Those of you who know me well will know my penchant for Bollywood movies, so when "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehana" (Never Say Goodbye) with its controversial theme of adultery was released last week, I was determined to go see it. Alas, EVERY show in EVERY picture hall in Bangalore was houseful, so I had to wait to return to Canada in order to go see it and I'm glad I did.
"Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehana" or KANK as we will affectionately call it, is one of the first Hindi (read that as Bollywood) movies to tackle the topic of adultery head on. I know some of you might wonder what the fuss is all about, adultery after all, is not that uncommon, its just that Bollywood creates mostly 'feel good' movies packed to the brim with family values and where good usually overcomes evil. By providing a fairy-tale ending for the erring lovers this film perhaps glorifies adultery,something that Bollywood and its large Indian following find hard to swallow.
While the movie itself was rather long (3 1/2 hours) and formulaic in some parts, it did manage to generate a lot of talk, both on TV chat shows and around office water coolers, about what course one's life should take should you happen to find your soulmate after you are married to someone else . Do you drop everything and grab him/her or do you unselfishly stay where you are?
The movie suggests that if you don't love your spouse, it doesn't make sense to stay with him/her, for you are keeping him/her from finding love/happiness with someone else. But a large chunk of the Indian public have a problem embracing that message believing it to be a very western concept. The reaction is not surprising considering that most marriages in India are still arranged by one's parents and this message of following your heart is an impossible dream for many Indians - love in a marriage, if it has a role, comes later.
The movie for all its flaws has had one of the largest box office openings ever, and you can credit that to the cursiosity factor,the star cast and the fabulous music (especially the Sufi rock song titled "Mitwa") together with its elaborate song/dance sequences.
If anyone reading this has seen KANK or plans to, do write in, I would love to hear from you!