Kho Gaye Hum Kahan finds Ananya Panday in top fettle

Adarsh Gourav, Ananya Panday and Siddhant Chaturvedi in Kho Gaye Hum Kahan. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The film ends with a handful of worthwhile messages, basically about being yourself and treasuring true friends who will always stand by you. But to reach this point, it takes over two hours. Two hours of a tepid, very trite narrative that involves typical up-market and upper middle-class Indian youngsters who swear by Western music and mores, and whose lives revolve around mobiles, pubs, gyms, hookups and casual sex.

Thankfully, gays that overflow out of Netflix’s Hindi fare (films and series) do not form a part of this story.

Instead, the film shows that two boys and a girl (Siddhant Chaturvedi, Adarsh Gourav and Ananya Pandey) can have a great relationship wherein they are willing to do everything for their buddies, especially in times when their friends’ lives are going astray.

Imaad (Siddhant Chaturvedi) earns his living with a standup comedy act, though he hails from a fairly moneyed family. In contrast, the volatile Neil (Adarsh Gourav), a gym trainer, comes from a humble background and would like to own a gym—or two. Completing this Amar-Akbar-Anthony friendship is Ahana (Ananya Panday), also Imaad’s flat-mate (minus any intimacy, as said before). In part, a Sikh is also added to the story by being Imaad’s love interest—Simran Kohli (Kalki Koechlin).

The trio’s easy friendship becomes polluted when things go wrong, beginning with Ahana’s ‘steady’, Rohan (Rohan Gurbaxani) leaving her overnight as he wants a ‘break’. Neil loves Laxmi (Anya Singh) but she only leads him on. Finally, Imaad cannot overcome his sexual inhibitions and Simran senses it.

When Imaad discreetly tells Neil’s story to an appreciative audience in his act, the latter gets furious and Ahana is understandably miserable. Reason: Imaad was set to finance Neil’s own gym and Ahana to manage the money and marketing—she has quit her job where she saw no progress. Ultimately, the trio finds tranquility within themselves, make complete peace with each other and become better people rather than losers who merely seek vendetta on those who almost wrecked their happiness.

To reach this point, the film takes eons, seemingly. Four More Shots Please!, the Amazon franchise, made better substance than this film in addressing the hep generation and their wild ways that make them wake up to a reality check only after making several mistakes. Yes, KGHK is a coming-of-age film but a crisper, more meaningful and deeper script would have made a humongous difference. The film definitely plods slower than a sluggish turtle for over an hour midway in its 135-minute length!

The debutant director, Arjun Varain Singh, also a co-writer, understands the psyche of youngsters and their long-suffering / generous / understanding parents very well, but as said before, he could have made the film faster-paced and less seen-this-before kind. Technically good, the film has an assortment of Hindi, Punjabi and English songs by multiple songwriters and composers, and only Ishq nachaawe written by Dhrruv Yogi and Yashraj and composed by Karan Kanchan and Rashmeet Kaur registers—within the film.

And now I have a small but vital point to make. Admittedly, Hindi cinema has a global exposure now, but today we have an excess of Punjabi in the music and of English in the spoken word. If ‘Excel Entertainment’ is to excel, it (and all such filmmakers) must provide subtitles when the conversation goes on for long in English, and also in songs that have completely English lyrics, as in this film and their The Archies. Come to think of it, subtitles in Hindi during Punjabi songs in every other film too must be seriously considered as well!

If at all there is someone who makes her first real impact in this movie, it is Ananya Panday, who is simply perfect as Ahana. Maybe the role is tailor-made for her real persona, but I would like to think that this is more because she is supremely confident and consummate. Happily, another ‘glam doll’ (just like her Student of the Year 2 co-debutante Tara Sutaria in another OTT film release in 2023—Apurva) proves she is more than just a pretty face and eye-candy!

Adarsh Gourav makes a mark yet again after several earlier performances, all with different physical avatars. Siddhant Chaturvedi is…well…nice. We can’t complain but there is nothing standout in his performance, except in some sequences like his climactic revelation. The rest of the cast is functional and thus adequate. Kalki Koechlin is her usual dependable and effortless self.

And ‘adequate’ also sums up the film, which was the last OTT release of 2023.

Netflix presents Excel Entertainment’s & Tiger Baby Films’ Kho Gaya Hum Kahan  Produced by: Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Ritesh Sidhwani & Farhan Akhtar  Directed by: Arjun Varain Singh  Written by: Arjun Varain Singh, Zoya Akhtar,  Reema Kagti & Yash Sahai  Music: OAFF–Savera, Ankur Tewari, Sachin–Jigar, Achint, Karan Kanchan & Rashmeet Kaur  Starring: Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday, Adarsh Gourav, Kalki Koechlin, Anya Singh, Rohan Gurbaxani, Rahul Vohra, Vijay Maurya, Divya Jagdale, Garima Yagnik, Kashyap Kapoor, Roshmin Mehandru, Mahathi Ramesh, Kat Kristan & others Sp. App.: Malaika Arora, Farhan Akhtar & Sapan Verma



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