In a poignant moment within Arjun Varain Singh’s “Kho Gaye Hum Kahan,” Ananya Panday’s Aahana expresses, “We are so obsessed staring at the screen these days that we didn’t realize life has gone past us.” Striking a chord with many, the unique guilty pleasure of voyeurism often prevents us from taking a step that could potentially save our souls. This is the resounding message conveyed as three best friends (Ananya Panday, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Adarsh Gourav) navigate ambition, love, heartbreak, and abuse in their digitally manipulative world.
This cinematic venture comes 22 years after Farhan Akhtar’s directorial debut, “Dil Chahta Hai,” which revolutionized Hindi cinema storytelling, injecting the much-needed element of cool. The film portrayed three friends (Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Akshaye Khanna) as wholesome characters, setting a new benchmark in portraying friendships in Bollywood, moving away from the romanticized “yaari dosti” with elements of sacrifice and undying loyalty.
In 2011, Zoya Akhtar’s “Zindagi Milega Na Doobara” depicted three friends on a road trip dealing with burnout, emotional baggage, and unresolved issues. Despite having distinct styles, both Akhtar siblings aim to create good cinema, build bridges, and form a community of storytellers.
Arjun Varian Singh, who was AD on Gully Boy makes his directorial debut with Netflix’s “Kho Gaye Hum Khan.” The film takes a raw and hard look at Gen Z’s mindset, exploring the constant thirst for validation and instant success often manipulated by data and online algorithms.
How “Kho Gaye Hum Kahan” Came into Being with Ananya, Siddhant, and Adarsh?
Arjun V Singh stated, “I am part of the generation, but to have Zoya and Reema look at our generation from the outside gives it a very nuanced perspective. The germ of the idea came through discussions while I was working with Zoya. We were talking about the differences between my generation and hers, and that conversation evolved into Zoya suggesting a movie about my generation and the way we operate. Regarding casting, each actor landed their parts so well, bringing much of themselves, making it look effortless, although they put in a lot of hard work into each character.”
Describing his experience working with Zoya, Singh added, “She is pretty chilled. I admire her ability to find empathy in people, characters, and stories. Reema, I admire her focus, dedication, and ability to analyze things.”
Social Media Followers and Auditions
The film delves into the world of influencers, highlighting how the number of subscribers is directly proportional to one’s influence. While some aspiring actors believe their social currency determines audition opportunities, Zoya Akhtar disagrees, stating, “I have never cast somebody because of social media following. I don’t see casting directors or my filmmaker friends operating like that. It’s difficult, and I think it’s a very personal choice. What is important is to keep honing your craft to get roles that resonate, working with good filmmakers, which is more important than how many likes you have on a post.”
Gen Z Wants Their Stories Told
From “Mismatched” to “Class” to “Friday Night Plan,” and now “Kho Gaye Hum Kahan,” Netflix’s slate includes diverse subjects catering to the youth. Ruchikaa Kapoor Sheikh, Director of Original Films at Netflix, states, “We’re talking to the audiences more now than ever. They want to see a little bit of themselves in what they’re watching. We just understood that’s an audience looking at us to tell their stories authentically.”
Gear Up for Don 3
Farhan Akhtar, who has been absent from the director’s chair for a while, reveals, “I will be directing ‘Don 3,’ which we recently announced with Ranveer Singh.”