Kho Gaye Hum Kahan Brilliantly Explores Pitfalls Of A Social Media Driven Gen Z Era

Kho Gaye Hum Kaha, as the title of the film suggests, shows how lost we have become as a generation; so entrapped in the world of filters that we have lost touch with our real selves.

Kho Gaye Hum Kahan written by Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti and directed by Arjun Varain Singh delves deep into the Gen Z world’s obsession with social media, a virtual world that now plays a pivotal role in shaping our identity. A make-believe world that has now become the prime agency of our emotions and mental health.

*Spoilers Alert*

The film revolves around three childhood best friends—Imaad, Ahana, and Neil— hailing from affluent families based in South Bombay and are inseparable from each other. The three of them grows up together in a world dominated by social media and are active social media users. Imaad is a stand-up comedian who is a tinder addict and has severe commitment issues due to a traumatic event in the past; Ahana is a corporate consultant who turns into a paranoid stalker, stalking her ex-boyfriend Rohan after he indirectly dumps her, asking for a break while simultaneously dating someone else; and Neil is a gym trainer who aspires to open his own gym and compares himself with successful personal trainers on social media. All three of them struggle to deal with their angst while finding refuge in social media, which proves to be detrimental as it only fuels their angst instead of receding it.

The thin line between joke and humiliation is blurred in the age of meme culture. Once Imaad, in one of his stand-up comedy shows, cracks jokes about his best friend Neil’s superficial relationship with Lala, it creates a rift in their friendship, acting as a major hindrance to their dream project of opening up a gym together. Though Ahana tries to be a mediator, breaking the boundaries that separated two childhood friends, she fails as they both firmly hold onto their male egos.

Pitfalls of unrelenting social media

The world of social media is dazzling, but the validation it provides comes with a cost—the cost of one’s valuable time. It’s a strategy that keeps its users absorbed in it to such an extent that their existence becomes inextricably linked to social media, and its absence starts piercing them, creating a void.

The film depicts how gradually Imaad, Ahana, and Neil’s lives are inexorably determined by their social media handles. Ahana goes out of her way posting alluring pictures of herself to win back her long-term boyfriend’s attention, but even after successfully managing to do so, she gets used by him. Imaad, even after finally coming across a photographer, Simran, with whom he develops an intimacy, loses it all because of his tinder obsession, while Neil, after discovering that his influencer girlfriend Lala has cheated on him, confronts her and loses his job when she files a complaint against him. Enraged, Neil then bent upon hacking Lala’s Instagram account and made several posts exposing her as fake.

A ‘lost’ generation?

Kho Gaye Hum Kaha, as the title of the film suggests, shows how lost we have become as a generation; we don’t anymore know who we are; we have become so entrapped in the world of filters that we have lost touch with our real selves. Expressing emotions is now seen as uncool and can label someone as a crybaby, whereas venting out emotions through partying and boozing is considered trendy and cool nowadays.

Proper communication itself has become a challenge, ironically, in the age of social media, when it’s the easiest, but the film offers self-realisation and reconciliation between its characters at such a stage when three of them needed each other the most, and it’s a heartwarming moment to witness.

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While Imaad, Ahana, and Neil, after undergoing a series of self-explorations, make their own attempts to rectify their mistakes and mend the situations, Kho Gaye Hum Kahan feels like Dil Chahta Hai revived and placed in a digital age, yet the film explicates the importance of emotions and how emotions and feelings should never be taken for granted.

Living life through screens

We look at ourselves so much through screens that we tend to forget and embrace our real, unfiltered selves. We are so lost in keeping our social media handles updated with our every success and failure that we miss out on the happiness and peace that comes with the celebration or sharing of our achievements and failures with our loved ones. We have become so intensely invested in the virtual world that we forget to bask in the moments of the real world. In an era where the youth can’t distinguish between ‘need’ and ‘want’, the film leads us to reflect on the detachment between our real self and the virtual self, encouraging us to face our fears, feelings instead of concealing them under the facade of social media, the makers of the film most importantly implores us to reduce our usage and dependence on social media.

Imagine waking up to a morning without any quest of peeping into the events of others lives, which usually leaves one anxious, making one question their self-worth. Imagine having healthy face-to-face conversations instead of exchanging emoticons and reels. Imagine a day without cell phones, social media, alert tones of notifications, and spending quality time with people who matter while capturing memories through the eyes of the mind. It would be a wholesome moment for the world and its inhabitants.

Social media should be dependent on us; we shouldn’t be dependent on social media and it’s high time we realize this and actively participate in social media detox.

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Srilekha Mitra

An overthinking cinephile who occasionally seeks refuge in poetry. Words are her antidote on bad days. read more...

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