Disney's forthcoming film Khoobsurat, due to release tomorrow, comes with big names tagged to it. For starters, it has Anil Kapoor producing it. And for whatever it's worth, Sonam’s papa seems to have left no stone unturned to ensure the film is chicly produced. Some of the industry’s best-known acting talents (Kirron Kher and Ratna Pathak Shah) will share screen space with Sonam. Even the hero, the freshest and promising Pakistani import into Bollywood, Fawad Khan does have a fan following among girls and its growing.
Yet, despite all these pluses, something doesn’t seem right.
Here’s why.1. The missing stone in the wall called Hrishikesh Mukherjee
With no offense to Shashanka Ghosh, director of the remake, the promos don’t look inviting enough. The setting changes and so does a lot of laden implications. Instead, now we have a story of a free-spirited physiotherapist (Sonam) entering the cloistered world of a former Rajasthani royal, led by the matriarch (Ratna Pathak Shah) who is fastidious and stickler to correctness. Compelling enough? Can’t say.2. Sonam’s no Rekha
Rekha, on the other hand, took to the character in the original, as duck takes to water. As the younger sister visiting her sister’s in-laws, who is unaware of this claustrophobic world where the matriarch rules, Rekha was in her elements. In this world respect isn’t earned, but taken for granted and Rekha’s character presents an alternative. With sensitivity, humour and fun, Rekha’s performance was a complete contrast to her onscreen persona. Small wonder the movie clicked with the audience.3. Relevance of the story today
Cut to 2014. Love and romance is very much the order of the day, at least in urban India. Not that marriages don’t get arranged, but there’s a higher possibility of parents telling their children to find their soul mates instead of expecting them to do the honours. Sex is the open truth – gynacs are more likely to advice young mothers to give their girls a shot of cervical cancer vaccine when still in their teens, for instance. At least, in the homes, the definition of authority has undergone a sea change. The royals, of course, may still be a different ball game but it’s hard to tell.
Rekha’s Khoosurat was intimately personal. The household in which the story unfolds, the manner in the ‘broth cooks’, the way the subject was treated, it all seemed plausible. In Sonam’s Khoosurat, the drama unfolds in a world of old money. At once, it seems a bit distant.4. The support cast
We will soon see Ratna Pathak Shah reprise her mom’s role in this remake. While Ratna’s talent is beyond doubt, whether she’ll make any impact as a crusty middle-aged woman in a rusty old world of Rajasthani royals is anybody’s guess.
Kirron Kher is the surprise addition. As a complete antithesis to Ratna’s character, she fits the bill to the T. But the ‘buts’ remain. Fawad Khan as the new Rakesh Roshan, who plays ‘working in the corporate’ no nonsense son to Ratna, might just pull it off, but as they say, the proof of the pudding lies in eating; we’ll have to wait for the final offering.5. Music, the soul of a romance in India