In recent times, there have been a couple of Hindi films that have taken sex out of the taboo zone in their own funny, inventive ways. Dum Laga Ke Haisha had an entire family getting concerned about the marriage of two young, mismatched individuals not getting consummated. Shubh Mangal Savdhaan had erectile dysfunction playing villain in the sweet love story. No cringe-worthy double entendres, no crass jokes. With some hilarious situations, crackling dialogue, quirky characters and a brilliant ensemble these films managed to talk unapologetically about sex in an entertaining, engaging way. Sex stories became family films.
Khandaani Shafakhana tries to be an addition to that growing list. Punjabi kudi (girl) Baby Bedi (Sonakshi Sinha) is a medical representative who inherits the sex clinic run by her late uncle. Will her conservative family and society and the authoritarian Unani medicine doctors allow her to educate the masses about sex?
- Director: Shilpi Dasgupta
- Starring: Sonakshi Sinha, Nadira Babbar, Annu Kapoor, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Badshah, Varun Sharma, Priyansh Jora
- Storyline: BabyBediinherits the sex clinic run by her late mamaji. Will the conservative family and society and the authoritarian Unani medicine doctors allow her to educate the masses about sex?
- Run time: 138 minutes
The film gets its looks and locales right and has an able set of actors, including a sincere Sonakshi Sinha as Baby and specially Nadira Babbar as Baby’s mother. But there is little to the script itself as it plays out too straight, pat and often utterly flaccid. There is the familial melodrama complete with an avaricious uncle and mounting debts and izzat (self-respect) vs daulat (wealth) divides, along with some not-so-correct laughs as Baby starts familiarising herself with the condition of her uncle's long-standing patients. The “homo pop singer” joke that surfaces somewhere in the middle, troubles with its mixed messaging. The singer in question is Gabru Ghatak played by rapper-composer Badshah, who holds the key to a hurried, convenient closure that the film finds in the courtroom.
Khandaani Shafakhana may have a laudable message at its core, but gets bogged down by it’s own overly righteous attempt to “educate” — that sex is not gandi baat, ashleel aur aapattijanak (bad thing, obscene and unacceptable), nothing to be shameful about. Baat To Karo , the chits being distributed within the film, exhorting people to talk about “gupt rog” and assorted sex-related issues, in turn are pointers to the film itself becoming humourless and dull pamphleteering. It fizzles out shortly after it starts and we certainly didn’t intend a sexual innuendo here.