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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKaran Johar
Written byKaran Johar
Produced byYash Johar
CinematographySantosh Thundiyil
Edited bySanjay Sankla
Music byJatin–Lalit
Distributed byYash Raj Films
Release date
  • 16 October 1998 (1998-10-16)[1]
Running time
185 minutes[1]
Budget100 million[2]
Box officeest.1.07 billion[3]

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai [a] is a 1998 Indian Hindi-language musical romance film written and directed by Karan Johar and produced by his father Yash Johar under Dharma Productions. It stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, and Rani Mukherji, along with Salman Khan in an extended special appearance. It also features Sana Saeed in a supporting role. 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 best 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, which was the biggest seller of the year. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was released on 16 October 1998, worldwide and received positive reviews from critics who praised the setting, music, direction, cinematography, screenplay, performances and overall presentation. 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 Johar's next directorial, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001).

The film received various 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).


The film tells the story of Rahul Khanna and two girls from his life. The first one is Anjali Sharma, his best friend from college. Rahul and Anjali used to spend most of their time together, until the arrival of Tina Malhotra. Tina is the pretty daughter of the principal, and Rahul is immediately smitten. Soon, the two start going out. Anjali, secretly in love with Rahul, is devastated at this turn of events. She decides to leave college, and though she and Rahul bid farewell to each other, they fail to keep in touch in the following years.

Tina feels guilty at having come in the way of Anjali's love for Rahul. Nevertheless, she and Rahul get married, and are about to become parents as Tina is pregnant. Complications arise in her pregnancy and she starts bleeding internally. Left with little time to live, Tina writes eight letters to her newborn daughter, asking that each be given to her on her birthday, so that she might know the story of her mother. Tina dies and Rahul names their daughter Anjali, after Tina's last wish.

Over the next eight years, Anjali Khanna grows up under the care of Rahul, who never re-marries. On her eighth birthday, she reads her mother's final letter to her, which details the story of Rahul's friendship with the other Anjali (Sharma). In the letter, Tina asks her daughter to reunite Rahul with Anjali Sharma, believing that the two were always meant to be together. Anjali Khanna traces the older Anjali to a summer camp in Shimla, where she is the music and dance instructor. She immediately enrolls and leaves for the camp, against the wishes of her father who is unaware of the letter and of Anjali's new mission.

At the camp, the two Anjalis meet and bond with each other. Rahul is a protective father and shows up at the camp in Shimla, only to be shocked at seeing Anjali Sharma there, after nearly a decade. The two are initially awkward around each other, but soon end up resuming their old friendship. Rahul starts to realize he feels more than platonic love for Anjali. Before he can do anything, though, Anjali's fiance, Aman, shows up at the camp. Anjali, who cannot decide between Rahul and Aman, decides to return home mid-way through the camp. She also asks for the wedding to be moved ahead from its original date.

Rahul realizes that he is about to lose Anjali again and is heartbroken. He and his daughter visit Anjali's residence on the eve of the wedding. Finding Anjali alone in an upstairs room, Rahul professes his love for her, even though she is about to be married. Anjali, who had never forgotten her crush on Rahul, falters at the wedding altar. Aman knows that Rahul was Anjali's first love, and that she still feels strongly for him. He decides to step down as the groom, allowing Rahul and Anjali to get married in the same ceremony. As the festivities take place, Anjali Khanna feels content at having fulfilled her mother's last wish from her letter.




After the experience of assisting and acting in Aditya Chopra's directorial debut, the romantic drama Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), 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] 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.[5] They were signed by producer and his father Yash Johar in early 1997.[6] Yash Johar officially announced the film in October 1997 at Mehboob Studios in Bandra.[7]

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 and has some "East meets West" themes, but instead of the characters going abroad, it creates a virtual West inside India.[8]


This film marked Karan Johar directorial debut

Karan Johar was certain from the beginning that he wanted to cast Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in the lead roles, having observed them during the making of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.[9] It took longer to fill the role of Tina. The role was written with Twinkle Khanna in mind, but she turned it down.[10] 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.[10] Aditya Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan noticed Rani Mukherji's acting in Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1996), and suggested her to Karan Johar. He thus signed her, giving a boost to her career.[11][12] Saif Ali Khan and Chandrachur Singh were initially offered the role of Aman, but they both turned it down, thus prompting Johar to rope in Salman Khan.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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."[15] 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."[16] 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 August 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."[13] The entire film was shot in nine and half months[5] with a substantial part of it shot in Mauritius.[17][18] The title song was filmed over a ten-day period.[19] in several picturesque locations in Scotland,[20] including Eilean Donan, Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and Tantallon Castle with the nearby Bass Rock as a backdrop in one scene.[21][22] The scenes from the summer camp in Shimla were filmed at Wenlock Downs in Ooty, Tamil Nadu.[23]

During the bicycle sequence in the song "Yeh Ladka Hai Deewana", 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.[24] 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 happy with the result that it was put into the film.[25]


Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Soundtrack album by
Released19 August 1998
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelSony Music

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 19 August 1998.[26] While the film was still untitled, Javed Akhtar was signed to write the lyrics, and even wrote and recorded one song (Koi Mil Gaya). 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 buzzword, realizing that he was the only one who disliked the title.[27]

The album became the best-selling Bollywood soundtrack of the year, with 8 million units sold in India.[28] The title song remained on the Indian music charts for over a year,[29] and the album peaked at number #2 on the Malaysian albums chart (RIM) in 1999.[30] Sony Music Indonesia also sold 300,000 copies in Indonesia,[31] for a combined 8.3 million copies sold in India and Indonesia.

Mukul Deshpande of Planet Bollywood rated the soundtrack 8.5 out of 10 stars, although he did not like all of the songs.[32] In 2012, it was voted as the most popular film song of the previous decade by NDTV. The soundtrack was #69 on the list of "100 Greatest Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time", as compiled by Planet Bollywood. 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.[33]

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"Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy7:14
4."Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Sad)"Alka Yagnik1:26
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."Yeh Ladka Hai Deewana"Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik6:36
Total length:42:59

On 2002, Sony Music India also released Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in Telugu version.[34]

1."Thummansaledi" (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - Title Track)Mohini Singh, Noel Raj4:57
2."Pemphata Pura" (Koi Mil Gaya)Anuradha Sri Ram, Noel Raj7:17
3."Banda Thoran Ran" (Saaanji Ghar Aaye)Anuradha Perera, Sangeeth Wijesooriya 
4."Thummansaledi" (Sad Version)Champa Kalhari1:26
5."Hangila Ara Moko" (Yeh Ladka Hai Deewana)Anuradha Perera, Sangeeth Wijesooriya6:38
6."Me Jeewithayen Pala Ne" (Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aaye)Anuradha Perera, Sangeeth Wijesooriya6:06
7."Khsithija Ime" (Ladki Badi Anjaani Hai)Anuradha Perera, Noel Raj5:55
Total length:39:37


Critical reception[edit]

While comparing the film to Dil To Pagal Hai (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 ambience" 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."[35] 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."[36] 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 storyline, though Santosh Thundiyil and Sharmishta Roy were praised for their camerawork and art direction, respectively.[37] 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".[18]

In January 2023, IndieWire ranked Kuch Kuch Hota Hai as the world's best romantic comedy (rom-com) on Netflix, above Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) at number two and Notting Hill (1999) at number three. IndieWire writers Kate Erbland and Alison Foreman called Kuch Kuch Hota Hai "a love triangle for the ages" and said it is "a bittersweet and bubbly story of young love, missed opportunity, and female friendship" with "what’s quite possibly the most romantic gazebo scene of all time."[38]

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.[36]

According to Box Office India, the film grossed 80.12 crore (US$19.41 million) in India and $6.3 million (26.61 crore) in other countries, for a worldwide total of 1.06 billion (US$25.69 million), against its 10 crore (US$2.42 million) budget. It became the third film to gross over 1 billion (US$24.23 million) worldwide in the 1990s, after Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.[39] It had a worldwide opening weekend of 8.06 crore (US$1.95 million), and grossed 15.13 crore (US$3.67 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.[40][41]


It opened on Friday, 16 October 1998, across 240 screens, along with Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, and earned 87 lakh (US$210,818.63) nett on its opening day. It grossed 2.74 crore (US$663,957.53) 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$1.37 million) nett, after Bade Miyan Chote Miyan which grossed 6.33 crore (US$1.53 million) nett.[42] The film earned a total of 46.86 crore (US$11.36 million) nett, plus a distributor share of 29.88 crore (US$7.24 million), and was declared an "All-Time Blockbuster" by Box Office India.[3] It is the highest-grossing film of 1998 in India.[43]


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. According to Box Office India, the film earned a total of $6.3 million (26.61 crore) overseas.[3] According to the book Global Bollywood, the film grossed $8 million in overseas markets outside India.[44] It became the second Bollywood film to break into the UK box office top 10 after Dil Se.. which was released the same year, and went on to gross $2 million.[45][46] It was a bigger box office success than Titanic when it was screened in Indonesia.[47] Overseas, It is the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1998.[48]


Kuch Kuch Hota Hai received a leading 18 nominations at the 44th Filmfare Awards and won a leading 8 awards, including a sweep in all the major categories.[49] 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 (1965), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) (also starring Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol), Devdas (2002), Black (2005) and Gully Boy (2019).[50]

Award Category Recipient(s) Results
46th National Film Awards Best Film For Providing Wholesome Entertainment Yash Johar, Karan Johar[51] Won
Best Female Playback Singer Alka Yagnik for "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"[52]
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 Mukherji
Best Screenplay Karan Johar
Best Art Direction Sharmishta Roy
Screen Awards Best Film Yash Johar
Best Director Karan Johar
Best Music Director 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 Mukherji
Best Music Director Jatin–Lalit
Best Lyricist Sameer for "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Best Playback Singer – Female Alka Yagnik for "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Lux Face of the Year Rani Mukherji (for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai & Ghulam)
Best Story Karan Johar[53][54]
Bollywood Movie Awards[55] Best Film Yash Johar
Best Director Karan Johar
Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan
Best Actress Kajol
Best Music Director Jatin–Lalit
Best Male Playback Singer Udit Narayan for "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Best Female Playback Singer Alka Yagnik for "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai"
Best Screenplay Karan Johar
Best Choreography Farah Khan
Best Costume Design Manish Malhotra[56]

Home media[edit]

A few years after its release, Sony purchased satellite rights for the film for ₹4 crore.[57][58] The film was also released on VHS, DVD, and eventually Blu-ray.[59] Now Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, along with Johar's second film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001), 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."[60]


Rani Mukherji, Shah Rukh Khan, and Kajol during 20 years celebration of the film.

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.[61] 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."[62] 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.[63] The film has also been criticized for creating unreal worlds and characters,[14] to which Johar has said that this was part of his vision of escapism.[64]

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,[65] and also paid homage in one of the songs, "Ramba Mein Samba".[66] In 2010, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was selected by Time as one of their "Five Essential Bollywood movies to Netflix".[67] It was also mentioned in critic and author Shubhra Gupta's book, 50 Films That Changed Bollywood, 1995–2015.[68] In 2018, Johar celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the film by hosting an event with the lead cast.[69]

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 a.k.a. Rocky, Anjali a.k.a. Angie, Tina, and the Principal. New cast members include Uday Chopra, Riteish Deshmukh, Sanjay Dutt and Simi Garewal. The story will have an anthropomorphic animal cast.[70] 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."[71]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Although the literal English translation of this phrase is "something happens", it does not correctly describe its essence; in fact it is quite misleading. This phrase is often whispered by a lover, in connection with what he [or she] feels, when he sees, meets or thinks about his lover. "Kuch" in English translates as "something" or "somewhat". So by this feeling, he is trying to convey that "he feels something pleasant, that is somewhat difficult to describe." This is indeed what both the hero and heroine utter in this movie a number of times


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