Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (English: Something… Something Happens) also known as KKHH, is a 1998 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film, released in India and the United Kingdom on 16 October 1998. It was written and directed by Karan Johar, and starred the popular on-screen pair of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in their fourth film together. Rani Mukerji featured in a supporting role, while Salman Khan also had an extended-cameo appearance. Sana Saeed, who was featured in a supporting role, made her film debut in this movie.
Filmed in India, Mauritius, and Scotland, this was Karan Johar’s directorial debut. One of his goals for the film was to set a new level for style in Hindi cinema. 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 friend.
The film was successful in India and abroad, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of the year and the third highest-grossing Indian film ever behind Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Outside India, the film was the highest grossing Hindi film ever until its record was broken by Karan’s next directorial, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001).
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai received a positive reception from critics, with special praise directed to Kajol’s performance. The soundtrack also became the biggest seller of the year. The film won many major awards including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and the “Best Film” honor at the Filmfare Awards, Zee Cine Awards, Screen Awards, and Bollywood Movie Awards. The film won 8 Filmfare Awards and is the only film in history to win all the four acting category awards at the ceremony (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress).
The film begins with Rahul Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan) standing in front of the funeral pyre of his wife Tina (Rani Mukerji). Through a series of flashbacks, we are shown Rahul and Tina’s marriage, their honeymoon, Tina’s pregnancy with their daughter, and the child’s eventual birth. It is revealed that Tina was aware of complications in her pregnancy; the complications would be fatal, and either mother or child could be saved, but not both. However, she decided not to tell Rahul as she knew how much he wanted a child. During her pregnancy, Tina, who also loved the baby more than her own life, writes eight letters to her daughter (one for each of her first eight birthdays) and gives them to Rahul’s mother (Farida Jalal). Before dying, Tina asks Rahul to promise her to name their daughter Anjali.
Eight years later, Rahul is a single parent living with his daughter Anjali Khanna (Sana Saeed) and his mother. Rahul’s mother worries that he is lonely and that Anjali is missing out on a motherly figure in her life, but Rahul brushes it off, saying that having him and his mother is enough for Anjali. On her eighth birthday, Anjali reads the last and most important letter that her mother left her; it tells the story of Rahul, Tina, and Anjali Sharma.
The film then flashes back to St. Xavier’s College, where Rahul and his best friend, tomboy Anjali Sharma (Kajol) are popular students. Though they are close friends, they deny any romantic feelings for each other. The college principal Mr. Malhotra (Anupam Kher) states that his daughter Tina is coming to St. Xavier’s from Oxford University to finish her degree, and asks Anjali to be her guide and friend. Tina quickly becomes friends with Anjali, and Rahul constantly flirts with Tina, trying to win her over. As time goes by, Anjali realises that she is in love with Rahul, and her motherly guardian Rifat Bi (Himani Shivpuri) encourages her to tell him. Before she is able to declare her feelings for Rahul, however, he instead tells Anjali that he is in love with Tina. Devastated, Anjali decides to leave college and shares a tearful goodbye with Rahul. Although she is in love with Rahul as well, Tina realises that she came between him and Anjali.
Back in the present, Tina explains in her letter to her daughter Anjali Khanna that Rahul had always said that love is friendship, and without friendship, there can be no love. Rahul is a single parent and lacks a friend in his life, so Tina assigns her daughter the mission of reuniting Rahul and Anjali and bringing back Rahul’s lost love and friend. The next day, Rahul, his daughter, and his mother head to Faridabad where they meet Mr. Malhotra for Tina’s death anniversary. There, Anjali shows her grandparents (but not Rahul) her mother’s letters.
Anjali Sharma is no longer the tomboy she was in college; she has become a beautiful woman and is now engaged to Aman Mehra (Salman Khan), an NRI living in London. However, she explains to her mother (Reema Lagoo) that she does not really love him and is marrying him as a compromise, as she feels she can never love again after losing Rahul. Aman also suspects that she does not really love him. Determined to reunite her father and his best friend, Anjali Khanna and her grandmother search for Anjali Sharma, and soon learn that she is going to be working at a summer camp, Camp Sunshine, in Shimla. Rahul tells his daughter that she is not allowed to attend the summer camp and heads to a conference, only to later learn that his mother and daughter went without telling him and left a letter for him. Anjali Khanna and Rahul’s mother travel to the camp, with a plan to later lure Rahul into coming as well, and the two Anjalis meet each other. One night while watching television, Anjali Sharma realizes she has met Rahul’s daughter, and that Tina is dead. Rahul soon arrives at Camp Sunshine after his daughter fakes a fever, and he and Anjali Sharma are surprised and delighted to see each other again. Throughout the days at the camp, Rahul and Anjali find themselves falling in love with each other. Just as they are about to share a passionate moment, Anjali thinks about her upcoming marriage and feels guilty. She runs away in tears, after which Aman arrives and tells Rahul that he is Anjali’s fiancé. Rahul is heartbroken but congratulates Anjali. She takes this as him rejecting her again, so she leaves the summer camp and decides to marry Aman as soon as possible.
After seeing Tina in a dream, Rahul and his family go to Anjali’s wedding, where Rahul silently confesses to Anjali that he loves her, and watches in tears as she is brought forth for the wedding. Knowing of Rahul’s feelings, Anjali is hesitant to go through with the marriage, and sobs on her way to the altar. Aman notices the tears in her eyes and realises that she has always been in love with Rahul. He releases Anjali from the engagement and tells her to marry Rahul. Rahul and Anjali have an emotional embrace and as the two marry, little Anjali Khanna sees a vision of Tina, who is smiling and giving her the thumbs up.
Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul Khanna: A popular student at St. Xavier’s College and Anjali Sharma’s best friend. He falls in love with Tina Malhotra and marries her, after which they have a baby girl who is named Anjali. He does not realise his love for Anjali Sharma until he meets her again.
Kajol as Anjali Sharma: A fun-loving tomboy in college and the best friend of Rahul. Over time, she becomes friends with Tina but also falls in love with Rahul. Once she realises that Rahul and Tina love each other, she is devastated and decides to leave the college.
Rani Mukerji as Tina Malhotra: The daughter of the principal of St. Xavier’s, who is a transfer student from Oxford University. Elegant and sophisticated, she is described as the most beautiful girl in college. She falls in love with Rahul and marries him. The couple has a daughter, but Tina but has always felt guilty about coming between Anjali Sharma and Rahul. She passes away after giving birth, and her last wish is for Rahul to name their child Anjali.
Sana Saeed as Anjali Khanna: Named after Anjali Sharma by Tina, she is Rahul and Tina’s daughter. She is independent and fun-loving, and her character mirrors that of Anjali Sharma during the latter’s college days. She plays matchmaker between her father and his old college best friend, Anjali Sharma.
Salman Khan as Aman Mehra, Anjali Sharma’s fiancé.
Farida Jalal as Mrs. Khanna: Rahul’s widowed mother. She is very religious and patriotic and supports her granddaughter Anjali in her quest to reunite her father and his best friend. She also constantly irritates Col. Almeida at Camp Sunshine with her patriotism.
Anupam Kher as Principal Malhotra: Tina’s father and the principal of St. Xavier’s College. He is slightly infatuated with Ms. Briganza.
Archana Puran Singh as Ms. Briganza: An English teacher at St. Xavier’s. She constantly flirts with Principal Malhotra.
Reema Lagoo as Mrs. Sharma: She is Anjali Sharma’s mother and has doubts about her daughter’s desires to marry Aman.
Himani Shivpuri as Rifat Bi: The St. Xavier’s girls’ hostel matron. She acts as a motherly figure toward Anjali Sharma.
Johnny Lever as Col. Almeida: The half-British manager of Camp Sunshine. He is a staunch Anglophile and is thus irritated by the patriotism of Mrs. Khanna.
Parzan Dastur as Silent Sardarji: A Sikh boy at Camp Sunshine who usually does not speak, but begs Anjali Sharma not to go when she decides to leave the summer camp. He likes Anjali Khanna.
Neelam Kothari as Neelam (special appearance): She is the host of The Neelam Show, the television programme which Anjali Khanna loves.
Nikhil Advani in cameo and extra appearance (in Neelam’s talk show segment)
Manish Malhotra in cameo as college student (Sitting on the steps of college when Anjali wears feminine clothing)
Farah Khan in cameo and extra appearances (in Neelam’s talk show and sitting on the steps of college when Anjali wears feminine clothing)
Geeta Kapoor in the song “Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aayee”
Hiroo Johar in cameo as a college professor (walking down the steps of college when Anjali wears feminine clothing)