To recreate the bygone era is not only strenuous, but a challenging task as well. It's equally arduous to capture the essence of Bollywood of 1950s and 1960s with precision on celluloid. In that respect, Sudhir Mishra's KHOYA KHOYA CHAND succeeds in transporting the viewer to the golden era.
Although the story doesn't focus on any person in particular or highlight any incident or event, the director drops enough hints to draw parallels with real life characters. So far, so good!
Wait, you can't turn a blind eye to the deficiencies... KHOYA KHOYA CHAND looks like an assemblage of smartly executed sequences. You remember KHOYA KHOYA CHAND not because of its stirring and gripping storyline and the impact it creates in totality, but the recall value is thanks to the individualistic scenes.
Also, the pace dips at several points and what also goes against it is its length. The film goes on and on, testing the viewer's patience towards the second hour. Ideally, Mishra should've shortened the narrative by 20 minutes at least. Besides, the execution of the subject restricts its appeal to those who tilt towards offbeat cinema.
To sum up, KHOYA KHOYA CHAND does not hold universal appeal. It's for a niche audience with an appetite for unconventional movies, catering more to the festival circuit and a tiny section of moviegoers.
Set against the Hindi film industry in 1950s and 1960s, KHOYA KHOYA CHAND is the tumultuous story of Nikhat [Soha Ali Khan] and Zafar [Shiney Ahuja]. Nikhat, a fledgling actress, becomes a big star with the help of superstar Prem Kumar [Rajat Kapoor]. But in return of favours.
Zafar helps Nikhat get free from the iron grip of Prem Kumar. But the relationship is short-lived.
Sudhir Mishra captures the behavioural pattern of stars, budding actors and film-makers to perfection. Note the tantrum-throwing heroine or the finicky producer who's more of a 'Yes Man' to the superstar or the heroine's mother and her companion who live off the heroine's money -- only an insider who knows Bollywood inside out or has watched them from close quarters would get it right.
Mishra's execution of a number of scenes is exemplary. But the grip to keep you hooked non-stop, from start to end, is missing. The film dips at regular intervals in both the first and second hour. Also, the culmination to the story is abrupt.
Shantanu Moitra's music is in sync with the old-world charm. The title track is lilting, while 'Ye Nigahen' is equally exuberant. Sachin Krishn's cinematography is striking. The production design [Gautam Sen] is first-rate. Ditto for the costumes [Ashima Belapurkar and Niharika Khan].
It would be erroneous to give the credit to just one actor, when the fact is that all three -- Shiney, Soha and Rajat Kapoor -- deliver sterling performances. Shiney is a complete natural, expressing the anguish through his eyes. Soha is a revelation. This film exhibits her potential to the optimum. Rajat Kapoor is only getting better with every film. Sonya Jehan is effective. Saurabh Shukla is in terrific form. Sushmita Mukherjee deserved more footage. Vinay Pathak is excellent. Dipannita Sharma is okay.
On the whole, KHOYA KHOYA CHAND has some interesting moments, but the impact it ought to create as also its slow pacing and excessive length dilute the effect. At the box-office, the film caters to a tiny section of moviegoers, but that's not enough!