An intriguing premise fuels Sonakshi Sinha’s latest film ‘Khandaani Shafakhana’. But an interesting concept does not guarantee a happy viewing experience.
Baby Bedi, a feisty Punjabi woman played by Sinha, inherits her disgraced uncle’s sex clinic and is the sole heir to the operation built on prime real estate.
It’s a welcome development in her life as she’s struggling to make ends meet as a routine medical sales representative.
But before she cashes in on her inheritance, there’s a catch: in his will, her uncle has made it clear that she has to run the clinic for six months before she sells his labour of love to the highest bidder.
The next 150 minutes are about Baby’s valiant efforts to run the clinic, while inviting censure from her community and family. She becomes a social pariah.
Although Sinha tries her best to breathe life and verve into Baby, she falters largely because the film is a drag at several places.
The scenes in which she haplessly attends to her dead uncle’s patients feels monotonous and forced. She isn’t trained to be a doctor, but the scenes of her attempting to take charge are unrealistic. She’s earnest and you want to applaud her for taking on an offbeat film with an unusual subject, but be warned you aren’t always entertained.
The scenes where Baby swats her conservative, patriarchal community feel didactic.
Actor Varun Sharma, who plays her supportive brother Booshit Bedi, is a hoot and provides a perfect foil to Baby’s brave misadventures. The scenes featuring the two sparring sportingly provides a bit of relief. Rapper Badshah, who looks like Liberace’s ghost took over his wardrobe, makes a memorable acting debut. For an acting debut, he doesn’t come off too shabbily.
There were many junctures where this entertainer, directed by Shilpi Dasgupta, remind you of ‘Vicky Donor’, Ayushmann Khurrana’s career-establishing comedy about sperm donation.
All the trappings that you savoured in that iconic blockbuster such as a middle-class Indian household filled with endearing, but meddling family members and the eventual bridging of a generation gap are in this film as well.
The social milieu and the tone feels familiar and therefore stale. Actor Annu Kapoor, who also played an integral role in ‘Vicky Donor’, plays a persistent lawyer in ‘KS’.
But his character isn’t as memorable. Veteran actor Khulbhushan Kharbanda — as the stoic but progressive uncle — is convincing.
While it is wonderful to watch a popular actress like Sinha take a shot with unconventional roles, she wasn’t able to sustain our interest for too long.
Also be warned, ‘Khandaani Shafakhana’ can’t hold a candle to ‘Vicky Donor’, a film in which the humour and wit came easy and seamlessly.
The pace of this entertainer feels unhurried. Don’t beat yourself up for twitching in your seat, it takes nearly an hour for the film to shift gears and get into the thick of action.
But it gets better after its languid introduction to its main players.
While the message behind this film is laudable, it isn’t always exciting. If you are hoping that this movie will end with a big bang, you are mistaken.
Film: ‘Khandaani Shafakhana’
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Sharma, Badshah, Annu Kapoor and Khulbushan Kharbanda
Director: Shilpi Dasgupta
Stars: 2 out of 5