How Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ruined my life
Nairita Mukherjee/Daily O , India
Colleges in India are nothing like what Kuch Kuch Hota Hai told you. I looked, failed, and saw the bubble I was living in burst into a million pieces
Bollywood has messed us up in ways we’re yet to discover. And the mother India or the mard ko dard nahin trope is but the tip of the iceberg. But there are certain films that need a special mention, simply by virtue of its ridiculousness. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is one such.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, the phenomenon, came into my life twenty years ago and I have never been the same since then. When Shah Rukh Khan appeared in his a-little-too-tight Gas T-shirt with that ‘cool’ piece of jewellery dangling at his neck, there was a ding in my brain. It took me over a decade to realise that it was the sound of a collective shriek my grey cells let out, right before they committed suicide.
But at that age — that stupid, stupid impressionable age — et al looked so magical. How many rounds of the Archie’s gallery it took me to finally grab that pendant that kept going out of stock.
Kajol herded me into wearing dungarees. They were damn uncomfortable, but fashion always comes at a price, in more ways than one.
It was a matter of life and death to have Rani Mukerji’s poker-straight hair. Life and death. Except my hair was as defiant as I was back in 1998. Still is. Still am.
One had to have a skateboard and be able to score a few baskets if one wanted to fit into the team. And one had to get the lingo right. Excuse me had to become ‘squeeze me’ no matter how unwittingly inviting it sounded. In today’s #MeToo-sensitised world it sounds wronger by the moment, but back then it was the phrase that defined Gen Y or Y2K, or some acronym like that.
So, yeah, K2H2 really wound us up the wrong way. But what was particularly wrong, and just plain heartbreaking, was their depiction of a good old’ college. Let me just say it once and for all, colleges in India are nothing like what Kuch Kuch Hota Hai told you. And I know because I looked, failed, and saw the bubble I was living in burst into a million pieces.
Eight years after Karan Johar’s directorial debut it was time for me to pick a college. It had to be somewhere in Mumbai or Pune, I thought, because colleges in Kolkata are just not that cool. My father was a professor in one such uncool college and he was nothing like Principal Malhotra or Ms Braganza. So I picked Fergusson College, Pune. Of course, I didn’t tell my folks the real reason. I would have had life ‘squeezed’ out of me if had.
First day of college and would you believe there were no one at the basketball court? Or the corridors. Or the canteen. Turns out they were all in class. And then, Romeo and Juliet wasn’t even on the syllabus. No teacher ever came up to the class with a giant coffee table book of William Shakespeare’s plays. No one ever asked me, “Pyaar kya hai? Anyone? Anyone? No one?” I had an answer ready and all.
And friendship’s day was just another dull day. Seriously, there was no party.
The rest of my life was just downhill from there. I had no male best friends I could bank on settling down with when my hair had grown all long. But more importantly I generally didn’t gel well with the Rahuls of the world.
Now, when I heard him say, “Mard ka sar sirf teen aurton ke samne jhukta hai” I knew he’d never learn to respect women.
When he’d say, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Anjali, tum nahin samjhogi,” I knew he was negging. When he pretend played the piano and rain danced, I knew he was a potential douche bag. When he said “Pyaar dosti hai” he was mansplaining.
I grew up. And grew out of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I wish I could say the same about Karan Johar’s scripts.