Kajol) are best friends in St. Xavier's College. The college principal Mr. Malhotra (Anupam Kher) has a beautiful daughter Tina (Rani Mukerji), who comes to St. Xavier's from London to finish her degree. She becomes friends with both Rahul and Anjali. When Anjali realizes that she is in love with Rahul, she is encouraged by her motherly guardian Rifat Bi (Himani Shivpuri) to tell him so. Instead, Anjali is left heartbroken when Rahul tells her that he loves Tina. Anjali decides to leave college and shares a tearful goodbye with Rahul, going away from Rahul and Tina's lives forever. Tina then realizes that she came between two best friends who actually loved each other. After college, Rahul marries Tina and, in a year of marriage, Tina gives birth to a baby girl. Tina has complications in her pregnancy and has little time left, so she writes eight letters to her daughter (one for each of her first eight birthdays), so that she will know her mother. Before dying, Tina asks Rahul to promise her to name their daughter Anjali.

Eight years pass, and Rahul is a single parent living with his daughter and loving mother (Farida Jalal). On her eighth birthday, little Anjali Khanna (Sana Saeed) reads the last and most important letter that her mother left her; it tells the story of Anjali Sharma and how she was always Rahul's true love. Tina explains in her letter that Rahul always said that love is friendship, and without friendship there can be no love. Rahul is a single parent and lacks a friend in his life, so Tina gives her daughter the mission of reuniting Rahul with Anjali Sharma and bringing back Rahul's lost love. Anjali Sharma is no longer the tomboy she was in college; she is now more feminine, and is engaged to Aman Mehra (Salman Khan). However, she explains to her mother (Reema Lagoo) that she does not really love him and is marrying him as a compromise as she feels she can never love again after losing Rahul. Aman also suspects that she does not really love him. Anjali Khanna and her grandmother search for Anjali Sharma and soon learn that she is going to be working at a summer camp. They travel there, with a plan to later lure Rahul to come as well, and the two Anjalis meet each other. One night while watching television, Anjali Sharma realizes she has met her best friend's daughter, and that Tina is dead. Rahul soon arrives at Camp Sunshine, where he and Anjali Sharma are surprised and delighted to see each other again, sharing a sweet reunion. Throughout the days spent at the camp, Rahul and Anjali feel themselves falling in love. However, Anjali remembers that she is engaged and feels guilty. Aman arrives and tells Rahul that he is Anjali's fiancee. Rahul is heartbroken but congratulates Anjali. She takes this as him rejecting her again, so she leaves summer camp and decides to get married to Aman as soon as possible.

After seeing Tina in a dream, Rahul and his family go to Anjali's wedding, where Rahul silently confesses to Anjali that he loves her, and watches in tears as she is brought forth for the wedding. Realizing this, Anjali is hesitant to go on with the marriage, and stands weeping. Aman notices the tears in her eyes and realizes that she has always been in love with Rahul. He releases Anjali from the engagement and tells her to marry Rahul. Rahul and Anjali have an emotional hug and as the two marry, little Anjali has a vision of Tina smiling and giving her the thumbs up.


  • Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul Khanna: A student at St. Xavier's college, and Anjali Sharma's best friend. He marries Tina and they name their daughter 'Anjali.'
  • Kajol as Anjali Sharma: The college's tomboy and Rahul's best friend, who is secretly in love with him.
  • Rani Mukerji as Tina Malhotra: The principal's daughter, feminine, sophisticated, an alumna from Oxford University. She is the woman with whom Rahul eventually has a daughter, but has always felt guilty for coming between Anjali and Rahul. She passes away after giving birth to her child.
  • Sana Saeed as Anjali Khanna: Named after Anjali Sharma, she is Rahul's and Tina's daughter.
  • Salman Khan as Aman Mehra: Anjali Sharma's loving fiancé.
  • Farida Jalal as Mrs. Khanna: Rahul's mother.
  • Anupam Kher as Principal Malhotra: Tina's father. He is slightly infatuated with Ms. Briganza.
  • Archana Puran Singh as Ms. Briganza: A showy English teacher. She flirts with Principal Malhotra.
  • Reema Lagoo as Mrs. Sharma: She is Anjali Sharma's mother and has doubts about her daughter's motives for marrying Aman.
  • Himani Shivpuri as Rifat Bi: St. Xavier's girl's hostel housekeeper.
  • Johnny Lever as Col. Almeida: The manager of Camp Sunshine.
  • Parzan Dastur as Silent Sardarji: A Sikh boy at Camp Sunshine that never talks.
  • Neelam as herself in a special appearance: She is the host of The Neelam Show.



After the experience of assisting and acting in his friend Aditya Chopra's directorial debut, the romance film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Karan Johar was encouraged to try his own hand at directing. With Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, he chose to pair up the same lead actors, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, for his own romance film.[3] During the filming of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Khan had also encouraged Johar to make his own film, and said that he would be willing to star in it.[4]

Johar first wrote a story, which was a love triangle between a tomboy, a very pretty girl and a slightly insensitive boy, but he shelved the idea because he was not very satisfied with it. Then he wrote another plot about a widower and his child, which he shelved as well. Eventually he decided to merge the two stories into one. He explained in an interview with Rediff.com: "It was about the trauma of a widower and his little child. How the child really wants a mother and how she brings her mother into her father's life. Then I thought: Why not bring a youth aspect to the story? Why not a flashback? That's how the story got made."[5] The story also includes a "personal desires vs. parental loyalties" theme,[6] and has some "East meets West" themes, but instead of the characters going abroad, it creates a virtual West inside India.[7]


Karan Johar was certain from the beginning who he wanted to cast in the lead roles, having observed Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol during the making of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.[8] It took longer to fill the role of Tina. The role was written with Twinkle Khanna in mind, but she turned it down.[9] Other actresses such as Tabu, Shilpa Shetty, Urmila Matondkar, Aishwarya Rai, Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor were offered the role but also turned it down.[10] Rani Mukerji, without being asked, read the script and volunteered for the part, which gave a boost to her career.[9]

Johar, who is also a costume designer, wanted to set a new level for style in Hindi cinema with this film. He and his friend Manish Malhotra, the film's costume designer, made trips to London for costumes, much to the chagrin of his father and producer Yash Johar, who was concerned about the budget. Many of the costumes in the film prominently displayed logos from designers such as DKNY and Polo.[4] In addition to the designer fashions, Johar also created a somewhat fantastical world where the students speak Hinglish and enjoy a pristine college campus, where there is no crime or hate, and traditional Hindu values are pervasive.[11] Johar admitted that the look and feel of the college scenes in the film were patterned after Beverly Hills 90210, saying, "The art, the costumes, tilt toward the West, but the soul of the film is Indian."[12] He hired Sharmishta Roy as art director, and told him to produce something similar to Riverdale High School of the Archie Comics, with some 90210 influence as well. Johar said of the outcome, "If you see KKHH, Shahrukh plays Archie, Rani Mukherji plays Veronica, and Kajol played Bettie. It was exactly that. And the principal looked like Weatherbee, and Mrs. Grundee was Archana Puran Singh."[13] Johar also hired Farah Khan to do the choreography, Jatin-Lalit to provide the music, Santosh Thundiyil as cinematographer, and Nikhil Advani as his associate director. Shabina Khan assisted Manish Malhotra with costume design.


Filming began on 21 October 1997. The crew was young and inexperienced to the point where Shah Rukh Khan had to explain basic technicalities of filming. Khan later said, "Karan makes no bones of the fact that his technical knowledge of filmmaking was not at its peak when he made the biggest hit of the decade."[4] The entire film was shot in nine and half months[5] with a substantial part of it shot in Mauritius.[14][15] The title song was filmed in several picturesque locations in Scotland[16] over a ten-day period.[17]

During the bicycle sequence in the "Yeh Ladka Hai Deewana" song, Kajol lost control of her bike, fell flat on her face and was knocked unconscious while also injuring her knee. During the promotional Making of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai TV special, Kajol stated that the accident was her most memorable part of shooting the film because she doesn't remember it.[18] During preparation for the reunion scene where the two leads met after more than 8 years apart, the director told them to improvise and rehearse the reactions that they might use, but he secretly taped them, and was so pleased with the result that it was put into the film.[19]


The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai soundtrack was composed by Jatin-Lalit and the lyrics were penned by Sameer. It was released by the Sony Music label on 13 August 1998.[20] The album features playback singers Kavita Krishnamurthy (as Tina Malhotra and Mrs. Sharma), Udit Narayan (as Rahul Khanna), Alka Yagnik (as Anjali Sharma), and Kumar Sanu (as Aman Mehra). Mukul Deshpande of Planet Bollywood rated the soundtrack 8.5 out of 10 stars although he did not like all of the songs.[21] The album became the best selling Bollywood soundtrack of the year.[22] The title song remained on the Indian music charts for over a year,[23] and in 2012 it was voted as the most popular film song of the previous decade by NDTV. The full soundtrack came in second place in a similar poll conducted by the BBC.[24]

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Track listing
No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"   Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik 4:56
2. "Koi Mil Gaya"   Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy 7:16
3. "Saajanji Ghar Aaye"   Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy 7:14
4. "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Sad)"   Alka Yagnik 1:26
5. "Yeh Ladka Hai Deewana"   Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik 6:36
6. "Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aayee"   Alka Yagnik, Manpreet Akhtar, Udit Narayan 7:03
7. "Raghupati Raghav"   Alka Yagnik, Shankar Mahadevan 2:05
8. "Ladki Badi Anjaani Hai"   Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik 6:23
Total length:



While comparing the film to Dil To Pagal Hai of 1997, Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India gave Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 3.5 out of 5 stars. She especially liked the performance of Kajol, and thought that the film would appeal to young and romantic viewers primarily for its "MTV ambiance" and "Valentine Day flavours". On the negative side, she said "The second half however gets drowned in a sea of emotions. Too many people begin to cry a bit too much."[25] Anish Khanna of Planet Bollywood rated the film 9.5 out of 10 stars, calling it "pure escapist cinema at its best." He praised the cinematography, choreography, set decoration, and also raved over Kajol's performance, along with her onscreen chemistry with Shah Rukh Khan. Overall, he said "Karan Johar makes an impressive directorial debut, has a good script sense, and knows how to make a film with S-T-Y-L-E."[26] In contrast to these views, the reaction of Sujata C J, writing for Rediff.com, was that the film was very disappointing, with many cliches and a bad story line, though Santosh Thundiyil and Sharmishta Roy were praised for their camerawork and art direction, respectively.[27] Nandita Chowdhury in a review for India Today, said that Karan Johar was almost able to rekindle the Khan-Kajol magic of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, and that overall the film was "a good distraction".[15]

Box office[edit]

There were great expectations for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai leading up to its premiere, because it re-united the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge team of Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, and specifically concerning the debut of Karan Johar; whether he would be in the same league as Aditya Chopra as a first-time writer/director.[26] After an "Excellent" opening, it earned INR450 million (US$7.1 million) net and INR770 million (US$12 million) gross in India, became the highest grossing Indian film of 1998, and was declared by Box Office India to be an "All Time Blockbuster".[28] It was one of the biggest foreign films ever at the UK box office at the time,[29] earning almost £1.5 million,[30] and becoming the first Bollywood film to break into the UK cinema top 10.[31] In South Africa and Indonesia, the film made more money than Titanic.[4][32] It was also very popular in the Netherlands, where it toured three times to sold out theatres.[6] The films's total collection in overseas markets was US$6.25 million.[33] The film went on to make a lifetime worldwide gross of INR1.03 billion (US$16 million),[2] becoming the third Bollywood film to gross over INR1 billion (US$16 million) worldwide.[34] Adjusted for inflation, it has grossed INR1.83 billion (US$29 million).[35]


Kuch Kuch Hota Hai won many awards, including sweeping all the major categories at the year's Filmfare Awards, held on 21 February 1999.[36] It was the third film to win the four major awards (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress) at Filmfare. Others include Guide (1966), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) (also starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol), Devdas (2002) and Black (2005).[37]

National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards
Star Screen Awards
Zee Cine Awards
Bollywood Movie Awards


Kuch Kuch Hota Hai has been the subject of reviews and critical analysis following its initial release. Fuad Omar called it a phenomenal debut for director Karan Johar; he said that the film has a memorable "feelgood factor".[29] Subhash K Jha called the film "a simple stylish, sensuous and ambrosial love story," further adding that the chemistry between the lead pair was unbeatable.[47] A reviewer for Timeout Film Guide, while commenting that the second love triangle went on too long, liked most of the film, saying that "its performances, camerawork, storytelling and extensive musical numbers [are] all energetically colourful."[48] In 2004, Meor Shariman of The Malay Mail called the film a "must watch" for Bollywood fans, and also for those seeking an introduction to Bollywood.[49] The film has also been criticized for creating unreal worlds and characters,[11] to which Johar has said that this was part of his vision of escapism.[50]

A few years after its release, Sony purchased satellite rights for the film for INR 4 crore.[51][52] The film was also released on VHS, DVD, and eventually Blu-ray.[53] Now Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, along with Johar's second film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., often play on television to consistently high ratings. Johar said, "It’s gratifying to know that they've aged well and passed the test of time."[54] One of the best examples of the iconic status of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was the 2012 film Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. Farah Khan and Boman Irani re-created scenes and characters from KKHH for posters to promote their film,[55] and also paid homage in one of the songs, "Ramba Mein Samba".[56] In 2010, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was selected by Time as one of their "Five Essential Bollywood movies to Netflix".[57]

Koochie Koochie Hota Hai is an animated remake of the original, directed by Tarun Mansukhani. Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee, Anupam Kher are reprising their roles as Rahul aka Rocky, Anjali aka Angie, Tina, and the Principal. New cast members include Uday Chopra, Ritesh Deshmukh, Sanjay Dutt and Simi Garewal. The story will have an anthropomorphic animal cast.[58] As of October 2012, Karan Johar has placed the project on permanent hold. He said, "Animation films are not working nowadays, so as of now I have kept it on stand-by."[59]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ a b "Top Lifetime Grossers Worldwide". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Birthday Special: The Best Karan Johar Film? VOTE!". Rediff.com. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Anupama Chopra (2 August 2007). King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema. Hachette Digital, Inc. pp. 146–152. ISBN 978-0-446-57858-5. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Rediff On The NeT, Movies: An exclusive interview with director Karan Johar". Rediff.com. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b G. Oonk (2007). Global Indian Diasporas: exploring trajectories of migration and theory. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 218, 229. ISBN 978-90-5356-035-8. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Stuart Cunningham; John Sinclair (2000). Floating Lives: The Media and Asian Diasporas. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7425-1136-1. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
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  10. ^ "Rani, the 'replacing' queen!". The Times of India. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Indian cinema : Shading out reality.". The Economist. 27 February 1999. Retrieved 14 October 2012.  – via Highbeam (subscription required)
  12. ^ "Hooray for Bollywood's tales of love.(World)(Romance 24/7)". The Christian Science Monitor. 20 October 1999. Retrieved 14 October 2012.  – via Highbeam (subscription required)
  13. ^ Gyan Prakash; Kevin Michael Kruse (2008). The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life. Princeton University Press. pp. 409–414. ISBN 978-0-691-13343-0. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "F.A.L.T.U. has a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai connection". The Indian Express. 7 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
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  16. ^ Qureshi, Irna (26 July 2012). "Bollywood's go with the Olympic torch could light up UK tourism". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Emma Cowing (20 July 2000). "Indian summer". The Scotsman. Retrieved 7 November 2012.  – via Highbeam (subscription required)
  18. ^ Making of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – Event occurs from 15:55 to 16:25
  19. ^ Roshmila Bhattacharya (26 January 2001). "‘Student Of The Year is not Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Various Artists". Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
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  23. ^ Anna Morcom (2007). Hindi film songs and the cinema. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-7546-5198-7. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Reagan Gavin Rasquinha (7 September 2012). "Lalit Pandit’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai track voted most popular". The Indian Express. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  25. ^ Kazmi, Nikhat (1998). "Friendship or Love". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2 May 1999. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
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  27. ^ "Rediff On The Net, Movies: The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai review". Rediff.com. 16 October 1998. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
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  29. ^ a b Fuad Omar (30 June 2006). Bollywood: An Insider's Guide. Lulu.com. pp. 69–71. ISBN 978-1-84728-009-1. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  30. ^ Jigna Desai (16 December 2003). Beyond Bollywood: The Cultural Politics of South Asian Diasporic Film. Psychology Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-415-96685-6. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
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  50. ^ Shandilya, Vikrant (26 September 2012). "My office is my marriage : Karan Johar". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
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  58. ^ "Koochie Koochie Hota Hai Preview". Moviewood.net. 15 August 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  59. ^ IANS (8 October 2012). "'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' animated version on hold". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 

External links[edit]