Khwahish is a waste of time. Forget the script; there is none. What's worse, the chemistry between the lead couple, Mallika Sherawat and Himanshu Malik, is non-existent. The much-hyped 17 kisses come and go before you even realise it.
The film is about Lekha (debutante Mallika), an independent, urban woman, who wants to be seen as an equal to men (though I wonder how many women would like to compared with a bozo like Amar, played by Himanshu). A rich dad's beta, Amar has strong ideologies and seems terrified of his father.
Lekha and Amar are passionately in love, though the passion is more visible on the billboards and promos than in the film.
Till recently, Bollywood has been quite old-fashioned when it comes to kissing. But now, flowers, birds, the sea, and even the setting sun seem outdated. I did not count the number of times Amar and Lekha kissed because way they did it the first time was so morbid, it made me shiver every time they repeated it. They made each kiss look awkward and artificial. On second thoughts, I prefer the flowers.
Amar, horny dude that he is, wants more than a kiss. But Lekha's ideals come into play; premarital sex is a strict no-no. Damn, says the dude. He gets an idea! Why don't they get married? After all, it is legalised sex, eh? The lady says yes! After all, love is what counts.
Enter the fathers. Lekha's dad (Mahamud Babai) seems to have been given strict instructions -- jump like a clown when you see Mallika and behave like a kid stealing chocolates when you see Himanshu. He is a poultry farmer who has lost his wife.
Amar's dad (Shivaji Satam) is a stoic, steadfast, going-by-the-rules man. The role could have been played by anyone and Satam's potential is wasted here. He refuses to agree to the marriage until Amar completes his MBA. Fair enough. But our hero wants to jump into bed first, so he defies his dad, loses out on the riches and marries Lekha.
The wedding ceremony (courtesy the poultry farmer) and honeymoon (courtesy Amar's buddies) over, our couple settle down in a chawl in Mumbai.
Amar resumes studying for his MBA, while Lekha (reverting to the tradition of the woman sacrificing everything for her hubby) takes care of the house and expenses with her meagre earnings from coaching kids in classical music. Amar gets his MBA and a job (if only life were that easy!) and they shift to a flat and buy a car. All's well in their clichéd yuppie life, until boredom settles in six months later.
Lekha wants more time with Amar. Unfortunately, he spends long hours at work (though that does not show on his face). She suggests a party to perk their lives. So they have a party, and then they are back to battling boredom. What next? Why, a baby, of course! Don't babies entertain, bind couples together, blah, blah... (the scriptwriter must be a bachelor who thrives on Mills and Boon romantic novels).
But the star couple cannot have babies and that brings their world crashing down. And the film, which was just about chugging along, crashes with it.
There are quite a few glitches in the film. The most obvious one is Lekha in a hospital room, plugged with a single intravenous drip on top of her nose (!) and not a single machine near her switched on!
Yet, Mallika is the movie's silver lining. Her honest approach towards her character makes you like her instantly. She is definitely here to stay, provided she gets some meatier roles. She comes across strongly as compared to Himanshu, who stutters and stammers like a rookie stage artiste. In fact, Himanshu fails miserably on all fronts. He is very stiff and his sobbing reminded me of someone trying to choke and sneeze at the same time. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger would have done a better job.
The second half of the film bores you. It seems as if director Govind Menon started the film, but lost interest in it, much like the lead pair after marriage. The editing is poor and the script is a hogwash. In fact, there is nothing much to it. The dialogues, at times cheeky, are shoddily delivered. The characters appear to have been given no time to settle down.
Some of the scenes are interesting, like the time Lekha walks up to a chemist and asks for condoms, much to her husband's embarrassment. Another scene, where she gives him a dose on premarital sex, comes across smoothly.
The background score jumps up at you intermittently. But Asha Bhosle sounds magnificent, singing love songs, classical numbers and dance numbers with élan.
After a strong beginning, Lekha's character becomes bland, thanks to Menon, making you want to escape from the theatre. I recommend that you watch the promos and the billboards and save your moolah on the ticket.
Cast: Mallika Sherawat, Himanshu Malik, Shivaji Satam, Mahamud Babai
Producer: Vivek Nayak
Director: Govind Menon
Lyrics: Faiz Anwar
Music: Milind Sagar
Playback: Asha Bhosle, Udit Narayan, Kay Kay