Movie Review: Khoobsurat

September 19, 2014

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

If you are looking for a modern version of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s much-loved film of the same name, then Shashanka Ghosh’s “Khoobsurat” may disappoint you.

Mukherjee’s film was centred on Manju (incidentally the name of the main character’s mother in the remake), a rather effervescent heroine who steamrolls her way to everything and takes it upon herself to change the lives of a rather dull family.

Ghosh’s film takes the same premise, but not the middle-class milieu that was the hallmark of Mukherjee’s film. Instead, there are opulent palaces, kings, queens, and even the supposedly middle-class people dust their houses wearing designer outfits and artisan jewellery.

“Khoobsurat” doesn’t set out to be anything more than a candy-floss romance, and to its credit, stays true to its genre. It’s a straight and simple girl-meets-prince-of-her-dreams love story.

The girl in question is Mili Chakravarty, a scatterbrained and rather annoying physiotherapist, who thinks it’s OK to address someone she met five minutes ago by a pet name. She interrupts conversations at will, offers unwanted advice and calls her mother by her first name.

Asked to help the head of an erstwhile princely estate recover from a bad accident, she ends up falling in love with his son (Pakistani actor Fawad Khan). She also helps the family get over a rather painful incident in the past, and encourages the daughter of the house to “follow her dreams”.

The problem isn’t so much with the premise of “Khoobsurat” – the main character is the weakest aspect of this enterprise. Sonam Kapoor as Mili is loud and exasperating, rather than the vivacious, klutzy do-gooder she is portrayed as. She is perfectly made up and her styling is edgy and fun, but when it comes to acting, she falls woefully short and is unable to generate any sympathy for her character.

Also, her chemistry with Fawad Khan is practically non-existent. Even in scenes where they profess their love, the dialogue comes across as insincere. Khan plays his part well and is restrained as Vikram Singh Rathore, the rather reticent prince who falls for Mili. Of the rest, Ratna Pathak Shah is pitch-perfect as the haughty and rather alarmed queen who has to deal with Mili and her antics. The best lines in the film, however, go to Kirron Kher, who even though she plays the loud, overbearing Punjabi mother for the millionth time, makes you laugh.

“Khoobsurat” is a harmless film, one that doesn’t say much and doesn’t have much to offer in terms of a cinematic experience, but doesn’t scar you for life either. If you don’t mind a bit of shallow romance, and pretty people falling in love, this might be the film for you.

(Follow Shilpa on Twitter at @shilpajay. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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