The film was moderately well received by film critics, with Zinta's performance being highlighted along with the treatment of issues that the story tackles. Kya Kehna won numerous accolades including the Best Story Award for Honey Irani and a nomination for Best Actress for Zinta at the 46th Filmfare Awards among others.
Priya Bakshi (Preity Zinta), the daughter of Gulshan (Anupam Kher) and Rohini Bakshi (Farida Jalal) is a young, fun loving girl. Priya's parents, brothers and best friend, Ajay (Chandrachur Singh) love and support her. Ajay is secretly in love with Priya, and wishes to marry her in the future, hopefully after she finishes her studies.
Priya enters her first year in college, and she catches the eye of wealthy playboy Rahul (Saif Ali Khan) who quickly becomes attracted to her. She succumbs to his charm but Ajay and her brother Vicky are unsure about Rahul. His reputation and womanizing ways worry them, and they warn her to stay away from him. However, Priya believes that Rahul is in love with her, and the two begin a relationship and have sex. Priya convinces her parents to meet Rahul, but when they talk about marriage and the future, he mocks them and leaves Priya. Priya is heartbroken but tries to move on with her life. She later learns that she is pregnant with Rahul's child. Her parents go back to Rahul to talk about marriage once again but to their shock he refuses to marry her, regardless of the pregnancy. Priya is faced with a decision, and she chooses to keep the child. Her decision prompts her father to reluctantly banish her from the house. Alone and neglected, Priya is devastated. Later, however, her family finds it hard to live without her and they bring her back, supporting her during her pregnancy. Her family has accepted her, but now she has to face the society and overcome the disdain of her neighbors and friends. Priya and her family are ostracized and looked down upon. Upon going back to college, she finds out that all of her friends now mock her, and girls prefer to stay away from her due to her 'spoiled' character. During all this time Ajay had been quietly and consistently supporting her, and Priya realized the true love and dedication that he had for her. With his encouragement and with the love for the child she is nurturing in her womb, she makes people realize that she isn't immoral or characterless, but a girl who loved someone immensely. She says that if only she had gotten married, maybe the scenarios would have been different, maybe her child would have been loved and valued, rather than abused and insulted. With these words, she eventually gains the support of those who had earlier disrespected her. Her friends finally accepted her the way they did before and she goes a back to normal life.
After some time, she manages to change Rahul's views as well and he decides to marry her. Priya and her family are celebrating the birth of her baby, when Rahul tries to re-enter her life. Rahul says that he is ready to marry her and raise their child together. At the same time, Ajay also proposed to Priya. Priya, who is in love with Ajay, selects him over Rahul stating that a man like Rahul can never be a reliable husband or father.Preity Zinta as Priya Bakshi
Saif Ali Khan as Rahul Modi
Chandrachur Singh as Ajay
Anupam Kher as Gulshan Bakshi
Farida Jalal as Rohini Bakshi
Puneet Vasishtha as Priya's brother
Nivedita Bhattacharya as Priya's Sister-In-Law
Mamik Singh as Priya's brother
The soundtrack of the film contains 8 songs. The music is conducted by the award-winning composer Rajesh Roshan, with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The title song is a copy of the 1960 song Oh! Carol by Neil Sedaka. According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 20,00,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the year's seventh highest-selling.
The film was a box office success and emerged as one of the highest grossing Bollywood films of 2000, and was declared a "hit" in India.
Vinayak Chakravorty of Hindustan Times gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, writing, "The basic premise of Kya Kehna!, then, definitely had the potential of being a gripping family entertainer. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line you feel as if most people associated with the film somehow lost interest." He noted, however, Preity Zinta as "the bright spot of the film". Aradhika Sekhon of The Tribune wrote, "The movie itself has several flaws but the issues that it tackles are real. The director takes a straight, hard look at the problems of today and holds them up for exhibition. The Indian tendency is to sweep uncomfortable issues under the carpet but if films like Kya Kehna continue to be made, at least, we'll be forced to confront them." Mimmy Jain of The Indian Express, in a positive review, commeded Shah for making "a sensitive film, on a sensitive subject", calling Kya Kehna "a film that should have been made years ago". She further noted Zinta as being "dazzlingly good" in her part.
Filmfare, in a three-star review, wrote that the film is "worth a watch" and attributed its success to Zinta's "very convincing performance". Sharmila Taliculam from Rediff.com was critical of the film, concluding, "Apart from the climax, the film is no big deal."Filmfare Best Story Award - Honey Irani
IIFA Award for Technical Excellence - Best Screenplay - Honey Irani
Sansui Best Actress Award - Preity Zinta