Khoobsurat is a contemporary take on a (fairy)tale as old as time – girl meets boy, girl thinks he’s a frog and boy thinks she’s insufferable, girl kisses (engaged!) frog and turns him into the prince of her dreams. Khoobsurat with its share of candy floss romance with just the right tadka of royalty has a lot going for it. The best part about the movie is that it portrays the tale in a simple way without making things look exaggerated and stays true to its genre. Even though, over the top Milli (Sonam Kapoor) widely touted as royal misfit in the promos, runs the danger of turning loud, but with fair degree of directorial restraint and whole lot of effortless effort on Sonam's part, this Milli manages to be an aafat alright, but a delightful one. Disney's Khoobsurat takes you in to the lives and luxuries of Rajasthani princely states. Through the story of a quintessential Delhi girl's tryst with a prince and his family, you too can roam the vast expanses of pure luxury. Experience the old world charm of an India mostly reserved for tourist brochures. And you can soak in all the opulence with a charming young adult romance. Yes, the film is predictable, and recycles well known rom com and fairytale tropes, but the packaging is in such shiny and colorful paper that one is enthusiastic to unwrap it and see what lies in store. The result is a film that is surprisingly layered and feel-good in every sense of the word.
STORY & SCREENPLAY :: The screenplay for the original story that was written by D.N.Mukerjee has been penned down by Indira Bisht who has given it a new premise but has ably maintained the essence of the cult. The new Khoobsurat is like a rainbow puked all over the old Khubsoorat on its Disneyland vacation in Rajasthan. If old Khubsoorat was about the clash of lifestyles between two families, the new Khoobsurat is more about the young couple’s love story. The most lovable part of the movie is its well etched characters. Behind their happy-hello-how-are-you smiles, both Mili and Vikram whisper through their teeth and greet each other with tags like, “khadoos” and “aafat.” The chemistry between the lead pair is so adorable that you will find yourself going ‘aww’ at their romance (or even feel your heart turn gooey. The film starts off with the introduction of a professional physiotherapist Mili Chakravarthy (Sonam Kapoor) who is in charge of treating the players of IPL's Kolkata Knight Riders' team, an 'achievement' that qualifies to get her a suitable match, according to her typical Punjabi mother Manju Chakravarthy (Kirron Kher). Due to the inability of Mili's colleague to go to the royal house, Mili fills in for him to treat the King of the palace. Right from the word go, the very vocally outspoken Mili finds herself to be a 'royal misfit' in the royal palace of Sambhalgarh, which is 'manned' by the lady of the house, Queen Nirmala Devi Rathore (Ratna Pathak Shah). Nirmala's life revolves around her family members which consists of her husband Shekhar Rathore (Aamir Raza Hussain), son Vikram Rathore (Fawad Khan), and daughter Divya. In due course of treating Shekhar, Mili realizes that there's more than what meets the eye. That's when she changes her course of treatment by befriending the King and making his life livelier and fun. Despite the fact that Nirmala and Vikram do not like Mili due to her brash behavior, they gradually come to terms with her after seeing Shekhar respond very positively to her treatments. Despite Vikram being engaged to a royal and rich Kiara (Aditi Rao Hydari), he starts liking Mili, even though being aware that there is nothing similar in them! By now, Mili also starts nurturing similar feelings for him, but refrains from confessing as she learns about Vikram's engagement with Kiara. Will Vikram choose Mili over Kiara as his life partner and does Mili succeed in treating Shekhar? And above all, will Mili manage to melt Nirmala Devi's toughened heart is what forms the rest of the film's story.
STARCAST :: Full marks must be given to the casting director i.e. Nalini Rathnam as she has chosen the the right starcast who have made the characters look believable which is a big strength of the movie. We all agree that Sonam Kapoor is no Rekha but in this modern day version of Khoobsurat she has played the character of Milli with aplomb and virtually wins you over. She has an undeniable star presence and a gorgeous, infectious smile and that works well for her in the film. She gets to play an author backed role here and has completely justified her character by playing it to perfection. Coming to Fawad, the debutante actor knows his craft and given the space he is allowed in a women-centric film, he has shone brightly. He’s bang on as the emotionally-unavailable, brooding prince. He’s a man of few words and his acting is as sharp as his tailored suits. There’s no over-the-top melodrama and we buy into his royal, ruthless act. I have to add that apart from the lead actors Khoobsurat wouldn’t have been half as entertaining had it not been for Ratna Pathak Shah and Kirron Kher. As the two polar opposite mommies, these veterans have not so surprisingly given solid performances. Kirron Kher might have played the loud mouthed Punjabi Mom for the umpteenth time but she still manages to raise lotta guffaws with her witty dialogues and bring smile to your face. Ratna Pathak Shah looks every inch the strict, commanding and disciplined Queen of the royal Rathore family. Aamir Raza Hussain's performance as the wheel chair ridden King is impeccable and how i wish we could have seen more of him in the movie.
TECHNICAL FINESSE :: The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Sneha Khanwalkar which is a virtual treat for the music lovers. She has put in a coterie of numbers of all genres which include peppy numbers like Engine Ki Seeti, Maa Ka Phone as well as soulful songs like Naina and Preet. The cinematographer of the movie is Tushar Kanti Ray whose lens has captured some lovely, unfussy images unto the screen. The cinematography is plush and passionate & makes the visuals an occasion for optical enchantment. He has captured both the outdoor locales as well as inner shots with elan. Two more persons who deserve a special mention are Shruti Gupte for her Production Design & Prajakta Ghag for her art direction as they have done their bit with utmost finesse. The movie has been edited by Bakul Matiyani, who although has done a good job but i feel it could have been better. The run-time of the movie is 130 minutes and slightly more crisp editing would have made it more interesting. Director Shashanka Ghosh knows his job well and knows how to tell a story embedding individual scenes with a distinctive personality without straining for effect. It is never easy for a director to spin a narrative which has a clear ending from its first frame. To draw the audience in, he must create a film that is crisp and engaging, peppered with just the right amount of Bollywood kitsch that will entertain for more than two hours which Shashanka has not only done well but also scored Brownie points for the same.
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