Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand is another gem that’s lost to the dreaded anonymity of Bollywood. When I was a kid, I used to hear this phrase: “dabbyat gela” (lost into a box), about movies and believe that there is some big box where they throw these movies (and from where the Doordarshan fetches and plays them). Sigh, there really is a box, albeit metaphorical.
I wanted to watch KKC in theaters, too, just like No Smoking. But in two weeks it seemed to have vanished, staying true to its name. So I was left with having to watch it on a DVD. The film is an almost lyrical and yet hard-hitting portrayal of the Hindi film industry’s golden past.
If Farah Khan’s OSO was a tongue-in-cheek insider joke on the industry, KKC is a slightly frosted mirror, that might add it’s own anomalies, but still tells the story. KKC is a story of Nikhat (Soha Ali Khan), an aspiring actress who is spotted (and used) by a star actor Prem Kumar (Rajat Kapoor), and gives her her first real break. Enter Zaffar (Shiney Ahuja), a writer from UP, who is a man who lives on his own terms. The love story unfolds, and with that unfolds the story of an era — of dreams, back-stabbings, heartbreaks, using-and-being-used, and the indefatigable spirits that shine through. It’s the story of the troubled men and women who made that era special.
Like most movies, it’s not even close to perfect, but Khoya Khoya Chand is still a gem, for what it has tried to do. The direction is, of course, top-notch. The performances are a mixed bag, with Soha at once charming and disappointing (especially in her dialog delivery). Rajat Kapoor is competent, Shiney uninspiring yet measured for the most part, and Vinay Pathak a little underutilized. Sonya Jehan plays a cameo which wants you to see more of her, alas it’s a very short cameo.
The music is such a binder for this movie, with an excellent title track that sets up the love story, and Pakhi Re – Sonu Nigam’s haunting rendition, and couple of jazzy numbers… Hardly a song seems misplaced or lingering longer than needed.
This is by no means an easy movie to watch, because it doesn’t have a story to speak of. It’s the nuances that set it apart. It’s no surprise that it bombed on the box office. Still, I feel sad, for this is an accomplished work of art. My review is hardly convincing, yet, to those who enjoy intense cinema, this is a must watch.