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|November 25, 1999||
The first thing that strikes you while watching Khoobsurat is a feeling of deja vu. The most obvious comparisons would be Bawaarchi and, more recently, Hero No 1. In short, Khoobsurat builds its base on borrowed ground.
The story revolves around a carefree orphan Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) -- a conman with the proverbial heart of gold -- who intrudes into a parivar along with his dog, Babubhai, pretending to be Sanju Shastri, a door ka rishtedaar. His mission: to win the hearts of the family members and flee with as much money as he can lay his hands on.
Now, why would a nice guy -- which fact cannot be doubted, since he donates huge sums of money to an orphanage -- do such a thing for a few lakhs? Of course, there's a villain (Jogia, played by Paresh Rawal) tucked away somewhere and a little girl who has to be saved from his clutches.
Cut to the family scene. Dadaji and Dadiji (Anjan Srivastav and Farida Jalal), their three sons, played by Om Puri, Ashok Saraf and the late Jatin Kanakia. Two bahus -- Himani Shivpuri and Supriya Sabnis -- and three kids. And there's Shivani (Urmila Matondkar), Om Puri's daughter, whose mother died in childbirth.
The rest of the film is about how Sanju transforms Shivani from Plain Jane to Stunning Lady. And, in the process, unites the rest of the family.
The film does have its moments. The dialogues (by director Sanjay Chhel) are funny in parts. The songs (music: Jatin-Lalit) are strictly okay, and far too many. Switzerland keeps popping up time and again, but the choreography (A Ganesh and Ahmed Khan) is nothing to write home about. And yes, Sanjay Dutt turns singer with Ai Shivani. (Click here to listen to the Dutt)
Urmila comes up with another insipid performance. She shows off her Manish Malhotra creations, mainly in the second half of the film when she undergoes a makeover (Malhotra seems to be suffering from a strong Kuch Kuch Hota Hai hangover here).
Dutt, on the other hand, has done a good job. After his acclaimed performance in Vaastav, this is another role he has carried off with elan. For the first time, he displays a flair for comedy.
The only actor who is a a total misfit is the trusted Om Puri. Agreed, he doesn't have much scope as the harried son and worried father, but his expressions remain the same even in the comic scenes. Johnny Lever puts in a guest appearance while veejay Sophia Haque slips in with the I am a flirt number. Paresh Rawal is good, but his role is too minuscule to make an impact.
Khoobsurat is watchable, even fun,at times, but is too full of cliches to provide wholesome entertainment. Though it shares its name with the 1980s Hrishikesh Mukherjee comedy, it is simply not in the same mould.
Director Chhel needs to be commended for attempting a clean family comedy; sadly, though, his effort is not good enough.
Listen to Ai Shivani
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