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Khap

More than the debate on the rights and wrongs of the Khap tradition of honour killings that abound in certain parts of...

Written by Rajiv Vijayakar |
August 5, 2011 3:49:35 pm

Messy melodrama

Producers:

Sangita Sinha,

Siddhant Sinha

Director:

Ajai Sinha

Writers:

Ajai Sinha,Ishan Trivedi,Vinod Ranganath,Vijay Verma,Ashok Lal

Cast:

Om Puri,Govind Namdeo,Manoj Pahwa,Yuvika Chaudhary,Sartajj,Mohnish Bahl,Anooradha Patel,Shammi,Alok Nath,Vishwa Mohan Badola

More than the debate on the rights and wrongs of the Khap tradition of honour killings that abound in certain parts of India,Khap will probably spur a debate on whether television directors can tell a crisp and intense story on the big screen without resorting to dated melodrama,regressive twists and a narration that is 30 per cent longer and stretched than what is warranted by the story or plot! And we already know that most television soaps already inculcate the dated style of narration from the most clichéd films of the ’50s,’60s and ’70s!

A story that examines the Khap issue and is incisively analytical and non-judgmental while condemning extra-legal brutal killings is a tough order even for a great scriptwriter and a committed director. But how can the result be decent when there is not the slightest desire to excel? The film tells the story of Ria (Yuvika Chaudhary),a city collegian who,unknown to her,is granddaughter of Omkar Chaudhary (Om Puri),the chief of the Khap panchayat that kills off lovers who dare love,marry or try to escape from her home village.

Ria’s parents Madhur (Mohnish Bahl) and Komal (Anooradha Patel) have left the village when Ria was a small girl after Madhur’s friend became a victim and escaped with his life only because he lost his sanity. They want Ria to have the freedom to live her life and choose her own life partner. Madhur is even a member of the Human Rights Commission.

But destiny has other plans and Ria lands up in the village on a college trip. A convoluted series of events lead to Madhur’s murder and Ria and her boyfriend Kush becoming the latest victims of the tradition! This time Chaudhary rebels and there is a happy ending with the lovers saved and united and the Khap perpetrators either dead,arrested or reformed in jail!

The script meanders over almost every sequence from romantic and dramatic to emotional,with several intrusive and poor songs as further irritants. Alok Nath makes a hammy and inexplicably weird cameo as an advocate of the Khap tradition,there is confusion over the real meaning of the word gotra and the scientific reason for advocating it,and the climax where Chaudhary dreams of what will happen and it almost does is totally absurd.

Nor it is explained why Madhur is murdered and how Ria forgives her grandfather so easily just because her dying father tells her,that too when both of them know the gruesome truth! And the whole episode of actress Shammi being the catalyst of the lead pair’s troubles is not only far-fetched and absurd but also sick.

Ambiguous in what it wants to say and how to put it across,the film is sheer tedium with nothing to offer. The editor has been sent on a holiday and the actors go through the motions,except for Manoj Pahwa as Sukhiram,whose own daughter has been killed and who has never been the same since — smouldering within yet aware of his helplessness,a good man torn between revenge and conscience. The usually comic actor is simply brilliant and is the only aspect we take home from this criminal waste of time.

Rating:

Just one star for Manoj Pahwa.

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