As one of the most iconic films in Bollywood history, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, completes 25 years since its release, actor Rani Mukerji, who played the role of Tina in the film, says that it is “truly surreal” for her “because these (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai team) are the people who I literally started my career with,” adding, “What gives me immense joy and happiness is the fact that we all are such close friends. We are literally like family, whether it is my relationship with Karan, or with Shah Rukh. There is a certain emotion that we have for one another. All of us in our individual ways, have all tried to better ourselves in these 25 years. My journey has been very fruitful and a wonderful one.”
Also starring Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in the lead roles, Mukerji credits the magical on-screen chemistry between herself, Shah Rukh Khan, and Kajol to Karan Johar’s script. “Actors perform to the written material. Because Karan’s script was magical, everything fell in place. Also, there was a lot of love that we felt for one another on set that also translated into the shooting process. When I looked at Shah Rukh, there was a lot of love and when he looked at me also, there was a lot of love. Vice-versa for SRK and Kajol as well,” says the 45-year-old.
One of the first conversations that she remembers having with Karan very distinctly, “was that because Shah Rukh and Kajol were a part of DDLJ, which was an iconic hit, would the audience accept Shah Rukh’s character – Rahul falling in love with Tina. I remember voicing my concern to him right after I had heard the narration. He said ‘You don’t worry about it, as long as you are doing the film, you leave that worry to me’,” the Mrs Norway Vs Chatterji actor tells us, adding, “Karan was truly the reason I was a part of the film because I felt very comfortable interacting with him. He narrated the film with such clarity as if I was literally watching the movie unfold in front of me. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is one of the films that will always remain very close to my heart.”
Sharing a behind-the-scenes story, Mukerji recounts a moment during the shoot of the title track in Scotland. She highlights Karan Johar’s attention to detail in costumes, and tells us, “The entire star cast including technicians would travel together in a bus and it would be parked at a spot, and then wherever we would find a beautiful scenic location we would stop and shoot. Karan was shooting Shah Rukh and mine honeymoon shots – I was wearing an orange saree and while shooting it, Karan being the perfectionist that he is about costumes, he saw that I wasn’t wearing a mangalsutra and these were shots supposed to be happening after the marriage.”
The actor further adds, “He quickly asked Manish (designer Manish Malhotra) ‘Where is Rani’s mangalsutra? I need it for the shot’. He had forgotten to get it. He didn’t flinch and then literally sprinted to the bus, where my mom (Krishna Mukherjee) was taking a nap. He went and told my mother ‘Aunty aapka mangalsutra de do’. Then, he went and told Karan, ‘See what a beautiful mangalsutra. It has orange beads that perfectly matches Rani’s saree’. I wore my Mum’s mangalsutra and gave the shot. Karan only realised the truth when my mother came huffing and puffing from the bus asking Manish, ‘Where is my mangalsutra? Give my mangalsutra back’.”
When asked about the film’s journey to becoming a cult classic, she emphasises, “I didn’t have much experience to understand what the audiences like or don’t like. I was a newcomer and I didn’t think so much of all this at that point. The only thing important for me at that time was to do my job well. I was just very happy on the sets of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, it was a lovely team.”
Her favorite dialogue from the film is ‘Pyaar Dosti Hai,’ which represents the central theme of the movie – that love is friendship. She further adds, “When Rahul said ‘Jisse mai pyaar karunga, vo meri sabse achi dost bhi honi chahiye’, people could feel it. And, the songs of the film were also a hit, my favourite will have to be the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai title track and Koi Mil Gaya.”
Finally, Mukerji discusses how the film’s message of ‘love is friendship’ has continued to resonate with audiences over the years. “There is some kind of happiness people get after watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Even today, after 25 years, wherever I go, the fact that people still talk to me about Tina’s character is something that has been a part of my journey as an actor. Karan’s theme of the film was not only very new for that generation, but the coming generations also, who valued this thought and they found it very real as a concept,” she ends.