It was screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival. The script received recognition by a number of critics and was invited to be included in the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Maya (Rani Mukerji) is an orphan who is to marry her closest childhood friend Rishi Talwar (Abhishek Bachchan). The two have been raised by Rishi's fun-loving father Samarjit a.k.a. Sam (Amitabh Bachchan). Dev Saran (Shah Rukh Khan) is a successful soccer player in the United States. He lives in New York City with his wife Rhea (Preity Zinta), his son Arjun (Ahsaas Channa) and his mother Kamaljit a.k.a. Kamal (Kirron Kher). Dev encounters Maya moments before she is to marry Rishi. Although Dev and Maya are strangers, they connect instantly and moments after they part, Dev is hit by a car and permanently injures his leg.
Four years later, Dev is now extremely cold hearted because of his inability to play soccer and Rhea's successful career makes him feel inferior to her. Maya too is in a similar situation. She has found that she is infertile and does not feel any love towards Rishi because she believes he is selfish. Dev and Maya witness Sam and Kamal embracing at a flower shop. Sam and Kamal explain that both having lost their spouses, have decided to help one another through their loneliness by means of friendship. Dev and Maya decide to take a break from the stress of their respective relationships. In doing so, they find themselves drawn to one another.
Dev and Maya arrange a dinner for their respective spouses on the occasion of their wedding anniversaries so as to salvage their respective marriages. After returning home from the dinner, Rhea accuses Dev of being jealous of her professional success and also makes Dev realize his failure in being a good father to their son. Rishi expresses frustration at the lack of affection that Maya has shown towards him and resents Maya's inability to have children. Maya arrives at the train station and finds Dev, who after a confrontation finally confesses that he has fallen in love with Maya, and so has she.
The two couples attend a ballet, where Dev and Maya try making each other jealous by showing affection to their partners. The next day, they realize that they have been playing with their spouses' feelings but nevertheless give in to their love and cross the forbidden limit by sleeping together.
Dev and Maya are caught in an embrace outside the train station by Sam and Kamal. Sam has a heart attack. On his deathbed he advises Maya to leave Rishi as she was depriving Rishi and herself of true love and happiness in life. After Sam's death, Dev and Maya decide they must end their relationship and go back to their respective spouses, but first they must tell them the truth about their extramarital affair. Shocked and heart-broken, Rhea and Rishi divorce their spouses. Dev and Maya lie to each other and say that they have managed to sort things out with their spouses, believing they'll never meet again.
Three years have passed since their last encounter with each other. Rishi visits Maya and says that he has fallen in love again and is remarrying. Rhea, having also been invited, arrives at Rishi's wedding with her boss Jay (Arjun Rampal), whom she is now dating. Rhea learns that Rishi and Maya are divorced – Rishi learns the same about Dev and Rhea. Rhea, after confronting Maya tells her that she had left Dev as soon as she came to know of his affair with her. Maya is encouraged by Rishi and Rhea to stop Dev, who is leaving for Toronto by train. At the train station, Dev sees Maya but tries to avoid her, believing she is still with Rishi. Maya sees him just as the train leaves. Dev, having seen Maya's teary eyes, pulls the emergency brake and arrives back at the station. He makes it back before Maya leaves the train station. They finally find happiness with their true love and decide to start a new life together.Shah Rukh Khan as Dev Saran
Amitabh Bachchan as Samarjit "Sam" Talwar
Kirron Kher as Kamaljit "Kamal" Saran
Kajol in Rock n Roll Soniye
Abhishek Bachchan as Rishi Talwar
Rani Mukerji as Maya Talwar
Preity Zinta as Rhea Saran
Ahsaas Channa as Arjun Saran, Dev and Rhea's son
Arjun Rampal as Jai, Rhea's boss
John Abraham as DJ in the song "Where's The Party Tonight?"
Riteish Deshmukh as Mr. Narang, Maya's boss
Karan Johar as Train passenger in a special appearance
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was directed and written by Karan Johar who collaborated with Shibani Bathija to write the screenplay, and Niranjan Iyengar produced the dialogue. Produced by Dharma Productions, the soundtrack was performed by the musical trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy with lyrics written by Javed Akhtar. Farah Khan was brought in to organise the choreographical aspects of the film, with costume designer Manish Malhotra, production designer Sharmishta Roy and MAC cosmetics all playing a major role in production.
Kajol was initially offered the role of Maya Talwar. When she refused, due to her prior commitments with Yash Raj Films's Fanaa, the role was passed on to her cousin Rani Mukerji, who was supposed to play Preity Zinta's part. However, Kajol made a guest appearance in the song "Rock 'N' Roll Soniye". Riteish Deshmukh also had a guest appearance, but his scene was cut during the editing process.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is set in New York City, while many of the scenes were filmed in East Hartford and New Haven in Connecticut. The soccer game scene was filmed at Rentschler Field, the home of the UConn Huskies football team. In several scenes, a light 'UConn' can be seen on the field. The majority of the Grand Central Station scenes were filmed at New Haven's Union Station and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. It was filmed over a 90-day shooting period in the USA but a few scenes were shot on four large sets in Mumbai studios.
Like previous Karan Johar movies (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... and Kal Ho Naa Ho), Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna has a four-word title that starts with a "K".
The music and score of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy while the lyrics were penned by Javed Akhtar and the soundtrack was released on 16 June 2006 by Sony BMG in India.
This is the second time that lyricist Javed Akhtar and the composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have teamed up for a Dharma production. The title song Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna rendered by Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik is a tear jerker. Mitwa, an evocative sufi rock ballad, marked the introduction of Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali into the Bollywood scene. Rock 'N' Roll Soniye, picturized on Amitabh, Abhishek and Preity is a 60's Rock 'N' Roll track, sung by Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan and Mahalakshmi Iyer. Then follows Tumhi Dekho Naa, a soft and romantic ballad, which again is sung by the Sonu Nigam - Alka Yagnik duo, is picturised on Shah Rukh and Rani. Where's The Party Tonight? by Shaan, Vasundhara Das, Loy and Shankar Mahadevan is the club song picturized on Abhishek and Preity. Farewell Trance is the trance version of the title track, which is a rarity in Bollywood. The album also has a remix - Mitwa - Revisted. The soundtrack ends with a sad version of the title track, "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - Sad Version" which speaks of destiny, meeting again in life and never saying good bye.
The trio took care to not make the album sound repetitive, especially since the overall genre of the soundtrack is similar to that of their previous chartbuster Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003).
The music of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was launched in the United Kingdom on 12 June 2006 and was officially released in India on 16 June 2006 along with a grand music launch at the IIFA Awards function in Dubai.
Though there were a few negative buzz around earlier at London where the music released, the overall reaction to the album was positive from all the mainstream critics. Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama dismissed those initial negative reaction, saying "Much before the official release of the music album of KANK, rumour brigade has been having a field day in pulling down the album. Well, that's not something new as with every biggie comes its share of detractors. But on hearing the songs for yourself, you realize that is it NOTHING, but a rumour! The album is yet another fine product from the team that delivers the kind of path-breaking music expected from it." Sukanya Verma of Rediff called the album " a treat for the melody-starved.".
The album opened at #1 and retained the top position in the music charts for ten straight weeks, despite facing tough competition from musical hits like Fanaa, Krrish and Gangster. According to the figures from BoxOffice India, the album sold over 1,900,000 copies in India making it the second best selling album of the year, marginally behind Dhoom 2.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, with a multi-star cast, premiered on 12 August 2006 and was screened in over 1,200 cinemas worldwide.
According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) originally gave the film an R rating because of language and some sexual content. It was re-rated PG-13 on appeal.
On its release, the film received positive reviews from critics worldwide.
Critic Taran Adarsh described the subject matter as a delicate one which could have easily been disastrous and praised the way in which director Karan Johar boldly constructed the film, citing it as his finest work to date. Adarsh approved in particular of the script and the devices the director incorporated to contrast emotions between scenes, remarking that, "the screenplay balances the two extremes; light moments and dollops of emotions with amazing ease". The individual cast performances were also praised by Adarsh, who commented on the effectiveness of the casting and the interaction of the actors.
Rajeev Masand gave the film 4 out of 5 stars praising the screenplay and Johar's direction, saying "Few writers have such solid control over their screenplay as Karan Johar does. Few understand the intricacies of narrative as well as he does. Johar goes from highs to lows, from plateaus to peaks with the ease of a pro. He knows exactly how to turn a seemingly ordinary scene into something special with just that one line of dialogue, or that hint of background music."
Derek Elley of Variety also praised the diversity of emotions displayed by the cast, remarking that, "scripter Shibani Bathija never lets her characters inhabit a secure emotional place for very long, and impediments to happiness come from their own weaknesses rather than social constraints or plot-generated misunderstandings". Elley noted Amitabh Bachchan's performance as an ageing lothario and praised Preity Zinta as "stepping far beyond her makeup".
Raja Sen of rediff.com was particularly critical of the film, also expressing dissatisfaction with its length. He remarked, "I feel older. A showing of Karan Johar's mammoth 22-reel Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna has left me unbelievably exhausted. I walked out of the hall feeling my cheeks for stubble, wondering if my clothes are suddenly dated and my hair's turned grey. I've lost a sizeable chunk of my life, and you will too". Unlike other critics, he identified flaws in the script and criticised the strength of characters saying "The characters are cardboard, the setting is glitzy, the songs are tiresome, and the story oscillates between high melodrama and slapstick hilarity, going nowhere. Rarely has a weak script relied so completely on pretty people with big names to carry every line through".
In the United States, the film received a number of positive reviews.
Critics such as Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times emphasised the larger-than-life nature of the film, remarking that, "It is full of big Bollywood stars and outsized everything: the rainstorms are a little rainier than real life; the wind machines are cranked up an extra notch; the close-ups get closer and linger longer than usual; the coincidences that drive the plot are a little more numerous and unlikely than normal screenwriting allows". He praised the humour in the script and the director's comic timing in certain scenes such as the children's soccer match, the bed store, and at the ballet show.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna saw a record opening at many cities in India and generated ₹ 600 million in the first week itself, although it is currently Johar's lowest-grossing film according to net collections, even if unadjusted for inflation. It emerged the highest grosser worldwide for an Indian film, surpassing Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham's five-year-old record. The film is currently the seventh highest grosser overseas with a total gross of $10 million.
It opened strongly in the United States and the United Kingdom with first weekend grosses of $1.3 million in the U.S and $1.4 million (£750,000) in the UK
In total Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna collected US$3,275,444 in the United States while in UK it netted over £5,079,688.00. In the US, one factor contributing to its success was the fact it debuted in 64 theatres, unusually high for a Bollywood film in cities with lower Indian populations such as Miami, Tampa, and Raleigh as well.
The film's total worldwide gross is of ₹ 1.13 billion.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna received a number of awards and a high number of nominations.
At the Filmfare Awards in 2007, Abhishek Bachchan won the Best Supporting Actor award. It was nominated for 11 other awards, including Filmfare Best Film Award, Best Director (Karan Johar), Best Actor (Shah Rukh Khan), Best Actress (Rani Mukerji), Best Supporting Actor (Amitabh Bachchan), Best Supporting Actress (Preity Zinta), Best Supporting Actress (Kirron Kher), Best Music Director (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy), Best Lyrics (Javed Akhtar for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna") Best Male Playback (Sonu Nigam for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna") and Best Female Playback (Alka Yagnik for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna").
At the Global Indian Film Awards in 2006, the film won two awards, with Abhishek Bachchan garnering an award for Best Supporting Actor and Alka Yagnik winning Best Female Playback for the song "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna". Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was nominated for 13 other awards including Best Film, Best Director (Karan Johar), Best Actor (Shah Rukh Khan), Best Actress (Rani Mukerji), Best Supporting Actor (Amitabh Bachchan), Best Supporting Actress (Preity Zinta), Best Supporting Actress (Kirron Kher), Best Music Director (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy), Best Male Playback (Shafqat Amanat Ali for "Mitwa" and Sonu Nigam for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna") and Best Choreographer (Farah Khan for "Where's The Party Tonight?").
At the IIFA Awards in 2007, Rani Mukerji won her third consecutive IIFA Best Actress Award. The film was nominated for 11 other awards including Best Movie, Best Director (Karan Johar), Best Actor (Shah Rukh Khan), Best Supporting Actor (Abhishek Bachchan), Best Supporting Actor (Amitabh Bachchan), Best Supporting Actress (Preity Zinta), Best Supporting Actress (Kirron Kher), Best Music Director (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy), Best Lyricist (Javed Akhtar for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna"), Best Male Playback (Sonu Nigam for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna") and Best Female Playback (Alka Yagnik for "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna").
At the Stardust Awards in 2007, Abhishek Bachchan won a further award for Best Supporting Actor and the film was nominated for 7 other awards including the Film of the Year, Stardust Dream Director Award (Karan Johar), Star of the Year – Male (Shah Rukh Khan), Star of the Year – Female (Rani Mukerji), Best Supporting Actor (Amitabh Bachchan) and Preity Zinta and Kirron Kher both receiving nominations for the Best Supporting Actress .
Zinta won the award in this category at the AIFA Awards, with Abhishek Bachchan scooping another award for Best Supporting Actor and Javed Akhtar winning the award for Best Lyricist for "Mitwa".
At the Star Screen Awards in 2007, Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji won the Star Screen Award Jodi No. 1 whilst Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan receiving nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Preity Zinta and Kirron Kher receiving nominations for Best Supporting Actress.