The Film: Kuch To Hai
Director: Anil V. Kumar
Music: Anu Malik
Producer: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor
Starring: Tusshar Kapoor, Esha Deol, Natasha, Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor
Balaji Films Ltd.'s Kucch To Hai (A) is a whodunit. Inspired from the Hollywood film I Know What You Did Last Summer, it is the story of a group of collegians, studying in Simla, who get entagled in a murder mystery. The group of college students chances upon the dead body of their eccentric professor's wife, kept in a cellar in his house.
When the professor learns of this, he sets out to kill each of them for fear that they would complain to the police. But while on their chase, the professor himself is feared dead. Years later, the college pals re-visit Simla, only to find, to their shock and terror, the professor alive and thirsting for their blood. One by one, a person from the group gets killed under mysterious circumstances during their stay in Simla. The needle of suspicion points towards the professor but he is not the murderer of most of the victims. Then who is?
Although designed as a murder mystery, the film lacks thrills and chills. Strange as it may sound, the film entertains more for its comedy than for the chilling drama. Rajeev Jhaveri's story and screenplay are not too inspiring and the lack of conviction comes across in many a sequence. The professor is shown to be after the students even after so many years, for no solid reason. Since the police, in the intervening years, got to know of his wife's corpse and let him go scot-free in spite of that, why does he want to invite trouble by killing the students? What more harm can they do after so many years? This is just not explained.
Besides, if the students are shown to be suffering from guilt pangs after they believe that they were responsible for the professor's death, why should they panic when they see him alive? Shouldn't they feel supremely relieved of their guilt? But if they did that, there would be no second half, at least not as 'exciting' as when they panic. Glitches like the above give the viewer a clear feeling that he is being taken for a ride because what comes on the screen is not what is logical.
The angle of the other murderer (which is the suspense) is weak because it has not been properly developed. The climax, therefore, in which the identity of the murderer is revealed, looks hurried and fails to have an impact. So many things are sought to be established through dialogues instead of proper scenes that it appears, the film exceeded the normal length and had, therefore, to be indiscriminately edited. This also leads to jerks in the flow of the drama.
All in all, the attempt to terrify the viewer is so pronounced that the audience gets put off pretty fast. Romance is not too exciting. Emotions are absent. Comedy, of course, is quite entertaining. But treating some serious scenes lightly is not very sensible. Dialogues (Anuraag Prapann and Umesh Shukla) are alright.
Tusshar impresses with a free performance but his dialogue delivery in a couple of scenes should have been more forceful. He dances very well. Esha Deol also does an able job. She is, however, too heavily made-up in some scenes. Natassha makes a confident debut on the Hindi film screen. Vrajesh Hirjee is first-rate and evokes laughter whenever he comes on the screen.
Kusumit Sana is cute and her cell phone angle is original and funny. Johny Lever also adds to the comedy in his inimitable style. Abhay Chitre and Yash Tonk lend very good suport. Rishi Kapoor is excellent as the eccentric professor. Jeetendra lends star value as Tusshar's father. Manoj Pahwa, Moon Moon Sen, Razak Khan and the rest are good.
Direction (Anil V. Kumar and Anurag Bose) is stylish but, given the gaffes in the screenplay, the style begins to surface as a camouflage for lack of a substantive script. Anu Malik's music is very good but a hit score was what was needed. 'Ding dong', 'Aisa kyon hota hai', 'Kya pyar karoge mujhse', 'Hai rey' and 'Hone laga' are all well-tuned numbers. But a couple of songs pop up without proper situations.
Picturisation of 'Ding dong' is excellent although it springs up without a situation. Camerawork (Johny Lal and Fawzia Fathima) is fairly nice. Foreign locations are excellent. Action (Mahendra Verma) is quite good. Background music (Amar Mohile) is nice. Editing should've been crisper.
On the whole, Kucch To Hai lacks the thrill and chill it promises from the outset and, therefore, disappoints. Given its slow start at many places, it would prove to be a burden for those associated with it. Business in multiplexes and good cinemas in cities will be somewhat better on weekends.
Released on 24-1-'03 at Metro and 19 other cinemas of Bombay thru Raksha Distributors. Publicity: excellent. Opening: quite good. .......Also released all over. Opening was dull/ordinary almost everywhere.