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Bollywood / Kal Ho Naa Ho

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A 2003 Bollywood film written and produced (but not directed) by Karan Johar. It is generally considered a good "introductory film" for those new to the genre.

It centers around business student Naina Kapur and her family and friends, all of whom are unhappy... until the outgoing Aman arrives in their neighborhood and takes it upon himself to better their lives. Wacky hijinks, romance, and a healthy dose of angst ensue.

This film provides examples of these tropes:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Naina ends up finding a perfect husband and starting a family, but loses the man she truly loves.
  • Crowd Song: "Pretty Woman," "It's the Time to Disco," and "Maahi Ve" all qualify.
  • Drunken Song: Rohit and Naina bellow the chorus of "It's the Time to Disco" as Aman drags them home from a bar.
  • Family Business: The Kapurs have Cafe New Delhi; the Patels have Dial-A-Dhokla.
  • Final Speech: To quote one movie reviewer, "Madame Bovary has nothing on Aman."
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Subverted. Aman removes Naina's glasses for what he intends to be a Beautiful All Along moment, but it backfires because Naina really is Blind Without 'Em.
    • Naina does eventually get contact lenses, however.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Aman spends his final moments laughing and joking with Rohit.
  • Handsome Lech: Averted with Rohit. His introduction sequence first shows him unsuccessfully trying to flirt with three different women, but it then shows him to be a gentleman, and rather sensitive at that.
  • He's Not My Boyfriend: Inverted. Naina pretends to date Rohit so Aman will leave her alone; however, Aman quickly figures out that they're really just good friends.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Averted. The film establishes that Aman has a heart condition, his heart attack happens during strenuous physical activity, and it's implied that he hasn't been diligent about taking his medication. Upsetting, yes, but hardly shocking.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Aman takes this to an extreme with everybody.
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  • Innocent Innuendo: Rohit gleefully tells Naina that he spent all weekend in bed with "Laila." Cut to Rohit's bedroom, where we see Rohit... and Laila the golden retriever licking his face.
  • The Matchmaker: Aman seems to have made it his life's mission to push Naina and Rohit together.
  • Matchmaker Crush: On the other hand, it quickly becomes clear that while he's busy pushing Naina and Rohit together, Aman has some serious feelings for Naina.
  • Meet Cute: Aman and Naina do this twice. The first time is a Crash-Into Hello, subverted because Naina doesn't see him. The second time, she opens her window to yell at Aman to keep quiet. The two have a silent mini-conversation with their eyes until Naina stomps away, at which point Aman begins the first Crowd Song.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Aman and Rohit, by Kantaben and later Rohit's father. Subverted in that both Aman and Rohit are aware of the misconception.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first half of the film is a light-hearted romantic comedy - then everything goes South as it's suddenly revealed that Aman is dying of an incurable heart condition and can't find a donor.
  • Narrator: Naina. The entire film is a Flashback as she tells the story to her younger sister.
  • Non-Nazi Swastika: Naina and Jennifer paint a swastika in the window of their restaurant - in New York - as part of its revamping. No one comments on this, and the new concept is a huge success.
  • One True Threesome: Emphasized by the fact that Aman and Rohit do not antagonize each other over Naina, and seem to care for each other as well. Aman does not hold a grudge against Rohit for marrying Naina, and would rather see them happy.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Rohit, Aman and Naina.
  • Sad Bollywood Wedding: The bride cries all the way to the altar because she's in love with the dying best man. They get to have a last duet about how much they love each other but have to let go.
  • The Unfavorite: Gia, whose grandmother refuses to accept her for having been born out of wedlock.


Example of: