We Made Jane Austen Watch ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ & She Said This...
“Her sari flew off! He must give her his name and marry her. What do you mean that’s now how it works anymore?”
(This story was first published on 28 July 2017. It has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the birth anniversary of Jane Austen.)
We were wondering what Jane Austen would say if we made her watch Karan Johar’s mega hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Here’s how we think it would go:
1. How can it begin with a wedding? Is the beginning the ending? Is this Mr Johar an anti-Aristotelian?
2. Good god, three hours? Does it chronicle the fate of all families in the neighbourhood of Rahul, Tina, and Anjali?
(At this point, Ms Austen was told that the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice has a runtime of nearly six hours. She was flabbergasted, but in a genteel, ladylike way.)
3. Letters! How wonderful! But they should not have killed the only letter-writer in this story. Are the rest illiterate?
4. Ok, so they cannot be illiterate because you tell me they attend an institution of higher learning where both men and women study together, apparently.
5. On the other hand, they seem to be treating their college as one of my assembly balls, which is to say as a ripe opportunity for flirtation and concealed debauchery. So maybe some of them are illiterate.
6. I have a feeling Elizabeth and Anjali would have been great friends.
7. So how do we know Rahul is desirable if his income is never explicitly mentioned?
8. Is he *gasp* in trade?
9. Finally, a ridiculous parent figure that we can poke fun at with no qualms of conscience. This bald man is also the college principal, you say?
10. Rahul-Anjali are destined to be lovers and wedded partners? But they seem like siblings sometimes. Oh, I do love incestuous subtext. Do you think Mr Johar has read Mansfield Park?
11. I must admit it is a relief that the notion of love and marriage evidently obsesses your people as much as it did mine.
12. Though it is also a bit of a puzzle. Working women are the norm in your time, are they not? Not just the lot of the lower classes or those fallen on bad times as in my day? One would have thought that easy access to respectably attained financial independence would have made romance a secondary pursuit for Tina and Anjali. Oh, but we must remember that a man wrote this story.
13. Tina is reading a book! They killed the only person who voluntarily picks up a book? I am beginning to take her death a little personally now.
14. Anjali leaves her education unfinished because of a broken heart? Perhaps she has more in common with Lydia than Elizabeth. What an unfortunate waste.
15. Two people in love with each other (even if one side of that love is platonic for a while) come together some years later in a poignant manner? Do you think Mr Johar has read Persuasion?
16. Her sari flew off! He saw her nearly naked. Of course he must give her his name and protection now and marry her. What do you mean that’s not how it works anymore?
17. Being reunited with her true love at the altar, as it were, is very romantic of course but the film should really have ended with a brief glimpse of the two fathers fixing the jointure and other marriage settlements. That’s how you know it’s a true wedding.
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