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Khoya Khoya Chand – A Review December 11, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Bollywood, Criticism, Culture, Entertainment, Films, india, Khoya Khoya Chand, Movies, Personal, Random, Reflections, Reviews, Shiney Ahuja, Soha Ali Khan, Sudhir Mishra, Thoughts, Writing.
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In the season of time travel in Bollywood, Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand, is another tourist. Farah went no-holds-barred, irreverent retro in Om Shanti Om. Sudhir Mishra veers off in a different direction. His eyes are reverent, nostalgic almost awe-inspired. Who isn’t by the pristine, sepia-tinted image of Bollywood when actors, directors, lyricists, composers and other associated technicians had idealism, madness, got drunk, and were unapologetic about leading the life they lead?

KKC is an Insider’s film. Somebody who knows the mores of the industry. The vicarious twists of destiny that an artist is vulnerable to…human and divine. The crest of success and the lows of failure come unattended and the best laid plans are unwoven overnight. Where ambition reigns supreme and compromise is often everybody’s middle name. Where friends and enemies don’t know the definition of either word. Where love is as vacillating as the fortunes at the friday box office.

Mishra knows about all of this. Mishra is also good at something else. History. History and his own place in the space time continuum. He knows the pulse of the time, for sure. Ye Wo Manzil To Nahin and the loss of Nehruvian/Socialist Idealism and Innocence. HKA’s romantic look at the 70’s was a follow up to the darker YWMTN, with a little bit of hope thrown in at the end.

KKC once again locates its story and characters in the Past. A past that is innocent, idyllic, romantic. The characters are all an amalgam of your favourite heroes and heroines from the past. Think Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nargis and many more. The same with the heroes, directors, script writers…your basic mix of all exploited, angst-ridden, mis-understood, man on a mission kind of character whom we love to see, root and clap for but will never become one. Very appealing on the stage or screen.

So we enter the world of Nikhat, Zafar, Khosa the producer, Prem Kumar, Shyamol, Ratan Bala, Nonida etc. We revel in this world…a world where the Bachnalian spirit seems to rule. Where success is the only mantra and men and women, inspite of their good intentions are seduced by their artistic higher-calling, money, security or plain old weaknesses. Such good fodder where all men and women are morally ambivalent, possibly corrupt but in the end they all possess a halo of…being human.

So we go through the gamut of emotions that artists supposedly undergo…elation, rejection, artistic bouts, the search for one’s muse, unresolved grief and unannounced epiphanies. The world in KKC follows a cyclical nature. You love, you lose, you regain love. You give a hit, you make a flop, you are banished and then you are welcome once again. A friend turns into a foe, an enemy and then becomes a friend once again. The large hearted producer becomes a miser, abuses and then again regains his old self. The casanova hero exploits one woman, falls for another, is unfaithful, has a golden heart. Wonderful world of people who are all fallible, human, make mistakes and are therefore identifiable.

So all the characters in KKC are good. The old Bollywood is populated by larger than life characters who wander, waver and then redermption visits them. Everything and everyone is hunky dory in KKC. and Mishra’s world. There are no villains. But so does Ray’s films. So Ray and Mishra are equals in their love for their characters and therefore make great films. Alas, thats not the case and thank god it is not that simplistic.

What is KKC? Is it the search for love? Both Zafar and Nikhat are abandoned…Zafar by his father and Nikhat by her mother. And both know that they are made for each other. The moment they resolve their personal demons of ambition, self-destructive death – wish and selfishness, they would have gained their paradise.

The film ends on an orgiastic high for Nikhat before the tacky card comes and announces that Nikhat died in a years time. So the film, if I understood correctly, was set up for the realization of love between its two main protagonists. Like any good story, the hero and heroine tumble and fall and then realize their catharsis via each other just before its too late.

Nikhat along her journey cries, laughs, acts innocent, manipulative, stands her ground, becomes a drunk, a lover and a mistress. Same with Zafar, her conscience, who takes a beating when ambition comes calling. Both love each other because of the other’s weakness.

Then why does the film fail?

There are a few scenes that makes one smile, wonder, laugh…Rajat Kapoor’s confession that he is a rake and can’t help it. Sonya Jehan teasing Zafar (the only other consistent performer along with Rajat) when he offers Nikhat’s role to her. Saurabh’s ‘Khosa’ in most of his scenes. And yet?


Soha looks pretty. Great styling. Costumes by Miss Anand are thought out. But these are external add-ons. Tulip Joshi was used brilliantly in Matrubhoomi, she had two and a half words or something. Soha here, unfortunately has to speak a million lines. Ironically, in Urdu, which is her mother tongue. And the labour and effort shows. If only she could have accented where it mattered? But she fails and how. Shiney has a different problem.

What you see is Shiney labouring to play the angst – ridden Zafar. Shiney the actor pops up time and again to remind us that ‘hello, here I was thinking about the time my father scolded me when I was in grade 2’ and I am using that emotion to say these lines etc. Shiney is overpowered and defeated by the very technique that great actors use in an almost subliminal manner.

He should have learnt from the other good performers in the film…Rajat, Saurabh and Sonya. But unfortunately the film doesn’t run on their shoulders.

What Mishra ends up is almost like an apology for the film industry? Just like the film industry is populated by semi-corrupt people who are basically all-right and can be your drinking buddies and all is forgiven when the hangover ends, same with the film. Look at it tenderly, kindly and forgive the follies and mistakes and compliment it for the passable, the moderate, the just-about and as industrywallahs say ‘for the effort’.

Will wait fot the next one Mr. Mishra.















1. Kaustav - December 13, 2007

sir a few observations…the film was fast and short,all the people who had come to the theater to see a happy film going by the promos were disappointed and left mid way.How can i get a script that offers an opportunity to fill in songs which are typically bollywoodish was part of the formula, the film was very close to “main zinda hoon” treatment of the female lead.Why is mr misra distancing himself from a hit…all i can say is that he earning a reputation…one more offbeat film and he is done…i say all this because it is funny to watch a film on the first day with 10 people in a seating capacity of 300.

2. astralwicks - December 13, 2007

sirji…yes one more offbeat and he will be gone…but what does he do? hazaron was a surprise to everybody not just the arty ones…probably to sudhir m himself i think…did he anticipate the reaction he got? i have my reservations. that gave him courage to attempt kkc, a bit offbeat, a bit mainstream with actors, songs etc but probably sailing in two boats is indeed difficult. how to balance the pull and tug of the heart and mind? a little compromise here and a little integrity there. something else suffered in the process. probably the cushion of money, a starcast, a guaranteed release etc encumber rather than liberates some creative people. who knows he might function better when under severe pressure. but who wants that?

3. v - December 14, 2007

when i saw “Sanwariya” i had a feeling and the feeling was born again when i saw KKC…
the feeling is:
what happens when a director thinks that he can make a film and pull it just on its design or lets says its garb… and this what happened to Mishra and Bhansali…

it almost seems that Mishra thought that i’ll show the world, i’ll show that Shiney is made by me, i’ll make Soha an actor and blah blah blah…

but unfortunately there was no story and pls it was not a slice of life thing… it was as if there was no script and they just went on shooting the one line idea, while waiting for the script to arrive…

it had nothing to offer… even the songs were typical swanand kirkre brand, laced in diluted leftist spirit…

why such films should be made… i’ve an advice for these kind of directors, they all should become conceptual artists and display their one line idea on a piece of paper and display it in galleries…

4. astralwicks - December 14, 2007

i like the idea of them becoming conceptual artists…a promising alternative career

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