Tell Me O Khuda
Tell Me O Kkhuda: Earnest but cumbersome!
By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Tuesday 25 October 2011
Tell Me O Khuda
Hema Malini, Mayur Puri
Esha Deol, Arjan Bajwa, Vinodh Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sudhanshu Pandey, Dharmendra
You want to like the film. At least it?s about a fairly absorbing conflict. Tanya (Esha Deol), who lives with a loving family, discovers she?s adopted. She feels she needs to find her roots and sets out to look for her biological parents.
First step is the municipal office where she and her two friends arrive to look at the records. There was a fire in the hospital the day she was born, which adds to the mayhem. Still, she gets a lead and decides to pursue it.
The trio arrives in Rajasthan. This portion is the film?s most entertaining for Vinod Khanna?s massive presence and the sights and sounds of Rajasthan. She meets her ?father? who is a modern-day feudal king. In this segment, the film raises the issue of gender discrimination in the region without letting the narrative slip. A very well-executed camel race is the film?s highlight. But Tanya?s journey must go on. Next up on her list is a forlorn Turkish couple (Rishi Kapoor, and stunning Turkish actress Meltem Cumbul) who are still mourning their daughter?s loss as she was born. Finally the film banks on the real family ? Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Esha, sharing screen space together. Ironically, those moments are unimaginatively written.
The film could have been a fun, adventurous journey, but it falters in key areas. Let?s talk about the casting. This is an unabashed re-launch pad for Esha Deol, and she?s a misfit. The film?s central character required an actor with solid screen presence and acting prowess. It had to be a crackler of a performance!
Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Hema Malini appear in their cameos and it?s great fun to watch them, but that doesn?t help the film. Arjan Bajwa who plays Tanya?s love interest and Chandan Roy Sanyal as the friend don?t have comprehensible characters. What are their backgrounds, why does the seemingly normal friend?s character click pictures of women in bikinis and is rightly called a pervert? We don?t know what to make of them. Also, are we to believe that royalty from Rajasthan and a wealthy hotel-owning family from Turkey would give birth in a municipal hospital in Mumbai? Even if it was 20-plus years ago?
Producer-co-director Hema Malini seems inspired by her own film Dil Aashna Hai (1992) where a young Divya Dutta is looking for her biological mother. Tell Me? is also heavily influenced by Hollywood musical Mamma Mia! where the character is determined to find who her biological father is. But that film had humour, great music, interesting characters, and most importantly Meryl Streep. One enjoyed Tell Me O Kkhuda?s earnest first half, but the film nosedives in the second and doesn?t quite recover. And isn?t it ironic that Hema Malini who had cast Shah Rukh Khan as the love interest in Dil Aashna Hai almost 20 years ago, is pitted against his Ra.One this Diwali week? Sadly, both films disappoint!
Rating: 2 stars