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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKaran Johar
Produced byYash Johar
Written byKaran Johar
Rani Mukerji
Shah Rukh Khan
Music byJatin-Lalit
CinematographySantosh Thundiyil
Edited bySanjay Sankla
Distributed byYash Raj Films
Release date
  • 16 October 1998 (1998-10-16)[1]
Running time
185 minutes[1]
Budget140 million[2]
Box officeest.1.07 billion[3]

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (transl. Something something happens) also known as KKHH, is a 1998 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama, written and directed by Karan Johar. It stars the popular on-screen pair of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in their fourth film together, along with Rani Mukerji. The film also marks the film debut of Sana Saeed. 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.

Filmed in India, Mauritius, and Scotland, this was Johar's directorial debut. One of his goals for the film was to set a new level for style in Hindi cinema. The music was composed by Jatin-Lalit, was the biggest seller of the year. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was released on 16 October 1998, in India and United Kingdom and received a positive reception, with particular praise directed to Kajol's performance. The film was successful in India and abroad, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of the year and the third highest-grossing Indian film at that time. Outside India, the film was the highest grossing Hindi film ever until its record was broken by Karan's next directorial, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001).

The film received numerous accolades, including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and Best Film at the Filmfare Awards, Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards and Bollywood Movie Awards. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai won 8 Filmfare Awards and was the only film to win all four acting awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress) until Gully Boy (2019).


Rahul Khanna loses his wife, Tina after she gives birth to their daughter, Anjali Khanna. He raises Anjali as a single father, with the help of his mother. Anjali grows up treasuring the letters her mother wrote before she died for her to receive on her first eight birthdays. On her 8th birthday, Anjali reads the last and most important letter that her mother left her; it tells the story of Rahul, Tina, and Anjali Sharma.

The film then flashes back to St. Xavier's College, where Rahul is best friends with tomboy Anjali Sharma. Tina, the rich and attractive daughter of college principal Mr. Malhotra, arrives at St. Xavier's and becomes friends with Rahul and Anjali. Rahul constantly flirts with Tina, trying to win her over. Later, they fall in love. After Rahul states that "love is friendship," Anjali slowly starts to realize that she is in love with Rahul. However, when she decides to confess her feelings, Rahul instead reveals that he is in love with Tina. Devastated, Anjali decides to leave college and shares a tearful goodbye with Rahul.

Back in the present, Tina explains in her letter that she realized she might've stopped Rahul and Anjali Sharma from falling in love. Now that Rahul is alone, Tina asks her daughter to reunite Rahul and Anjali and bring back Rahul's lost love and friend to him. Anjali enlists both her grandparents' help to try to fulfill this task.

Anjali Sharma, in the present, has become a beautiful woman and is now engaged to Aman Mehra, but the loss of Rahul remains with her. Determined to reunite her father and his best friend, Anjali Khanna and her grandmother head to a summer camp in Shimla, against Rahul's wishes, where Anjali Sharma is a student counsellor. Anjali Khanna meets Anjali Sharma, and the two become friends. Rahul is tricked by his daughter into coming to the camp, where he reunites with Anjali Sharma. Spending time together, Rahul and Anjali fall in love with each other. When Aman arrives at the camp, and Rahul learns he is Anjali's fiancé, Rahul is heartbroken, but congratulates Anjali. Anjali takes this as Rahul rejecting her again, so she leaves the summer camp and decides to marry Aman as soon as possible.

Rahul and his family go to Anjali's wedding, where Rahul silently confesses his love to Anjali and watches in tears as she is brought forth for the wedding. Knowing of Rahul's feelings, Anjali is hesitant to go through with the marriage, and sobs on her way to the stage. Aman realizes that she has always been in love with Rahul, and he releases Anjali from their engagement. Rahul and Anjali share an emotional reunion and get married. The film ends with Anjali Khanna seeing her mother Tina's soul praising her by giving her a thumbs up.


  • Kajol as Anjali Sharma – A fun-loving tomboy in college and the best friend of Rahul. Over time, she becomes friends with Tina but also falls in love with Rahul. Once she realizes that Rahul and Tina love each other, she is devastated and decides to leave the college. She meets Rahul again after 8 years with Anjali's Khanna's help.
  • Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul Khanna – A popular student at St. Xavier's College and Anjali Sharma's best friend. He falls in love with Tina Malhotra and marries her, after which they have a baby girl who is named Anjali. He does not realise his love for Anjali Sharma until he meets her again.
  • Rani Mukerji as Tina Khanna (née Malhotra) – The daughter of the principal of St. Xavier's, who is a transfer student from Oxford University. Elegant and sophisticated, she is described as the most beautiful girl in college. She falls in love with Rahul and marries him. The couple has a daughter, Anjali Khanna but Tina but has always felt guilty about coming between Anjali Sharma and Rahul. Due to complications, she passes away after giving birth, and her last wish is for Rahul to name their child Anjali.
  • Sana Saeed as Anjali Khanna – Rahul and Tina's little daughter who named after Anjali Sharma by Tina. She is independent and fun-loving, and her character mirrors that of Anjali Sharma during the latter's college days. She plays matchmaker between her father and his old college best friend, Anjali Sharma.
  • Farida Jalal as Mrs. Savitha Khanna – Rahul's widowed mother. She is very religious and patriotic and supports her granddaughter Anjali in her quest to reunite her father and his best friend. She also constantly irritates Col. Almeida at Camp Sunshine with her patriotism.
  • Anupam Kher as Principal Malhotra – Tina's father and the principal of St. Xavier's College. He is slightly infatuated with Ms. Braganza.
  • Archana Puran Singh as Ms. Braganza – An English teacher at St. Xavier's. She constantly flirts with Principal Malhotra.
  • Reema Lagoo as Mrs. Sharma – She is Anjali Sharma's mother and has doubts about her daughter's desires to marry Aman.
  • Himani Shivpuri as Rifat Bi – The St. Xavier's girls' hostel matron. She acts as a motherly figure toward Anjali Sharma.
  • Johnny Lever as Col. Almeida – The half-British manager of Camp Sunshine. He is a staunch Anglophile and is thus irritated by the patriotism of Mrs. Khanna.
  • Parzan Dastur as Silent Sardarji – A Sikh boy at Camp Sunshine who usually does not speak, but begs Anjali Sharma not to go when she decides to leave the summer camp. He likes Anjali Khanna in the summer camp.
  • Salman Khan as Aman Mehra – Anjali Sharma's fiancé. (special appearance) He is deeply in love with Anjali and is initially unaware that she was formerly in love with Rahul.
  • Neelam Kothari as Neelam (special appearance) – She is the host of The Neelam Show, the television programme which Anjali Khanna loves.
  • Nikhil Advani in cameo and extra appearance (in Neelam's talk show segment)
  • Manish Malhotra in cameo as college student (Sitting on the steps of college when Anjali wears feminine clothing)
  • Farah Khan in cameo and extra appearances (in Neelam's talk show and sitting on the steps of college when Anjali wears feminine clothing)
  • Hiroo Johar in a cameo as a college professor (walking down the steps of college when Anjali wears feminine clothing)



After the experience of assisting and acting in 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.[4] They were signed by producer and his father Yash Johar in early 1997.[5] 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.[6]

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 "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."[6] The story also includes a "personal desires vs. parental loyalties" theme, 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 that he wanted to cast Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role, having observed him 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 Urmila Matondkar, Tabu, Shilpa Shetty, Aishwarya Rai, Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor were offered the role but also turned it down.[9] Aditya Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan noticed Rani Mukerji's acting in Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat, and suggested her to Karan Johar. He thus signed her, giving a boost to her career.[10][11] Saif Ali Khan, Ajay Devgn, Mukul Dev, and Chandrachur Singh were initially offered the role of Aman, but they all turned it down, thus prompting Johar to rope in Salman Khan.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13] 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."[14] He hired Sharmishta Roy as art director, and told her 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 Betty. It was exactly that. And the principal looked like Weatherbee, and Ms. Grundy was Archana Puran Singh."[15] 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.[citation needed]


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."[12] The entire film was shot in nine and half months[6] with a substantial part of it shot in Mauritius.[16][17] The title song was filmed over a ten-day period.[18] in several picturesque locations in Scotland,[19] including Eilean Donan, Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and Tantallon Castle with the nearby Bass Rock as a backdrop in one scene.[20][21] The scenes from the summer camp in Shimla were filmed at Wenlock Downs in Ooty, Tamil Nadu.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]


The soundtrack for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was composed by Jatin-Lalit and the lyrics were penned by Sameer. This is the first collaboration of the duo with Karan Johar. It was released by the Sony Music label on 12 September 1998.[25] Mukul Deshpande of Planet Bollywood rated the soundtrack 8.5 out of 10 stars although he did not like all of the songs.[26] The album became the best selling Bollywood soundtrack of the year.[27] The title song remained on the Indian music charts for over a year,[28] and the album peaked at number #2 on the Malaysian albums chart (RIM) in 1999.[29] 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, the first place being taken by Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, an album which was also composed by Jatin-Lalit.[30]

While the film was still untitled, Javed Akhtar was signed to write the lyrics, and even wrote and recorded one song. However, when the movie was titled Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, he found the title mediocre, obscene, and vulgar and decided to quit the project. Akhtar later regretted leaving the film, as he found it decent and could see that the title has become quite a buzz-word, realizing that he was the only one who disliked the title.[31]

1."Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik,4:56
2."Koi Mil Gaya"Kavita Krishnamurthy, Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik7:16
3."Saajanji Ghar Aaye"Kavita Krishnamurthy, Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik,7:14
4."Yeh Ladka Hai Deewana"Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik6:36
5."Raghupati Raghav"Alka Yagnik, Shankar Mahadevan2:05
6."Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aayee"Alka Yagnik, Manpreet Akhtar, Udit Narayan7:05
7."Ladki Badi Anjaani Hai"Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik6:23
8."Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Sad)"Alka Yagnik1:26
Total length:42:59

Release and reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

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's 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."[32] 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."[33] In contrast to these views, the reaction of Sujata C J, writing for, 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.[34] 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".[17]

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 Shah Rukh 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.[33]

The film grossed 80.12 crore (US$11 million) in India and $6.3 million (26.61 crore) in other countries, for a worldwide total of 1.06 billion (US$15 million), against its 10 crore (US$1.4 million) budget, and became the third film to gross over 1 billion (US$14 million) worldwide after Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.[35] It had a worldwide opening weekend of 8.06 crore (US$1.1 million), and grossed 15.13 crore (US$2.1 million) in its first week.[3] It is the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1998 worldwide. It also became the third highest grossing Indian film then, behind Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.[36][37]


It opened on Friday, 16 October 1998, across 240 screens, along with Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and earned 87 lakh (US$120,000) nett on its opening day. It grossed 2.74 crore (US$380,000) nett in its opening weekend, and went on to record the second highest first week of the year with collections around 5.64 crore (US$790,000) nett after Bade Miyan Chote Miyan which grossed 6.33 crore (US$890,000) nett.[38] The film earned a total of 46.86 crore (US$6.6 million) nett, plus a distributor share of 29.88 crore (US$4.2 million), and was declared an "All Time Blockbuster" by Box Office India.[3] It is the highest-grossing film of 1998 in India.[39]


It had an opening weekend of $800,000 (3.38 crore) and went on to gross $1.3 million (5.49 crore) in its first week. It became the first film to cross $5 million mark outside India, and became the highest grosser at that time. The film earned a total of $6.3 million (26.61 crore) at the end of its theatrical run.[3] It became the second Bollywood film to break into the UK cinema top 10 after Dil Se.. which released the same year.[40] It was a bigger box office success than Titanic when it was screened in Indonesia.[41] Overseas, It is the highest-grossing film of 1998.[42]


Kuch Kuch Hota Hai received a leading 18 nominations at the 44th Filmfare Awards and won 8 awards, including sweeping all the major categories.[43] 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 Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) (also starring Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol), Devdas (2002), Black (2005) and Gully Boy (2019).[44]

Award Category Recipient(s) Results
46th National Film Awards Best Film For Providing Wholesome Entertainment Yash Johar, Karan Johar[45] Won
Best Female Playback Singer Alka Yagnik - "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"[46]
44th Filmfare Awards Best Film Yash Johar
Best Director Karan Johar
Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan
Best Actress Kajol
Best Supporting Actor Salman Khan
Best Supporting Actress Rani Mukerji
Best Screenplay Karan Johar
Best Art Direction Sharmishta Roy
Star Screen Awards Best Film Yash Johar
Best Director Karan Johar
Best Music Jatin-Lalit
Best Comedian Archana Puran Singh
Zee Cine Awards Best Film Yash Johar
Best Director Karan Johar
Best Actor – Male Shah Rukh Khan
Best Actor – Female Kajol
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female Rani Mukerji
Best Music Jatin-Lalit
Best Lyrics Sameer - "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Best Playback Singer – Female Alka Yagnik - "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Lux Face of the Year Rani Mukerji (for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai & Ghulam)
Best Story Karan Johar[47][48]
Bollywood Movie Awards Best Film Yash Johar
Best Director Karan Johar
Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan
Best Actress Kajol
Best Music Jatin-Lalit
Best Playback Singer - Male Udit Narayan – "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Best Playback Singer - Female Alka Yagnik – "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Best Screenplay Karan Johar
Best Choreography Farah Khan
Best Costume Design Manish Malhotra[49]

Other media[edit]

A few years after its release, Sony purchased satellite rights for the film for ₹4 crore.[50][51] The film was also released on VHS, DVD, and eventually Blu-ray.[52] 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."[53]


Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was the subject of reviews and critical analysis following its initial release. 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.[54] 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."[55] 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.[56] The film has also been criticized for creating unreal worlds and characters,[13] to which Johar has said that this was part of his vision of escapism.[57]


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,[58] and also paid homage in one of the songs, "Ramba Mein Samba".[59] In 2010, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was selected by Time as one of their "Five Essential Bollywood movies to Netflix".[60]

In 2018, Karan Johar celebrated the 20-year anniversary of this iconic film by hosting memorable events with Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerji.[61]


Koochie Koochie Hota Hai is an animated remake of the original, directed by Tarun Mansukhani. Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, 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.[62] 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."[63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) – British Board of Film Classification". Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  2. ^ Johar, Karan; Saxena, Poonam (2017). An Unsuitable Boy. Penguin Books. p. 70. ISBN 9789385990939.
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  12. ^ a b 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. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
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  23. ^ Making of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – Event occurs from 15:55 to 16:25
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