Kehanaa hii kyaaThere is some more KANK cribbing left. Kindly bear.
Anupama Chopra told us about Karan Johar's entry into "alien, high-risk territory: the modern Indian marriage." Now, I'm very curious that this representation of "the modern Indian marriage" is set in New York, especially given that he says 'In KANK, the city (NY) is just a backdrop.'1. So why not set it in Bombay and further the exploration of the Indian marriage in places where it would have more resonance, like, I don't know, somewhere in India? And if Shah Rukh Khan turns out to be an American footballer, then even better :-)
To me, the above is a fairly good example of the kind of creative decisions that rule such films. They are so utterly compromised that it is hard to be anything but critical. Creative film compromises are part of the game, and sometimes, constraints fuel alternative kinds of creativity. But everything from casting to story choices to plot developments to settings to song breaks are motivated (even if unconsciously) by considerations that have their basis in emotional manipulation, commercial interests and repetitiveness. Except for some of the (american sitcom/film inspired, IMO) interesting screenplay methods employed in Kal Ho Na Ho, very little else in Karan Johar films commends itself. In this respect, even a person like Sanjay Leela Bhansali can be credited with a certain personal creative vision even though I don't like it for its sheer screen-decibel levels.
The role of "conflict" in Bollywood movies is merely to ripple an existing equilibrium, with the "solution" revolving around the restoration of an acceptable status quo. Not to say that such things are not creatively satisfying for viewer and maker alike. A classic example is the David Lean's Brief Encounter which is very sincere to its own world and whose bittersweet ending is not hard to swallow; in fact, it is entirely derived from the inner logic of that world. A different example is that of Closer (which led speculation as being an inspiration for KANK due to similar superficial character mappings). I am not sure I completely "got" the film and thought it as being flawed, but the ending was very interesting. Those characters having gone through what they did, the ensuing disorder seemed perfectly congruous from the logic established in the film. In contrast, films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (and assuming KANK will not surprise in this regard - I await pleasant news to the contrary) think nothing of violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the entropy can be curbed and reversed in their systems2.
2. I know all about the pitfalls of such analogies w.r.t. closed systems and all, so don't remind me :-) It's the idea that counts and so on.