Khap - Review

wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)
quick review:

While “good intentions” might be the culprit for the existence of this ineffective piece of social drama, it’s the shallow writing, horribly amateur acting and horrendous production values that truly drag the film to abysmal depths. You are more likely to find yourself laughing at the one-dimensional drivel harvested from newspaper articles rather than let real research work move you profoundly. Add a bland and unaffecting love story to the mix and you have a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Even Om Puri can’t salvage this one.



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Wogma Review

I couldn't review Khap because it didn’t release in Pune. And looks like I didn't miss much. Thank you, Danish, for covering this one for wogma! - meetu

Honestly? Is it really that difficult to make a compelling, intelligent movie based on or inspired from real life incidents? ‘Khap’ should easily make a worthy case study as to how our filmmakers set off on “good intentions” only to turn a serious and deep issue into giggle worthy melodramatic drivel. So keeping in line with the USP of the site, I won’t give any details about the plot other than a brief outline.

An estranged son, Madhur (Mohnish Behl) who works for the National Human Rights Commission, returns to his village after sixteen years to investigate honour killings supposedly carried out at the behest of the Khap Panchayat. Madhur’s father Omkar Chaudhary (Om Puri) is one of the heads of the Panchayat and father and son don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on many issues with the son taking a firm stand against the practice of honour killings. So after much posturing and speeches back & forth about the “pros & cons” of Khap Panchayats and honour killings, cinematic co-incidence rears it’s ugly head in the form of Madhur’s daughter, Ria who elopes with a boy of the same gotra. Boy oh boy! Get those pitchforks and torches ready.

Last year Priyadarshan tried to tackle a similar topic with Mississippi Burning Aakrosh which again made a mockery of things by inserting such “credible” sequences in which Ajay Devgn slides under a moving train and stands atop a moving car dodging branches; but keeping the inherent silliness aside both Aakrosh & Khap suffer from a serious lack of research & good writing. Both seem content in painting a sensationalist picture of some serious issues which has more depth than the screenplay of any of these movies accords it; characters & situations aren’t credibly fleshed out but pointless love-songs run amok. I guess this kind of treatment does make you wonder what “good intentions” were the makers referring to.

I have no love for the Khaps or their ways but can’t help but find their portrayals utterly one-dimensional; sneering, glaring, moustachio-ed, hookah smoking men talk about prathas & hamara kanoon. The movie tries to overcome this problem by presenting Om Puri with a moral dilemma thus setting him up for an inevitable cultural transformation. However it’s the lecturing back and forth between all characters that gets tiresome and preachy thus never allowing any of them to grow beyond paper-thin clichés; moral one, amoral one, misguided one, turned a new leaf one, blood-thirsty one…you see?

The romantic track lays waste to what little chance of redemption laid with the other dramatic elements of the movie. It’s so bad & unconvincing that it almost makes you root for the Khap Panchayat to administer whatever punishment they deem fit and end our suffering right away.

The camerawork, background score & art direction will remind you of television grade material the onus of which lies solely with director Ajai Sinha, who was the man behind TV soaps such as Hasratein and Astitva- Ek Prem Katha. So, he brings the same small-screen sensibilities to this project, effectively making a two-hour pilot for a future TV series instead of a feature film.

Khap fails on every front, it’s ineffective as a social commentary, it’s overlong and preachy (not to mention unintentionally funny), it’s saddled with a love story which you hope ends as soon as it begins, though I would highly recommend Alok Nath’s little monologue about the dangers of inter-gotra marriages, it was the piece de resistance of the film and might be the funniest bit of cinema you might watch all year long.

What was supposed to send a shiver down your spine is more likely to tickle your funny bone or simply put you to sleep; avoid it at all costs.

This review is by guest reviewer Danish Bagdadi. Read more from Danish on his blog, moviesum and Desi Martini

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Gory in parts. Mob lynching scenes are shown with some detail.
  • Language: Mild with a few expletives
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Nothing really
  • Concept: Khap Panchayats & Honour Killings
  • General Look and Feel: Low-Budget, bland, dated

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 0.5
  • Story: 1
  • Lead Actors: 0.5
  • Character Artists: 0.5
  • Dialogues: 1
  • Screenplay: 0.5
  • Music Director: 0.5
  • Lyrics: 0.5

Khap - Movie Details

Khap - Trailer

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