9 March 2008 | Chrysanthepop
A Tribute To Hindi Cinema Of The Mid Twentieth Century
Sudhir Mishra's 'Khoya Khoya Chand' is his tribute to the classic Hindifilms of the 1950s-1960s which is considered the golden era of Hindi cinema. It takes at the behind the scenes looks in the lives of actors, writers and filmmakers. It's not a voyeuristic satire of any sort and though one might notice the references from the lives of Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Dev Anand, Madhubala, Meena Kumari and even Hollywood stars like Dorothy Dandridge and Marilyn Monroe. The characters themselves are not based on any specific person. The title is derived from a famous song (of the same title) from the 50's film 'Kaala Bazaar'.
I liked Mishra's attention to detail both as writer and director. The costumes, props, colourful sets, mannerisms of the actors, choreography, the popular classic songs playing in the background and hummed by the actors, contribute very well. The art direction is just superb. Shantanu Moitra, recreates the whimsical jazz style of the 1950's and the 1960's which add to the atmosphere. Cinematography is solid, especially the long shots.
The characters are very well written. Even the supporting characters have a strong presence with little screen time (of course credit goes to the actors as well). Even though the film moves at a slightly slower pace than one prefers, there are several standout moments such as the exchange of glimpse between Nikhat and Ratanbala when Prem Kumar's engagement is announced. Nikhat catching Zaffar red handed with Ratanbala, the bond between Shyamol and Nikhat after Zafar's departure....and many more.
Soha Ali Khan is a bit inconsistent in the beginning but she embraces the character as the film proceeds. Perhaps a more experienced actress would have been more suitable for the role. Nonetheless, this is her best performance after 'Antarmahal'. Shiny Ahuja is brilliant as the tormented Zafar. Rajat Kapoor is a scene stealer. Ditto Sonia Jehan who is wicked, seductive and vulnerable as the sensual Ratanbala. Vinay Pathak is sublime. Sushmita Mukherjee and Saurabh Shukla provide some comic relief.
'Khoya Khoya Chand' was a visual treat for me and seeing current actors in this period piece made me feel as though I too had moved back in time and was watching a movie sometime in the 1960s. It might not be a film that adhere's to everyone's taste but it is a wonderful film to watch.