When one hears the film title Khel, two names quickly come to mind . Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. Of the ´n´ number of hits they gave to the industry in the late 80´s and early 90´s (Tezaab, Beta, Parinda, Kishen Kanhaiya and the list would continue), this movie is no less entertaining than the others mentioned above. Granted this movie is no profound cinema like “Parinda” nor a powerful action packed drama like their last movie together "Pukar", their on-screen chemistry never got better than that in Khel.
Khel, a Hindi “phillumized" remake of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", is about three people Arun (Anil Kapoor), Seema (Madhuri Dixit) and the third played by Anupham Kher. The movie starts with Mala Sinha´s son Virendra Ghatge, who dies in a car accident leaving behind his pregnant and unmarried wife Kamini. Mala Sinha rejects to accept anything what Kamini says and with no option left, Kamini leaves for the city to her friend and delivers a baby. Years later enter Arun, a local thug, making his living out of fooling people. Seema, a dancer at a restaurant and her uncle (Anupham Kher) also follow similar steps as Anil Kapoor to make a living. They hear about Tara Jai Singh (Sonu Walia) who every year donates money to the hospitals for the impaired and the crippled in Sitamgarh. With an intention to thug money from Tara Jai Singh, Arun goes to Sitamgarh and starts behaving like a crippled (Devdas) to earn Tara´s sympathy. But he meets his match in the form of Doctor Khat Patia and Doctor Jadi Boti (Anupham and Madhuri in disguise) who challenge him about staying away from the course. After a series of some of the hilarious twists and turns, it is Arun who dupes everybody and gets the money. What happens next? Do the three take up another challenge? What happens to Mala Sinha? Does she learn the truth about Kamini and her son? That is the next to the story of Khel (game).
The movie is nothing but a start to finish non-stop entertainment. Rakesh Roshan takes a break from his Kala Bazaar’s and Khoon Bhari Maang’s and makes an out and out comedy, which David Dhawan was known to make in the early 90´s. Not for once does the audience get bored and sure enough, Rakesh Roshan capitalizes on the screen chemistry of Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. This is definitely one of Roshan’s best efforts along with “Khoon Bhari Maang” and “Kala Bazaar”. This movie might not be as big a hit as “Karan Arjun” or “Kaho Na Pyar Hai”, but nonetheless very entertaining.
Khel also has its share of flaws, one of them being the basic story relying on the age-old lost and found formula. It is difficult to comprehend why Rakesh Roshan had to use such an old formula for creating the base of a comedy like this. Apart from the four main characters, many of other characters in the movie just come and disappear before a blink of an eye. Granted that the movie is inspired from another movie, Rakesh Roshan still should have taken some liberties and try to bring some more variety to the movie. Obviously, those who haven’t seen he original would be just happy with the way things flow.
Rajesh Roshan’s music is one thing that easily works in its favor. Those who have heard the soundtrack would easily know that Amit Kumar is at his very best in "Sune Sham Savere>". The picturization of the song is also gorgeous along with the comedic elements. Other songs like "Na Hai Zameen, Na Aasman" and "Khat Likhna Hai" are a visual treat and rest assured, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit haven’t looked as great together. The effect of the music is also raised by the splendid picturization of great outdoor locations in South Africa and Kenya.
The performances are first-rate from the principal characters. First of all, let me say that Anupham Kher is at his comedic best. This was the time when an awards function wouldn’t finish without Anupham Kher getting a best comedian award and even here he scored in the best comedian category. Here is a comedic performance, which in recent times only Paresh Rawal could have done. Of the many movies, the trio of Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and Anupham Kher have done (Tezaab, Beta, Parinda, Ram Lakhan...), their co-ordination on screen never got better than this.
Anil Kapoor and Madhuri are a treat to watch. This is one of their movies, which you can call a real "jugalbandi". Some of their scenes together are just pure magic. Anil Kapoor´s expressions in "Sun Sham Savere" or his comedic talent while feeding the birds with Sonu Walia get applause from the audience. Madhuri Dixit at her glamorous best. Watching her in "Khat Likhna Hai" or "Na Hai Zameen Na Aasman" is like watching a dream. The point where she renders "idli do idli do" as a bhajan is outright hilarious. Mala Sinha does her job well. It is good to see the actress of yester-years after a long time. Sonu Walia looks absolutely stunning. Prem Chopra also generates a lot of laughs along with Dinesh Hingoo.
In spite of the lost and found formula, the movie entertains at all levels. Definitely, it is worth the rental and will guarantee a laugh. For Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit fans, this is definitely something to add to your shelf of favorites.