Perry Pictures' KHWAHISH, written-directed by Govind Menon, could've been a refreshingly different love story, but in an effort to provide 'hatke' entertainment, the director loses track and stumbles badly, making a complete mess of the film in the process.
Himanshu Malik is a super-rich brat, who hates his dad as much as he likes car racing, while Mallika Sherawat is the daughter of a chicken farmer. The film starts with an unusual scene where the boy meets the girl in a shop. They have an argument over buying a kurta-pyjama, but after they are through with their shopping, they realise that there is more to their relationship than fighting over kurtas and pyjamas.
Life goes on a fast lane wherein after a few meetings, the couple fall in love. After the exams, when Mallika talks about going back to her village, Himanshu can't take the separation and proposes marriage. She agrees and takes him to her village. There is no opposition from her father. He accepts the relationship.
Now, Himanshu has to persuade his family for the marriage. His father, however, has different plans. He wants Himanshu to complete his studies first and think about marriage later. Himanshu is adamant. The marriage takes place, but not before Himanshu's dad has ousted him.
The couple now shift into a chawl, where Himanshu is studying for his MBA, while Mallika takes care of the house by taking music classes. Himanshu completes his MBA and gets himself a good job. However, with a high profile job comes a very hectic schedule. Mallika, at times, feels lonely, they try to socialise, but that does not seem to work. They think of a different option, to have a child.
But as fate would have it, Mallika can't conceive. Medical reports indicate she has blood cancer. The rest of the story is about the couple's battle for survival and how they cope up with this harsh reality.
The director tries hard to bring some freshness in the dialogues, its settings, the characters, the treatment and some bold scenes to support his cause. He does try everything in the book to keep the viewer mesmerised, but one wonders if such a change would really appeal to the Indian audience, who are used to watching strong emotions in a love story. Why, even the target audience - the youth brigade - might not be able to identify with the goings-on.
Actually, the screenplay hampers the proceedings to a great extent. It looks drab and is hardly captivating. Though the first half moves at a brisk pace, it looks disjointed [several questions have been left unanswered!], while the second half is outright predictable, with the focus shifting to too many things before finally zeroing on cancer. Also, the bold scenes are nothing much to talk about and are inserted just for the heck of it [was it to enhance the commercial aspect of the flick?], with no relevance to the story whatsoever.
Even the characters are far from real. The director seems to have scant knowledge about weaving the screenplay. For instance, the father-son animosity lacks a firm ground. Even the emotional bonding between the couple is missing. Subsequently, the concept of having a child to perk things up is not just a wierd thought, but will be hard to digest by the audience.
The dialogues, however, lend a fresh feel to the film. They are simple, which add to the realism the director tries to portray. Milind Sagar's music is on the ordinary side, with 'Baila' and 'Jaaneman' being the best songs. Cinematography is alright.
Amongst the performances, Himanshu Malik is strictly okay. He doesn't convince in emotional sequences. Mahamud Babai, playing Mallika's father, pitches in a good act. Shivaji Satam is wasted. Shahbaaz Khan leaves a mark. The beneficiary, however, from this film will be Mallika. Considering her debut film, her performance makes an impression. And with sex appeal to go with her talent, she could lengthen her stay in Bollywood.
On the whole, KHWAHISH leaves many 'khwahishes' unfulfilled. The gentry would find it hard to relate to a love story with minimal emotions, while the front benchers - expecting a lot of skin show - will be grossly disappointed as well. At the box-office, the film will face an uphill task.