Khwahish  
Producer: Vivek Nayak
Director: Govind Menon
Starring: Himanshu Mallik, Malika, Shivaji Satam, Mahmud Babaai, Shahbaaz Khan
Music: Milind Sagar
Lyrics: Faaiz Anwar

Genre: Romantic
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Released on: June 06, 2003
Reviewed by: Suraj Das
Reviewer's Rating: 2 out of 10


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Perhaps Indian directors and producers can’t be blamed for lifting Hollywood plots, especially if “original” work like Khwahish is the only alternative. Govinda Menon’s Khwahish features what is likely one of the most contrived and incoherent screenplays ever written. It wouldn’t be surprising if it was discovered that the writers concocted this monstrous screenplay on the fly, thinking themselves extremely clever for creating a screenplay as unpredictable as “real life.”

The film is unpredictable, no doubt, but not because of creativity on the part of the writers; Khwahish’s surprises come from random events, problems, and issues being brought up and dropped every fifteen minutes of the film. So often does the film abruptly switch tracks, that viewers are compelled to constantly ask themselves not questions about the events on screen, but whether or not it’s even worth sitting through any more of the film. It’s not.

Khwahish’s “mature” and “realistic” depiction of life and love involves a clichéd farmer’s daughter (newcomer Mallika Sherawat) falling in love with the token businessman’s son (Himanshu Malik, Tum Bin). Unlike traditional Hindi film characters, however, these two are unusually forthcoming about their sexuality and even get married for the sole purpose of consummating their relationship. Soon however, the rich boy begins to take the farmer’s daughter for granted. The couple decides that a baby may be the cure for their marital woes, but the girl is then pronounced infertile by one of the most conspicuously phony hospitals ever presented in a Hindi film. There is no real central problem to be resolved in the film, but the events following the fertility revelation can, if absolutely necessary, be classified as a climax. Then the film ends, on a wholly unsatisfying note, about two hours too late.

Not only does the film begin on a conventional note, the events following the introduction lack the kind of energy and innovation needed to make things interesting. For a romantic pair that is constantly undressing, kissing, and fondling, there seem to be far too few genuine emotions involved. And the fact that the plot is rampantly disjointed and does not allow for any one of its many storylines to advance beyond a handful of scenes doesn’t help. By the time the half-way mark is reached, it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that there is no need to invest any real interest in the outcome of the film.

There is precious little beyond Mallika Sherawat to redeem the film. Newcomer Sherawat lights up the screen towards the beginning of the film; her sincerity is quick to strike a chord with audiences. She performs ably throughout the film, exhibiting a level of raw talent and screen presence that few debutantes can boast of. Unfortunately, her character is sidelined towards the middle of the film, and her scope to perform is greatly limited.

The director seems to have paid far more attention to Sherawat’s revealing outfits, risqué romantic scenes, and sex appeal than anything else. Sherawat is undoubtedly stunning, with an abundance of appeal enough to give her contemporaries a run for their money, but the film would’ve proved a more slightly more rewarding experience if Mallika had been allowed to perform as much as she was flaunt her figure.

The rest of the cast performs with insulting incompetence. Himanshu may never be offered a role again based on his awful work in this film, and the character artistes filling supporting roles are only marginally more effective than Mr. Malik.

There are few films as banal, lethargic, and uninvolved as this one and there are few tasks as arduous as trying to keep up with it. Sherawat is impressive on nearly all accounts, but the amount of time one must invest in the picture to discover this is not nearly worth it.