On face-value, KHOOBSURAT may just pass off as a fairy tale story that's taken straight out of the fable book with an overly strict mother of the house calling the shots for each and every single member in the household. But, KHOOBSURAT also shows the power of love and laughter, happiness, which can heal an ailing person, bring family members closer to each other and above all, help a person realize his true love.
One would expect this film to be a fun filled joy-ride since this is Disney's first dream presentation in Bollywood. With the magical dream weavers at Disney at the helm of things, one, but obviously, would expect the film's makers to capitalize of the timeless classic term 'Disney Magic'. Whether KHOOBSURAT and its director live up to this term? Let's analyze.
The film starts off with the introduction of a professional physiotherapist Mili Chakravarthy (Sonam Kapoor) who is a self-confessed 'spontaneous personality'. She 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. Besides taking charge of the lives of her family members, she also is the person in charge of all the business dealings and maintenance of the royal legacy.
However, the well maintained decorum of the Rathore household goes for a toss the very moment Mili enters there to treat Nirmala's husband Shekhar, who has been confined to a wheel chair for more than ten years due to an unfortunate accident which not only claimed their eldest son, but also left him paralyzed since. 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.
Despite its flaws, KHOOBSURAT does manage to capture your heart at places. Director Shashank Ghosh, who had earlier treated the viewers with his quirky films like WAISA BHI HOTA HAI PART II and QUICK GUN MURUGAN, manages to deliver the film that's strictly good in parts. Even though the film is supposed to be an official remake of the 80s classic by the same name (that starred Rekha and Rakesh Roshan in the lead), KHOOBSURAT seems to be nowhere near the original. With a runtime of 130 minutes, this film is a story of a girl who turns the life of a royal family upside down.
As far as the performances are concerned, Sonam Kapoor gets an author backed role; the film mainly revolves around her character. Her quirks, antics and bindass attitude is supported by smart witty dialogues. One scene that stands out is that of Milli's first dinner at the palace, where she shows up late, follows no etiquettes, enquires about the young princess' relationship status and eventually her phone buzzes with the ringtone 'Maa Ka Phone Aaya'. Halfway through the film though, her loud mouth performance fails to keep you engaged. That doesn't take away her ability to handle some intense situations really well. As for the debutante Fawad Khan, he is very convincing as the Rajasthani prince. He manages to give a subtle, controlled performance as his character demands, yet at times pulls off comedy without getting loud. His comic scene with Kirron Kher in the climax where he drops his royal mannerisms and talks like a Delhi ka tapori surely displays his versatility as an actor. Ratna Pathak Shah delivers what exactly was required of her to do. Sadly her role is half-baked and not even close to what her mother Dina Pathak got to play in the original, Ratna manages to make the most out of what she has been offered as the strict, commanding and disciplined Queen of the royal Rathore family. The irony of Aamir Raza Hussain's performance is that, despite him being confined to the wheel chair through the film, it doesn't restrict him from delivering a sparkling performance. Kirron Kher once again plays the loud Punjabi mother but her witty dialogues manage to make you laugh. At one point she claims to have Rajput blood flowing in her family too despite being a Punjabi lady from Delhi married to a Bengali man. However, her loud performance tends to get a bit tiring towards to climax of the film. The rest of the cast merely help in carrying the film forward.
Despite the weak storyline, what keeps the movie going forward is its music. Sneha Khanwalkar, Badshah and Amal Malik have done a good job in that department. Songs like 'Engine Ki Seeti', 'Preet', 'Naina' and 'Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai' which keep coming at regular intervals and gives film the much needed push, especially when the love story kicks in. The film's background score (Simab Sen), editing (Bakul Matiyani) and cinematography (Tushar Kanti Ray) are all good. The film's screenplay (Indira Bisht) falters at a lot of places. Though the film starts on a promising note, the story and screenplay have no meat in the second half and all characters seem to have lost direction. This flaw is however covered by the film's very witty dialogues writtenby Juhi Chaturvedi. Special mention goes to the film's choreographers Firoz Khan and Karishma Chavan. Also Namrata Soni has styled Sonam very well. Director Shashank Ghosh manages to make the film young and peppy, with quirky characters and fresh beautiful visuals of Rajasthan; however the film's weak script crashes the film completely in the second half.
Overall, KHOOBSURAT is likeable in parts with good performances and stunning visuals; however the weak script is an 'ugly' hurdle this film will face at the box-office.