Khandaani Shafakhana Review

Sonakshi Sinha in a still from “Khandaani Shafakhana.” (photo provided)

T-Series Films’ “Khandaani Shafakhana”

Produced by: Mahaveer S. Jain, Mrigdeep Singh Lamba, Bhushan Kumar, Krishen Kumar, Divya Khosla Kumar

Directed by: Shilpi Dasgupta

Written by: Gautam Mehra

Music: Anand-Milind, Tanishk Bagchi, Jasbir Jassi, Shyam Bhateja, Payal Dev, Badshah & Rochak Kohli

Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Badshah, Varun Sharma, Priyanshu Jora, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Annu Kapoor, Nadira Babbar, Rajiv Gupta, Baby Khushi Hajare, Rajesh Sharma, Hobby Dhaliwal, Gill Hardeep, Sandeep Nahar and others Sp. App.: Raveena Tandon Thadani, Suniel Shetty & Diana Penty

MUMBAI— Once upon a time, there were two very close friends, Khan and Shafaq. They went to watch a new release in town, “Khaandaani Shafakhana,” first day, first show because it had both their names within its title. And here is what happened when they came out of the movie-hall.

Khan: So, what did you think of the movie?

Shafaq: Burp!!

Khan: Sorry?

Shafaq: What do I say? I have eaten a large tub of popcorn and six samosas to ward off the boredom and spent about 700 rupees on them, trying to avoid sleep.

Khan: The plodding place also sent me off to dreamland. That is why I am asking you. But the movie – whatever I watched of it – was such a bore!

Shafaq: Bore! It was torture! Whenever they chose, they went commercial, or pseudo-intellectually arty. Then they wanted to have comedy, and at whim turn serious and then go back to laughs.

Khan: Can you recount the story in brief?

Shafaq (With derisive laugh): Story? Story! I like your sarcasm. There’s this man Hakim Mama or something, who starts a sex clinic in a crowded dump of a place in Hoshiarpur. So this man, who looks old 20 years back and the same today, is ostracized by his doctor community in the Unani medical institute and starts his private clinic, and mysteriously gets solid clientele in an area where every single resident and shopkeeper looks at him with loathing.

Khan: Yes, that much I watched. What happens 20 years later?

Shafaq: His niece Babita aka Baby Bedi, played by Sonakshi Sinha, is the sole breadwinner of her family. For some reason, her plump brother never works.

Khan: Varun Sharma, right? The guy who acts the same in every role?

Shafaq: Precisely! She also has an obese mom who is a homemaker living off the “izzat” left behind as legacy by a poor father. They face financial crunch as “izzat” cannot be translated into money. Mysterious, because the lazy brother who could work does not, though he wants to marry before his breadwinner sister.

Khan: That’s so insensitive and impractical!

Shafaq: And then we have Hakimbhai’s crazy will – that his property worth a crore will go to Baby ONLY if she maintains his clinic, which really looks like a crude lab from 200 years back. She has to dispense medicines to all his regular patients for six months. After that, Baby can sell the place, leaving all them in a lurch, maybe also in bed. All this gyan is given to the family by Tagra, a lawyer who speaks classic British English in a Punjabi accent and generally pretends to be intelligent.

Khan: Okay

Shafaq: Baby’s obese mom is disgusted with her dead brother’s preconditions, but since a predator relative is eyeing their home, Baby agrees.

Khan: But how a non-doctor run the clinic?

Shafaq: Oh, that’s easy. Hakim has written everything down. But the condition is also that Baby must appoint a proper doctor and be punctual and committed. Tagra has appointed someone to keep an eye on Baby – another guy who does nothing in the area, who is called Lemon Hero!

Khan: And let me guess, Baby enters like a fresh lime in his life and he does not keep an eye on her but instead has eyes only for her!

Shafaq: Wow! You could have written this script!

Khan: I can sense where all this is going.

Shafaq: Hoshiarpur seems to be full of nutcases, including a man who at intervals comes to stare, emit foul words and has a foul breath—Baby expertly diagnoses him with piles.

Khan: Does he take treatment?

Shafaq: You bet he doesn’t! But all the Hakim’s patients come back. But there is Gabru Ghatack, a pop singer who has Ayushmann Khurrana’s problem in “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.”

Khan: You mean erectile dysfunction. The film’s promos tell us we should TALK more about sex. What are you coy?

Shafaq: This one’s not going to teach anyone that because hardly anyone will watch it anyway. Besides, how do you think we have a population explosion? So what if we do not TALK about sex?

Khan: Ummm…you have a point.

Shafaq: So Baby searches high and low for Gabru’s medicine but cannot find it and since his celebrity support is needed for her newfound mission of promoting candid talk on sex, she reads up Hakim Mama’s notes and books and actually succeeds in making Gabru’s medicine.

Khan: Don’t you think this film teaches us more on how to be a quack?

Shafaq: Well, after two court cases filed against her, one for exactly this point and one for spreading obscenity…

Khan: Obscenity! How?

Shafaq: A girl talking about sex all over town does not go down well in Hoshiarpur!

Khan: Isn’t publicity a no-no even for registered doctors as it is against medical ethics?

Shafaq: Why didn’t you tell this to Gautam Mehra?

Khan: Who?

Shafaq: The film’s addle-headed writer. In court, an eccentric judge who laughs hysterically for no reason tries Baby’s case. But Baby almost loses and then Gabru enters, minus all his bling and trappings, and proves to the law that Baby has her heart and Hakim Mama’s art in the right place. And the very same Unani colleagues of Hakim Mama, who had ostracized him but have not aged a day in 20 years, welcome Baby into their college! Story over.

Khan: Sheesh!

Shafaq: And you have no clue about the absurdities on the way.

Khan: Like?

Shafaq: Baby complains that barely any patients come. Then who runs her home when she has no money? How does she pay her bills even of the Shafakhana? How does everyone in the court, including the doctors who ostracized Hakim Mama, suddenly like the fact that she is acquitted and change towards Baby? Including the homeless obsess mom.

Khan: Homeless!

Shafaq: Yes, the chacha has grabbed their home, and she has to retain her ‘izzat’!

Khan: Sheesh! Now that you have told me the story, the profound film title must mean a Family Health Clinic. I was always wondering what on earth ‘Shafakhana’ meant!

Shafaq: The producers and director are clearly not interested in connecting with audiences. If they were serious about the issue, they would have kept a simple title like “Badhaai Ho,” “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan” or “Vicky Donor.”

Khan: And made a better film. Didn’t this producer called Lamba make something called “Manorama - Six Feer Under” before?

Shafaq: Yes, it went SIXTY feet OVER my head. And yours too, I think.

Khan: I slept through that as well.

Shafaq: Look on the one bright side of this film.

Khan: Is there any at all?

Shafaq: Yes, Sonakshi Sinha is damn good, her expressions and all else superb.

Khan: Clearly, this Mission has not been Mangal for her!

Rating: *

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