Khwahish: Steamy show
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 6 June 2003
For all its pre-release hoo-ha (the hot, steamy promos) and the muchpublicised 17 smooching scenes, director Govind Menon?s Khwahish remains a half-hearted wish to make a good sensitive story about loving, living and losing.
Equipped with a formidable story idea, he doesn?t seem to know which way to take it further.
A poor, rural Marathi mulgi Lekha Khorzuvekar (Mallika Sherawat) and rich, city bred, flabby stud Amar Ranawat (Himanshu Malik) meet in a clothing store, over kurta-pyjama jhagda.
Next, they are already in love and indulge in a tale of a kiss. During courtship, Marathi mulgi will only go so far as a kiss. Dialoguebaazi about being Indian girl and all that follows. Sethji feels super horny, so proposes marriage.
But Sethji?s rich dad (Shivaji Satam) whom he addresses as `Sir? does not approve. Never mind, at least, the mulgi?s father Ulhas (Mahamud Babai); a chicken farmer by profession is thrilled.
In any case, Sethji and `Sir? are at loggerheads and live separately. Why? The scriptwriter forgets to explain that. Anyway, the lovebirds honeymoon in Manali. Marathi mulgi desirous of a career in classical music does not want to get pregnant and demands that Sethji wear a condom. Sethji is not the type who carries condoms in his wallet. Expedition condom hunting happens in the middle of the night. Ishhh, Sethji is too shy!!! So, our gallant Marathi mulgi approaches the chemist herself. Bravo!
Marathi mulgi is truly bold.
Honeymoon over, back home, Sethji studies hard, gets good job and after living in a chawl for some time move into a propah flat.
Boredom and incompatibility set in. Sethji is busy with work (what does he exactly do?). Marathi mulgi with classical musical career aspirations now abandoned wants to have kids. So, the condoms are tossed into the bin but even after six months of condom refrain; there is no good news. From here on the story gets boring, melodramatic and has nothing new to offer and degenerates into an abrupt climax.
Menon?s attempt to make a bold, urban, contemporary film is rather simplistic. Issues tackled are merely given a few seconds lip service. Whether it?s premarital sex, contraception, estrangement between father and son, the ups and downs of a modern married couple - everything is hurried and superficially touched upon.
Menon just does not want to delve concretely or deeply into any points he tries to make. Perhaps, the attempt to make an urban love story was sincere but some way along he got lost. Khwaish suffers from a poorly developed screenplay and lack of directorial focus.
Of the cast, Himanshu Malik, who exposes more than Mallika Sherawat, shows occasional traces of good performance. Mallika is very comfortable in belly and cleavage revealing attire. To her credit she makes a confident debut but at times her character seems contrived.
Marathi mulgi mouths lines like, `Let?s get into the bed. Let me feel your naked body next to mine.? All in English. Cinematographer Uday Devare (Santosh Sivan?s former assistant) shows his craft well in capturing locations in Pune, Kerala and Himachal. The editor?s scissors although seem to have gone blunt.
At the end of the film you ponder, "What was the director?s Khwahish after all?"