'Kya Kehna!' turns 21: Deftly deals with pre-marital, teenage pregnancy
Kundan Shah's Kya Kehna! came out today 21 years ago, and changed the Hindi cinema landscape for good. Starring Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, and Chandrachur Singh, the movie dealt with unwed pregnancies and the social scrutiny that comes along. Despite focusing on a taboo topic, Kya Kehna! was a superhit, skyrocketing the actors to stardom. Here are some facts about the cinematic gem.
At its root, Kya Kehna! was a family drama, establishing the strong bond of the Bakshi family throughout the first half. Mid-way though, bubbly Priya (Zinta), a college student, is forced to mature when she gets pregnant out of wedlock. To make matters worse, her boyfriend Rahul (Khan) refuses to share responsibility. Her family and best friend Ajay (Singh) helps her battle societal shame.
If things went accordingly, Kya Kehna! would have been Zinta's first movie. She started shooting for it in 1997 and the film was set to release in 1998. However, it got delayed, and the shoot went for four years, finally reaching the theaters in 2000. But by then, Zinta's other ventures had already come out. Her debut Dil Se.. and Soldier released in 1998.
Coming to Zinta's co-stars, producer Ramesh Taurani was skeptical about Khan and Singh bringing business. So he focused solely on Zinta in the promotional materials. He even wanted to replace Singh mid-way. The movie was failing to get distributors and makers held Singh's past box-office failures responsible. The Josh actor also had to sign a no-objection certificate before leaving, which he refused to do.
Singh's refusal stalled the shooting for six months. Signs of stretched shooting period were seen in the hairstyles of the male actors. Both Khan and Priya's brothers were seen sporting long/short hair in different sequences of the same scenes. Interestingly, Khan had admitted to hating his haircut in the movie, the very same one that earned him hundreds of fans!
Despite struggling for four years, Kya Kehna! was a blockbuster after its release, a surprise one at that. At the box office, it earned Rs. 22 crore worldwide at that time. Made on a budget of Rs. 4 crore, the numbers translate to massive success.