When Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai first came out in 2000, I was a 9-year-old kid who instantly fell in love with Hrithik Roshan, like so many others. Over the years, I've found new actors to fall for, but Roshan still has a place in my heart.
Sadly though, revisiting his debut film as a 30-year-old has left no pyaar in my heart for Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai. Here's why
1. Right at the start of the film, we have this gem of a dialogue. Is it even a film from your childhood if there is no casual sexism?
Aurat! Apna mard ka baat jindagi mein ek baar suno... Tum kya samjhega kaandhe-batata wali.
- Rohit's landlord uncle addressing his wife
2. Rohit and his brother see Sonia at a traffic signal. And then continue staring at her. Repeat after me: accidentally glancing at a stranger is okay. Prolonged staring at random women is NOT okay.
3. Also now that you have been staring at her, maybe avoid making fun of her. Let her enjoy her me-time and her make-up.
4. Remember when Sonia presumes Rohit is the "gift" her father got her? Why would she think her father would buy her an actual human? I mean there is naivety but this is straight-up tone-deafness.
5. Okay, Rohit, let's not give random advice along the lines of "khubsurti sadgi mein hai" to women and shame them for their choices.
6. Sorry Sonia, but good friends don't just ditch their friends for the latest crush. Even if you have fallen in love in pehli nazar.
7. You haven't even started dating him yet Sonia, maybe dial down the jealousy? (Yes, a half-hour into the film and Sonia is NOT a well-developed female lead. What a surprise!).
8. Which cruise is this where clothes can be conveniently stolen?
9. Ditzy female leads and early 2000s Bollywood really went hand-in-hand. Why else would Sonia believe a boat in the middle of nowhere is the perfect place to play hide and seek?
10. Rohit, snatching someone's clothes from someone's body is not right, no matter the reason. Lack of consent is not funny, or romantic. It's just wrong.
10. Stuck in the middle of an island? Yes, let's dance, get the only clothes we have wet, and forget all about finding a way to escape from the island.
12. Sonia is grieving because she just lost the love of her life to a tragic accident. Her father's idea of sending her to live with her relatives as a "cure" is peak desi parental behavior.
Because Indian parents ignore mental health issues in real life, and clearly, in reel life too.
13. It's Sonia. Not Sauuniiaaa. Yes, I still have a problem with this.
14. No Neeta, we do not diss clothing choices. Whatever happened to family support and sis-code?
15. Isn't going through someone's personal belongings without their knowledge a crime? It should be.
16. No uncle, wrong answer. You do not know Sonia. You haven't even met her once. You CAN NOT know how she is feeling. We need to tell boys, and men, that women can answer for themselves. Do not presume.
17. Bollywood Heroes: Clicking photos of girls they like without their consent since the beginning of time. SMH.
18. Wow, Neeta really let down the sis-code? You do not guilt-shame a woman into saying yes to a guy, even if he is the most popular guy ever.
19. Sonia literally told Raj that she feels tortured on seeing his face because he reminds her of her dead boyfriend. Which is fair. What is not fair is Raj's father's advice, which literally goes, "conquer her". Sonia is not a land or property but a human whose wishes should be respected.
20. After a long-drawn police chase by corrupt cops, a shooting at a concert, and some good old-fashioned bad guys vs. hero fight-off, Sonia finds out that her father was behind all this. And decides that's the moment to hitch her wagon, so to say, with Raj? Therapy, not love and attraction, is the cure for trauma.
Yes, this one is pretty much in line with most cinematic marvels from Bollywood! Still does not make it okay.
To cut a long story short, maybe our childhood marvels belong in our childhood only. Bollywood, please don't repeat these mistakes?
All images are screenshots from the film streaming on Zee5.