First Movie Review: Khoobsurat

Does the Sonam Kapoor-Fawad Khan starrer do justice to the 1980 film? Read City 1016's Lokesh Dharmani's review
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First Movie Review: Khoobsurat
A still from Khoobsurat

Director: Shashanka Ghosh

Starring: Sonam Kapoor, Fawad Afzal Khan, Ratna Pathak Shah, Kirron Kher

Rating: 3 stars

Shakira once observed, “Underneath your clothes, there’s a story.” Clearly, she hadn’t met a certain Ms Kapoor who has clothes, many clothes and just clothes that ‘my-daddy-richest’ showcases every now and then in a film or two. I can almost imagine the conversation between the actor daughter and producer papa.

“Dadddddyyy... uummm… I have shopped so much… all my parties fall short to showcase my new wardrobe… what to doooo…”*puppy face*

“Don’t worry beta…” strokes his beard, “Jhakaas, Rhea beta let’s rehash an old classic, watsay?”

So last time it was Jane Austen who twirled like a top in her grave after Aisha’s release. This time it is our very own Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

But Khoobsurat is not a bad film. Okay, let’s just say it wasn’t as offensive. I was sceptical because you don’t touch a Hrishida classic, especially not the one that had memorable performances by Rekha and Dina Pathak, but the film didn’t ruin the old classic so badly. So what’s the difference between the old and new Khoobsurat? In a line, it’s like a rainbow puked all over the old Khubsoorat on its Disneyland vacation in Rajasthan.

Mili (Sonam-Chanel-goes-high-street-Kapoor) is a physiotherapist. That’s established well with deep insightful dialogues like, “Aapki taango mein sensation hainaap theek ho sakte hain.” She comes to the royal family of Rathores and discovers that there is an unsaid, unspoken competition of snobbery --- a grumpy wheelchaired father, a disciplinarian mom, a frustrated daughter and a busy son. And like all good physiotherapists in the world, she gets the royal daddy back on his feet, literally and helps the ambitious daughter realise her dreams, loosens up the uptight her highness and in the process kisses the prince and breaks his engagement with a certain Kiara (Aditi-ab-side-roles-milenge-kya-Rao.)

If old Khubsoorat was about the clash of lifestyles between two families, the new Khoobsurat is more about the young couple’s love story. And hence how the snooty sasu maa has a personality transplant in the end looks slightly superficial and contrived.

But the film doesn’t bore you at any point. If Dil Kabaddi used the technique of ‘talk to the camera’ to reveal the inner battle/confessions of its characters, Khoobsurat has the ‘invisible thought bubble’ technique. Behind their happy-hello-how-are-you smiles, both Mili and Vikram whisper through their teeth and greet each other with tags like, “khadoos” and “aafat.” Full points to director Shashank Ghosh for canning some interesting scenes. For instance, there is a beautiful scene in which Mili and Vikram meet to talk how ‘cool’ they are after their first kiss. The unspoken dialogues (like invisible thought bubbles) reveal how badly shaken up both are under those ‘we-are-cool-unaffected’ facades.

Sonam Kapoor plays the clumsy Mili and manages to impress occasionally but the problem is that she never surrenders to the character completely. The invisible Chanels and Guccis come in the way. She might call her mother with her name and scream “MANNNNJUUUU yaar” but falters at many occasions to play the loud Delhi lass. There is something too petite, too posh about her, even when she crushes papad with her manicured hands or makes gargling sounds when she downs wine. Her acting is much like how she speaks in real life –“Ummm…you know like…ohhh myyyy gawwwdddd….but you know like…like but you know….like…whateva!” Though I must admit she has an undeniable star presence and a gorgeous, infectious smile and that works well for her in the film.

Fawad-SUAVE-Khan is simply FABULOUS! Under his sharp suits and  I-am-ready-for-a-GQ-shoot look, he packs a controlled, underplayed performance as he portrays Vikramaditya Rathore. The man has big, dreamy eyes and makes good use of them on various occasions in the film.

Ratna Pathak Shah tries her best to fill in mommy’s big shoes (Dina Pathak) as she plays Niramala Devi but suffers heavily from the Sarabhai hangover. I could almost see her address Mili as Mooonishaaa and add a ‘that’s too LS’ at the end of her sentences. But she scores high in the climax of the film when she breaks down and bursts into tears.

Kirron Kher, despite her 38963th Punjabi mom performance, does evoke a few hearty laughs but she really needs to discover new characters or newer ways of portraying Punjabi moms. She no longer plays a Punjabi mom these days but cuts, copies and pastes her last Punjabi mom performance that turns these characters into caricatures. Taking a cue from Amrita Singh in 2 States won’t be a bad idea.

Khoobsurat is pretty much like Sonam Kapoor and her collection of bags, clothes and shoes --- feel good, easy, breezy, gorgeous and inoffensive. Watch it once. It won’t hurt.



5 stars: Loved it. (This could make to top ten movies you must watch before you die!) 
4 stars: Liked it. Recommend it. (This will help you sound intellectual and give you stuff to add at water cooler conversations.)
3 stars: Didn’t hurt. Watch it once. 
2 stars: It put me to sleep. Watch it if you are an insomniac or a newly wedded couple. Winks!
1 star: Do I even need to explain this?