Banners: T-Series, Sundial
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Divy
Director: Shilpi Dasgupta
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Varun
Writer: Gautam Mehra
Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Rochak
In the last few years, we have seen a fair share of films that have brought the otherwise hush-hush themes of sexuality to the fore. Old age pregnancy, sperm donation and erectile dysfunction have been refreshingly explored in Hindi cinema, making these otherwise ‘uncomfortable topics’ emerge as dining table conversations. The latest to join the bandwagon could have been Khandaani Shafakhana had
Khandaani Shafakhana begins with the story of Hakim Tarachand who is an important part of the core team at Hindustani Unani Research Centre. His colleagues make him a subject of mockery and ridicule and they condemn him when they come to know that he runs a sex clinic. He is accused of engaging in obscenity and bringing disgrace to the research institute. After his death, his niece, Baby Bedi, is made to carry his legacy forward and run the clinic against the displeasure of her mother. How she fights deeply ingrained societal prejudices and combats all those who are running after buying the old clinic to turn it into a modern building (yawn) forms the crux of the story.
Films that are meant to make a social commentary run the risk of turning overtly preachy. This is exactly what happens to the Shilpi Dasgupta
Writer Gautam Mehra has resorted to the tool of humour to package an otherwise serious topic but his writing falters in several places. Most of the one-liners do not land right. Some of the dialogues are so melodramatic and dated that you will wonder if you have time travelled back to the ‘80s. Khandaani Shafakhana
Cinematography is one of the few strongest links in the film. Cinematographer Rishi Punjabi’s lenses delightfully capture the essence of Hoshiarpur in Punjab. The narrow lanes, the swarming thoroughfare and the petite bungalows nudge you to a charming and quaint world.
The art department of Khandaani Shafakhana
The invigorating background score is so good but it is wasted thanks to dreary writing and direction. In some of the scenes, Abhishek Nailwal’s background score with a staccato-esque effect will rejuvenate you.
One of the biggest flaws of the film is its editing. The first half is extremely stretched out that halfway through it, you will start getting restless. After a point, you will realise that nothing really is happening and the narrative is unreeling in a rather directionless manner. The second half is equally long-drawn and extremely predictable. The film is devoid of surprises and once it ends, you will see that there was nothing to look forward to throughout the narrative.
As sad as this may sound, we wish Baby Bedi’s shafakhana stayed locked up for a little longer while. Khandaani Shafakhana is a good opportunity gone to waste. The protagonist’s agony fails to tug at your heartstrings and all that is happening seem to be too cosmetic.
Coming to performances, Sonakshi Sinha as Baby Bedi is a delight, especially in the lighter scenes. Varun Sharma’s Bhooshit is not a well-fleshed out character and lacks charm. Rapper Badshah as Gabru Ghatak
Verdict: Give this one a miss!