"They thought it was just an accident ... They thought he was dead ... They thought it was over ... Three years ago in an innocent attempt to save a friend's neck six friends started a deadly game of hide and seek, in which, "seek" meant brutal. (eh?)
The game had only one fallout - quilt (sic). Three years later, someone had apparently learnt the truth and the horror was starting again! The friends had come together once again. But this time was it by design or default?
There was just one place to hide - and that was death itself.
Kuch to hai (sic) is all this and more ... A new angled cocktail of seven melodies songs, breathtaking visuals and life like performances(!). The least it does is justifies its name - "KUCH TO HAI"! (sic)
Tushar kapoor (as karan), Eesha deol (as tanya) and new find Natasha (as tashu) star in this romantic - edge of the seat - thriller."
It had to be a case of too-good-to-be-true; surely Bollywood - India's cinematic cheese and tinsel factory - couldn't have produced an all singin', all dancin' slasher movie? Oh, yes it could! The World's first slasher musical. Be afraid, be very afraid.
KUCCH TO HAI is some trip. It kicks off in typically shameless fashion: recreating, practically shot-for-shot, the opening moments of I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (1998), with the Julie James character, Tanya (Esha Deol), walking meekly up to the confessional box only to have her would-be-confessor turn out to be the film's (yet to be introduced) villain, who hisses bad tidings at her. She wakes with a start, it being a nightmare; only for the bad dream to continue in a megamix of slasher movie cliches: hands come crashing through doors, neighbours give her strange looks, and a body falls from the ceiling. Not surprisingly this also turns out to be a nightmare, and Tanya wakes up again, but this time she's at Heathrow airport, waiting for her flight back to New Delhi. In a strange coincidence, her ex-boyfriend, Karan (Tushar Kapoor) (who even looks like an Asian Freddie Prince Jr!), is also on the flight (although, they curiously never see each other). They both soon begin to reminisce ...
Cutting back to a (very American looking) High School/College, Tanya and Karan's blossoming love affair is choreographed to a catchy little number where the whole place explodes into a mass of dancing, leaping cheerleaders replete with pompoms and sheer musical madness. Think GREASE 2 (1982) crossed with FINAL EXAM (1980) (or, if you prefer to keep hold of your sanity, don't).
We're then introduced to the film's villain, Professor Bakshi (Rishi Kapoor), the bushy-eyed, scowling monster, who we know is just plain bad-to-the-bone because: a) all the students and all the teachers are frightened of him; b) there' s rumours that he killed his wife; c) there's a cacophonous, OMEN-esque racket whenever he appears on the screen!
The film then lapses into a mind-bending variation of the usual teen slasher movie hi-jinks, as Karan aims to get Tanya into his arms for Prom Night (yeah, Prom Night!), which culminates in a bizarre kid-napping of the sports coach by his squawking daughter, Dolly, who comments, "You know, I chipped a nail tying Daddy up!". I would explain, but, really, I can't. Honestly!
As we all know, "Everything's all right, on Prom Night!", but, despite the fact that the theme of that year is the 1970's (meaning that everyone is dressed in de-riguer retro slasher movie gear), all hell doesn't break loose (unless you count the song and dance number!). Rather, alone in a dorm, a boy (who's walls are curiously covered in pictures of George Michael and Boyzone!) who, rather unfortunately, discovered something nasty in Professor Bakshi's cellar is despatched by a shadowy figure in a black rain slicker, carrying a small curved machete (in a surprisingly tense chase scene).
Later, the student's death is dismissed as a tragic suicide caused by pre-exam nerves. During the exams Tanya is caught cheating by the dastardly Professor Bakshi, who, surprisingly, doesn't gut her on the spot but mercilessly disqualifies her instead. Karan (who Tanya was protecting) concocts a plan to sneak into the Professor's house and change Tanya's score. On a dark and rainy night he and his friends go to the house but are disturbed by the academic boogeyman; trying to escape they stumble across the dead wife in the cellar. Hotfooting it out of there in a panic they accidentally run down the Professor in their jeep, who's dressed in his peek-a-boo rain slicker. Cue the usual shouting at each other and rapidly made plans, not helped by who appears to be a policeman (but is actually the film's comic relief zany hotel keeper!), who accuses the teens of participating in an illegal Bangra session in the rain! However, the Professor isn't dead, he comes to only to subsequently fall from the side of a cliff. The teens decide he couldn't have survived the fall and, surprise-surprise, decide to take this particular secret to the grave ...
Of course, it won't come as any great surprise that it seems that the evil Professor is not only not dead but is hell bent on revenge. ... In a Gus Van Sant's PSYCHO'like manner Tanya finds herself menaced by an unwanted backseat passenger in a literally shot-for-shot rehash of the petrol station scene in URBAN LEGEND (1998). However, she doesn't lose her head (and there's no Bonnie Tyler either!); she gets confused and goes all Julie James bonkers and decides to leave the country - and a heartbroken Karan, too.
Seemingly, his little peek-a-boo bit of back seat driving was enough to calm Professor Bakshi as all's quiet on the slashing front, but all it takes is a reunion of the friends, 3 years later (where the movie started - are you keeping up?!) for a wedding at a remote and snowbound hotel to change all that ...
What can I say? KUCCH TO HAI is just insane! Admittedly, I haven't seen a huge amount of Bollywood but I'm sure even hardened fans would have to admit that the musical and the slasher movie are strange bedfellows. Of course, the fact that the film grinds to a halt for some cutesy, and seriously cheesy musical numbers (all seven of them!), every 20 minutes, or so, kills any suspense the director manages to generate stone dead. However, it is different - very different, and for that it at least deserves a watch.
The film uses I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (1997) as a template, liberally borrowing from a whole host of other slasher flicks, but at least goes off on a completely different tangent when the action hits the ski lodge, even going so far as to have it's own twist. Of course, HYSTERIANS may tap their feet along to the glitzy musical numbers but they surely want to know about the slasher action, well, when it's going on it's pretty good. KUCCH TO HAI has some pretty suspenseful passages but then, as I've said, there's little chance for them to build up to anything until the singing and dancing finishes, a while after the group become snowbound. There's lots - and I mean lots - of near misses, as potential victims almost come into the clutches of the killer skulking in the shadows. Cheese fans will also appreciate the amicably daft scene where one victim - fleeing the killer - trips and falls in the snow, only to find the killer has managed to hide under that particular patch of snow and rises up to grab them. Quite some luck there!
It's funny that Bollywood isn't so much jumping on the last slasher movie junket as, perhaps, anticipating the next one. Of course, it means that the makers have a veritable magpie's nest of genre flicks to nick the best bits from (as they have done here). KUCCH TO HAI is certainly an experience - and weighing at over 2 hours it's quite some marathon. Give it a whirl, if you can find it, and thrill to the "life like performances".
female:4 / male:3
1) Female body falls from the ceiling (dream sequence)
2) Male garroted
3) Female body found
4) Male killed with mini machete
5) Female killed with mini machete
6) Male found stabbed in stomach
7) Female falls from cliff