Movie Review: Khap - Trivial Flick on a Serious Issue
Daijiworld Media Network - Entertainment
Mangalore, Jul 30: The only reason a distinguished actor like Om Puri could have agreed to do a film like Khap must have been his sense of social responsibility, or an extreme level of affection for the director. There is nothing else to recommend it. Unfortunately, the film is such that social responsibility alone is not enough to compel viewers to watch it. In fact, it makes smithereens out of a serious social issue.
One wonders what the director, Ajai Sinha, was trying to achieve in the movie. It doesn't move you, and even if you feel for an issue like honour killings, the innumerable songs and dances will kill your feelings in no time.
For those who do not know, 'Khap' is a term for a powerful community system in north western India, particularly Haryana, where the movie is based. The Khap panchayat is dead against marriage between people of the same clan or 'gotra' and those who violate the norms are subjected to honour killings. The age-old practice still continues in present-day modern India, and such a serious issue needed an expert to treat it with sensitivity and insight. Sadly, Sinha has neither.
Om Puri plays the head of the Khap panchayat, and the flagbearer of its principles. His son Madhur (Mohnish Behl) is against the Khap ideology as it had killed his friend and leaves the village to become a human rights activist. But predictably, he returns to the scene when he's asked to probe an incident of honour killing.
Meanwhile, the village head's grand daughter Ria (Yuvika Chaudhary) is enjoying a fling with Kush (Sarrtaj) over the internet. Loads of kitschy romance and dance sequences later, they get married and that is when all hell breaks loose. Incidentally, Kush and Ria happen to be cousins, and therefore of the same clan, and marriage between them is illegal according to Khap rules. What follows is about how the Chaudhary of the village copes with the situation when his own blood has gone against his dictum.
In between we also have Alok Nath giving a long lecture on the demerits of same-clan marriages and upholding the Khap sentiments, obviously to appease certain sections of north India. In fact, the movie has not been released in Haryana fearing outrage.
Nevertheless, Ajai Sinha does deserve praise for attempting to deal with a sensitive issue like honour killings. One only wishes he had a bit more sensibility. Known for his social heroisms with tele-serials like 'Hasratein' and 'Astitva', sadly, he turns his movie into a soap opera rather than an issue-based cinema. True, it is hard to work the balance between the demands of a commercial movie and serious cinema, but not impossible, as we have seen at the hands of some expert Bollywood filmmakers.
Needless to say, Om Puri stands out in his powerful performance, but the rest are just about tolerable.
All in all, it would be wise to give Khap a miss.