‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ Netflix Review: A Sluggish Tale Of A Social Media-Obsessed Generation

Kho Gaye Hum Kahan could be loosely translated to ‘Where have we gotten ourselves lost’. The title of the movie is an ideal ode to a generation that seems to have lost a sense of purpose, as stated by one of the characters in the movie. Arjun Varain Singh’s Netflix film explore the lives of three best friends living in the bustling city of Mumbai who are going through a crisis of their own and resort to social media for some temporary relief. Excel Entertainment and Tiger Baby Films have released slice-of-life and coming-of-age dramas that leave a lasting impression on the audience. Lakshya, Rock On, Gully Boy, and Eternally Confused and Eager for Love are some examples of the kind of content these two production houses run by Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani, Zoya Akhtar, and Reema Kagti have put out. Kho Gaye Hum Kahan was released as a Netflix original that was released on the streaming platform on December 26, 2023.

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This two-hour-long movie is the tale of three friends who have remained tightly knit since their school days. Ahana, Neil, and Imaad have been best friends despite the financial changes they have all gone through. Imaad is a stand-up comedian with intimacy issues, while Neil went from being a gym instructor and a personal trainer assigned to work with a popular social media influencer. Neil is insecure about his job, lack of money, and the fact that he still lives with his parents. Ahana is the most successful member of the lot who pursued an MBA and grabbed a top job in the city. She lives with her boyfriend Rohan and her best friend Imaad. It is Ahana’s money that got her and Imaad a decent apartment, and they live as roommates. The trajectory of all their lives takes a turn when Imaad’s habit of hooking up through the dating apps is broken when he goes on an actual date with Simran, a woman he met through it. Neil has an affair with his client, the social media influencer, but his fondness turns into possessiveness and jealousy. Rohan breaks up with Ahana and walks away for some vague reasons. The young woman takes it upon herself to stalk Rohan on several social media platforms and speculate who he might be dating next. The three friends eventually spiral and refuse to budge away from the fact that there could be a problem with their way of tackling their issues. Does Ahana get her closure? Was Neil able to get over his obsession, which he mistook for love? Would Imaad finally find a person he could commit to?

The runtime of the movie could be a hamper. A lot is said in this two-hour-long film. Many scenes might have been better left behind on the editing table to make the narrative tight. The main plot of the film is essentially forgotten halfway through the film. The director Arjun Varain Singh and the writers Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti stretched the main plot instead of making it concise. They should have worked around the subject of why this generation is seeking validation from strangers online and refusing to work on themselves the right way. The basic plot of the movie took many twists and turns without giving any depth to any of the three leads. There was no definite arc given to them to explore their dark side or portray them as characters with multiple shades. Neil, as a gym instructor, was restricted to being the insecure son of his parents. Vijay Maurya’s character here as  Neil’s father could be reminiscent of his role in Gully Boy, who is oblivious to his son’s career ambitions. Writers Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti do not seem to have moved on from the hangover of their 2019 film. It was lazy of them to utilize the same dilemma instead of exploring the psyche of the parents and understanding their legitimate worries.

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Imaad is grappling with intimacy issues when he meets Simran, a woman he might not be afraid of opening up to. A mature woman saving a sinking man from drowning in his pain and misery is a done-and-dusted trope. As writers, this subplot did not provide a sense of maturity. The story in the film is predictable, and there was nothing that could be done to salvage the movie on a screenplay level. Ahana’s subplot in the film is lazily written and executed, as the woman just uploads several photos in search of validation to grab her ex-boyfriend’s attention. Ahana, as a character, had nothing to offer in the bigger scheme of things except the fact that all three of them have a similar fate by the end of the film.

It is the friendship and the chemistry between the three friends that shine through the film, something that is Zoya and Reema’s forte. The love characters carry for each other is undeniable, and the amount of time that was spent to make it feel real needs to be applauded. The writers trying to showcase the perils of social media in the film failed to create a convincing narrative against it. There was nothing new explored in this aspect, which the audience wouldn’t already be aware of. The director and the writer tried to create a Black Mirror kind of toxic atmosphere but failed to do so because of the cliched treatment. Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti failed to bring magic to the screen when it comes to subtly putting forward simple messages through powerful scenes and dialogues. Kho Gaye Hum Kahan rightly portrayed the social media obsession, but beyond that, there were no layers given to this peril to further understand the behavior of the three friends.

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Hindi filmmakers have been struggling to portray stand-up comedians in movies and television shows. The makers should conduct thorough research on the profession instead of portraying it inaccurately. Imaad’s profession was made to look like something for people who downright have no regard for the audience and their feelings, and anything could be passed off as comedy. The entire sequence of a typical falling out happening between friends is a staple in every movie produced by Zoya and Farhan.  There was no end to how predictable the movie had become after a certain juncture in the film.

The direction by Arjun Varain stands out despite a screenplay that loses its charm halfway through. Arjun can get a grip on the narrative from the start until the end, and the direction, to some extent, managed to save the film. There is a sense of melancholy in the film, which is only because of Arjun’s control over the craft. The editing by Nitin Baid is the highlight of the movie. Nitin Baid’s placement of scenes with the use of social media would remind many of Black Mirror and Requiem for a Dream. The jump cuts were brilliant, and they allowed every generation to understand how social media could pull people into their make-believe world as if reality does not exist. The opening credits are also another highlight of the show, which focuses on the friendship and bond created by the three friends. There was a heavy Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa influence in this montage.

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The soothing music, coupled with a techno-pop and rock background score by OAFF and Savera, has to be the highlight of this Netflix original film. A lot of the music gels well with the milieu. The music is another layer of the film that cannot be ignored. The production design by Sally White is exquisite, while many would wonder how young adults like the two can afford an apartment as luxurious as this one.

The performances are the highlight of Kho Gaye Hum Kahan, even though the writing may have let them down. Ananya Pandey is brilliant as the forever-obsessed Ahana, who is trying hard to get the attention of her ex-boyfriend. She is the kind of person who is steadfast about her career but is also willing to go to the extent of stalking her ex-boyfriend relentlessly to get his attention. Even though Imaad’s portrayal of an emotionally stunted character is cliched and predictable, Siddhant Chaturvedi performed with a lot of sensitivity. Neil portrayed by Adarsh Gourav is the most misunderstood character in the movie, just like Sidharth in Dil Chahta Hai. He feels like a misfit amongst his friends and colleagues but is given an arc that could change the course of his life for good.

Kho Gaye Hum Kahan could have been an easy, breezy slice of life with coming-of-age elements that might change the way many in society view the current generation’s evolving lifestyle. Sadly, the movie is a sluggish tale that is saved by good-quality performances.


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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ho Gaye Hum Kahan could have been an easy, breezy slice of life with coming-of-age elements that might change the way many in society view the current generation’s evolving lifestyle.'Kho Gaye Hum Kahan' Netflix Review: A Sluggish Tale Of A Social Media-Obsessed Generation