Monday, December 10, 2007

Khoya Khoya Chand

I started worshipping Sudhir Misra after watching Hazaaron Khwashishein Aise (HKA). The movie earned him the respect and adulations of a lot of serious movie buffs and if not for HKA, people like me wouldn’t have desperately waited for over a year to watch Khoya Khoya Chand. Sadly, the end product has turned out to dismal.

Hazaaron Khwashishein Aise (HKA) had the perfect storyline- A love story set against the naxal uprising and political turmoil of the 1970s. Kay Kay Menon, Chitrangada Singh and Shiney Ahuja lived their roles and the impeccable screenplay made it a modern classic for people of my generation.

Khoya Khoya Chand (KKC) had all the ingredients of a modern classic: the resplendent backdrop of the 1960 Hindi film industry, characters etched from the life of Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman and Madhubala and wonderful music by Shantanu Moitra .The grave mistake that Sudhir Misra made was casting Soha Ali Khan as the heroine. The incapability of the lead actress is so conspicuous in the movie and Sudhir Misra tries to hide her histrionics through innumerable long shots and clever editing.

Imagine this scene: Soha Ali Khan tells Shiney Ahuja how she was molested at a tender age of fourteen and throughout the scene; she remains as wooden as the old Sherwood tree. Vidya Balan or Chitrangada Singh would have fit the role to a tee and I think that even Rakhi Sawant would have fared better than Soha Ali Khan. The reason for casting Soha Ali would have been her 1960s look (thanks to her mom Sharmila Tagore) and her lineage but she is sadly unable to realize the depth of her role and ends up destroying the movie.

Speaking about Rajat Kapoor, he did a splendid job in Monsoon Wedding and Bheja Fry but he couldn’t do justice to his role of an arrogant superstar in KKC. His body language is out of tune and he doesn’t have the demeanor associated with the stars of the 1960s. Shiney Ahuja does justice to his role and delivers his lines with conviction. In the emotional scenes, he is exemplary but then again Soha Ali Khan fails to perform. Vinay Pathak is brilliant.

The story is a little dragging in the first half but anyone who has followed retro Indian cinema can easily identify with the characters that are trapped in a life of sleaze and deceit. After the interval, Sudhir Misra is totally lost and has no clue how to end the movie. The last half an hour is void of the emotional intensity of the first half and almost like a Karan Johar movie; characters shed their elements of grey and eventually sing and dance with the lead couple.

If HKA was a classic tribute to the student movement of the seventies, KKC is a half baked tribute to the sixties. There is a particular scene in the movie when Shiney Ahuja sits in an almost empty movie hall screening his directorial debut when a film reviewer walks to him and asks how it feels when one’s own movie bombs so miserably in the first week.

Same question to you, Mr. Sudhir Misra.

10 Dec 2007