Kal Ho Naa Ho Movie Review: Kal Ho Naa Ho (transl. There may be no tomorrow), abbreviated as KHNH, is a 2003 Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film directed by Nikhil Advani in his directorial debut. The story was written by Karan Johar, with dialogue by Niranjan Iyengar, and produced by Yash Johar. The film stars Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta, alongside supporting actors Sushma Seth, Reema Lagoo, Lillete Dubey, and Delnaaz Irani. The plot centers around Naina Catherine Kapur (Zinta) and Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan) who fall in love, but a secret prevents Aman from reciprocating his feelings, leading him to set Naina up with her best friend, Rohit Patel (Saif Ali Khan).

The soundtrack and score were composed by Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy in collaboration with Johar. Anil Mehta served as the cinematographer, Manish Malhotra as the costume designer, and Sharmishta Roy as the art director. Principal photography took place in Toronto, New York City, and Mumbai from January to October 2003. The soundtrack was released on 27 September 2003 to positive reviews, with the title song, “It’s The Time To Disco,” “Kuch To Hua Hai,” and “Pretty Woman” receiving particular acclaim.

Kal Ho Naa Ho was released on 28 November 2003, with the promotional tagline, “A Story of a Lifetime … In a Heartbeat.” The film received positive critical feedback and was commercially successful, grossing ₹860.9 million (US$18.8 million), making it the highest-grossing Indian film of the year. The film explores themes of non-resident Indians, inter-caste marriage, and homosexuality through innuendo and homosocial bonding. It won two National Film Awards, eight Filmfare Awards, thirteen International Indian Film Academy Awards, six Producers Guild Film Awards, three Screen Awards, and two Zee Cine Awards in 2004.

Kal Ho Naa Ho Movie Review, Casts, Release, Production - The Celeb Guru


Naina Catherine Kapur is a pessimistic and uptight Punjabi American MBA student living in New York City with her widowed mother Jennifer, who is a Punjabi Christian. They share their home with Naina’s disabled brother Shiv, adopted sister Jia, and paternal grandmother Lajjo, a Punjabi Sikh. Jennifer runs an unsuccessful café with her neighbor, Jaswinder “Jazz” Kapoor. Lajjo is hostile towards Jennifer and Jia, blaming Jia’s adoption for her son’s (Jennifer’s husband and Naina’s father) suicide.

Naina’s best friends are her classmate Rohit Patel, a Gujarati American, and Jaspreet “Sweetu” Kapoor, Jazz’s sister. Naina’s life is dreary and overshadowed by her father’s death until Aman Mathur and his mother move in next door with his uncle, Pritam Chaddha. Aman’s cheerful disposition gradually wins over Naina’s family, and he begins to solve their problems. He suggests transforming the café into an Indian restaurant, which becomes successful and alleviates their financial troubles. Aman encourages Naina to embrace life fully, and she eventually falls in love with him.

Rohit also falls for Naina and seeks Aman’s help to express his feelings. Misunderstanding Naina’s intentions, Rohit believes she reciprocates his love, only to find out she loves Aman. Heartbroken, Rohit informs Aman, who is also devastated by the revelation. Naina visits Aman’s house and discovers a wedding photograph of Aman and his wife, Priya, leaving her heartbroken.

Aman’s mother confronts him, and he admits that he loves Naina but has hidden it because he is dying from a heart condition. He is not married; Priya is his childhood friend and doctor. Determined to ensure Naina’s happiness, Aman decides to bring her and Rohit together, believing Rohit can provide for her better. He devises a plan to deepen Naina and Rohit’s friendship, which eventually blossoms into love. When Naina discovers Aman’s plan, she chastises him, but he confesses his feelings using Rohit’s diary as a cover. Naina forgives both Aman and Rohit.

Rohit proposes to Naina, and she accepts. Meanwhile, Lajjo and Jennifer have a serious argument about Jia, prompting Jia to seek Aman’s help. Aman, aware of the truth about Jia’s parentage, reveals that Jia is the result of Jennifer’s husband’s extramarital affair. Overcome with guilt, Jennifer’s husband committed suicide. Lajjo, realizing her mistakes, reconciles with Jennifer and Jia, bringing Naina closure about her father’s death.

During Naina and Rohit’s engagement, Aman suffers a heart attack and is hospitalized. Naina encounters Priya and her husband Abhay at a jewelry store, learning the truth about Aman. Devastated, she leaves in emotional turmoil. Priya informs Aman, who leaves the hospital to meet a frustrated Rohit. Aman urges Rohit to marry Naina as a dying wish to see her happy. Aman meets Naina, convincing her that he does not love her, and attends her wedding to Rohit.

Shortly after the wedding, Aman is on his deathbed, saying his goodbyes. Alone with Rohit after Naina leaves the room in tears, Aman makes Rohit promise to take care of Naina.

Twenty years later, a middle-aged Naina reflects on how Aman profoundly impacted their lives. She shares her story with a grown-up Jia. Joined by her daughter Rhea and Rohit, Naina and Rohit embrace, reaffirming their love for each other.

Main Casts

Shah Rukh Khan Aman Mathur Preity Zinta Naina Catherine
Saif Ali Khan Rohit Patel Jaya Bachchan Jennifer “Jenny”
Sushma Seth Lajwanti “Lajjo” Reema Lagoo Namrata Mathur


Unhappy with the polarizing response to his 2001 production Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…, Karan Johar decided to create what he described as “a cool film” with “a different energy” from his previous projects. He began working on the script for a film that would later be titled Kal Ho Naa Ho. Initially, the film was to be named Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, but Johar later changed it to Kal Ho Naa Ho, inspired by the song “Aisa Milan Kal Ho Naa Ho” from the 1997 film Hameshaa. He eventually used the former title for his 2006 film.

Around this time, Nikhil Advani, who had served as an assistant director on films such as Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin (1996), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Mohabbatein (2000), and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…, planned to direct a spy thriller set in Kashmir featuring Shah Rukh Khan. Advani sent an initial draft to Johar and his father, Yash Johar, who felt it was too controversial and advised against choosing such a risky subject for his debut film. Karan Johar then suggested the script of Kal Ho Naa Ho to Advani, who agreed to direct the film if he could make it his own way. Johar, preferring not to direct the film himself to avoid repeating past mistakes, agreed.

Although Johar later regretted this decision and considered taking over from Advani, he refrained out of courtesy. Advani believed Johar underestimated himself, thinking he could not “do justice to it.” In an interview with Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com, Advani described Kal Ho Naa Ho as “the story of a family bogged down with many problems” and how one man enters their lives, “solves all their problems, and makes them realize their problems are not as big as they seem.”


Kal Ho Naa Ho was released on 28 November 2003, and was promoted with the tagline, “A Story of a Lifetime … In a Heartbeat.” Its international distribution rights were acquired by Yash Raj Films. The film won the Prix Du Public award at the 2004 Valenciennes Film Festival and was also screened at the Marrakech International Film Festival in 2005.

In December 2003, costumes worn by Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta were auctioned by Fame Adlabs in Mumbai. Additionally, the film’s script was added to the Margaret Herrick Library, the main repository of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, later that month.

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