Khoya Khoya Chand: a classy period film

Saw Khoya Khoya Chand (2007) last night. Very pleased. Starring Soha Ali Khan, Soniya Jehan, Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, and Shiney Ahuja, and set in the 1950s and 60s. And with a rather good soundtrack accompanying it. Wonder why we didn't hear of this one as much? Seems like a classic case of a niche film living up to what it was labeled as, thus not reaching the masses.

What drew me to Khoya Khoya Chand was its soundtrack. I remember sampling it one night while on a long drive back from work on a Friday evening, tired, and suddenly feeling energized by the tunes, some of which have a pretty good sing-along quotient to them. More on the soundtrack below.

In a nutshell, the film is about the aspirations of a young woman to be a leading actress in the film industry. She goes through injustices (some of which are self-inflicted, as in accepting casting couch as long as it gets her stardom) and love affairs, and through the highest of highs and lowest of lows in the film industry. And the constants through them all are three characters played by Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, and Shiney Ahuja.

Without giving too much away, let's just say that the film is very well made, and the performances are, for the most part, rather good. It would have been interesting had Vidya Balan played the role of Nikhat instead of Soha Ali. And that's not to say that Soha did not do a good job, for she carried the film to its rightful portrayal. I just think Vidya would fit the role better. And amid all the talk of beautiful actresses, let's not forget Soniya Jehan -- this is her only movie I have seen -- who is one of the more beautiful actresses in the industry today.

Overall, a very good film with its share of strong moments. It is a remarkable display of Bollywood reflecting on itself, and of some jokes that the Bollywood inner circles (or the Bollywood-crazed fans like yours truly) would appreciate more so than others.

Notes on the soundtrack, composed by Shantanu Moitra, and with lyrics by Swanand Kirkire. The title song is great. O Re Paaki (Sonu Nigam) and Thirak Thirak (Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghosal) are excellent. But the best track is easily Sakhi Piya (Pranab Biswas and Shreya Ghosal). Two thumbs up for Shreya Ghosal for her vocals to Chale Aao Saiyan, a classic mujrah track which fits in perfectly with the movie.

Movie rating: *** (Very good)

Music rating: ***1/2 (Very good)

My classification: A/R (for plot and content)


Abhinav said...

I disliked the film actually,for many reasons.Most of all the lead actors--Shiney Ahuja,very talented but the effort in his acting showed here,and Soha who just like Rang de Basanti was woefully inept.
I dont think anyone could have saved this film,but Vidya would have certainly done a more competent job at handling the openly readable Nikhat Bano than Soha did.Strangely there was some sort of an argument over the character between Vidya and Sudhir Mishra which led to her walking out.Mishra later reasoned that she was too old for the part.I disagree--Jennifer Connelly was 30 when she did Requiem for a Dream!!..CG and makeup could have done the trick.

theBollywoodFan said...

Yes, the argument that Vidya Balan was too old for the part doesn't ring a bell. In any case, I appreciated the film for the sincerity of its approach. At least someone cared to make a film such as this. And executed it decently. Shiney Ahuja is emerging as a rather good actor, and if only Soha's character was better had a lot of potential. Yet, relatively speaking, I thought Khoya Khoya Chand was pretty good.

I am not sure I agree about Soha Ali in Rang De Basanti, though. I think her style suited her character. Since the character demanded a down-to-earth young woman, I thought she fit in well given her decent girl-next-door look and the ease with which current and former students could relate to her.

Abhinav said...

No,its not that I think she didnt her character in RDB,but she was the only one in the alotgether Brilliant cast who was "acting"(if you get my drift).Everyone else was perfectly in sync with their characters and perfectly natural.I liked her in Ahista Ahista though.

theBollywoodFan said...

In that context, I agree. It was a great overall cast for RDB, wasn't it??!!!

I thought Soha was decent in Ahista Ahista too. I liked the simplicity with which she pulled off the role.

Abhinav said...

Yeah Rang de Basanti was an excellently acted and excellently made film.Even then Rakeysh Mehra managed to make a royal mess of it.

Nida said...

Wow, I've had a copy of this film for quite some time and haven't watched it because the woman who sold it to me at the grocery store didn't seem too thrilled about it. She just said, "Oh, its something different, you should have this" and I can never say no to her for some reason, so I bought it.

But after reading your post, I'm actually excited to see it now!

theBollywoodFan said...

This one is slightly tricky, Nida. It's different and I thought that, and its music, made it worth watching. Plus the somewhat elaborate arrangements, which never hurt.

Do share your thoughts when done!

bollyviewer said...

I love how Bollywood has gotten into classy period films (as opposed to Mughal-e-Azam style extravanganzas) these days. This one though, didnt really come up to my expectations. Thought Soha and Shiney were both too stiff. Rajat Kapoor was great, though. Re Vidya vs Soha I think the former would bring more gravitas to the role but Soha looks so much like her Mom that I thought casting her as an actress of yore was a great touch.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Bollyviewer: That's a great point about Soha looking much like her mom providing value to the film. Given that I fairly recently saw my first Sharmila Tagore film (Kashmir Ki Kali), I am definitely better able to appreciate your thoughts.

Rajat *was* great. And as I said earlier, my biggest issue with the film was that a couple of the best songs were almost ignored :( Oh well...and I agree with you on the classy period films too.