EXTREMELY GENUINE IN INTENTIONS, ‘KHANDAANI SHAFAKHANA’ MISSES A GOLDEN CHANCE

Rating: 2.5/5
Shilpi Dasgupta’s film aiming to transcend the taboo borders is well placed but isn’t able to cash in

Studies have shown that a significant number of people suffer from sexual disorders but never talk about it. Hats off to the makers for actually making a film on something that’s hush-hush affair. At least in broader terms in society. The film deserves a watch only for this. Khandaani Shafakhana touches a territory that’s right on the border. Addressing the society which largely refers to sexual references as ‘gandi baat‘ linking it to ‘beizzati‘, the film makes a dialogue. But not quite powerful and you’re left right where you were.

PLOT

Baby Bedi (Sonakshi Sinha) is a witty small town Medical Representative in a typical orthodox Punjabi family. She’s laden down with loans and bills, which her meagre income isn’t able to match up. One day, she gets an opportunity to come out of it by selling a ‘sex clinic’ inherited by her maternal uncle Hakim Tarachand (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), who treated patients suffering from a range of sexual problems through Unani medicines. But a strange condition in his will twists things for her and she has to run it for 6 months.

Khandaani Shafakhana, hindi, review, film, 2019
Director Shilpi Dasgupta with Sonakshi Sinha (image source: dainikbhaskar.com)

Read ‘Arjun Patiala’ Movie Review Here

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

Like recent outings with sexual references Vicky Donor, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Badhaai Ho, and Marudhar Express, this one too is targeted to teach you while you are amused. Written by Gautam Mehra, it’s a promising premise whereby a girl is chosen to talk about sex, not just within the closed walls of a house but in the society at a mass level. Thus the film directly works on hitting your mindsets in a dual way.

Early on in the film, you are introduced to a character who’s addressing sexual problems in an effective manner but is banned from his workplace owing to his “uncultured” set of thoughts. At first, you are glad seeing the seriousness of the issue taken up by the makers. But it soon loses the momentum.

Khandaani shafakhana, film, hindi, review, 2019
On sets of the film (image source: bollywoodlife.com)

Where the film suffers is it’s over exaggerated portrayal of comic situations stretching on the run time. You don’t see anything concrete happening in the film after a point. Hence, what is supposed to be the catalyst is only the factor pulling the film down. Not that the story is out of place. The protagonist is doing her bit for the film and also for the society as a whole. She has her struggles where it is also her family that is falling apart. Goo points. But the film suffers at how it is written.

There’s evidently potential in the basic idea. But Dasgupta isn’t able to make it consistent. The film also seems to digress from the issue and the scripting isn’t able to justify the primary thought. All is well in the end and you go all hunky dory but it is too hastened for the actual part. The film otherwise is a slog where the crucial issue never comes forth.

PERFORMANCE

Sonakshi Sinha is bang on. She has primarily two faces in the film. On one hand she has to fight her own family and society, and at times she is outspoken, confident, and ready to give it all for the greater cause. Sinha does wonders in the role.

Varun Sharma as Baby’s nagging brother Bhooshit has been given some fabulously hilarious lines and he lends able support to her sister in the plot. He has a well written character and he puts his best foot forward.

Annu Kapoor brings a sense of maturity in the drama. You like his character as he brings in a decorated set of shades in the character.

Nadira Babbar as Baby’s mother is fantastic and has some extremely enjoyable moments.

Khandaani shafakhana, review, hindi, film, 2019
Scenes from the song Koka (image source: dnaindia.com)

Rapper Badshah who begins his acting stint with this film does reasonably fine with his character. He’s not great, but adds a distinct star value withing the narrative. His character and how he is presented is symbolic of what the issue in the film is touched.

Kulbhushan Kharbanda- the veteran, the seasoned actor makes an everlasting impression with his brief role. Priyanshu Jora is very good as the constant support to the lead.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

The songs by Tanishk Bagchi, Rochak Kohli, Badshah, and Payal Dev don’t add much value to the plot but are okay. Not bad. Background score by Abhishek Nailwal is very good and sets your mood right as per the situations in the film. It’s an intelligent score.

Rishi Punjabi’s cinematography is decent. The colors are vibrant and he has captured the locations and narrow lanes well. The film looks rich in it’s appearance. Production design by Mayur Sharma is also in accordance with the script thus connecting you satisfactorily with the plot, especially Baby’s house and the clinic in particular.

Editing by Dev Rao Jadhav is just fine, nothing to shout about. In fact, the narrative doesn’t offer much scope in terms of transitions.

You do wonder if resorting to comedy is the only way you can talk about topics considered taboo. Seems the tried and tested formula is here to stay for some time. Having said that, it’s the screenplay that ruled and will continue to dominate. This one here misses a chance to be a path breaker only due to some laid back execution.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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