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Review: KHANDANI SHAFAKHANA

It’s Sex Ed Gone Bad

2 stars

Mini Review:

Sonakshi Sinha does it again! Carries a film on her able shoulders, even though the script for a sex ed comedy goes from ‘could be interesting’ to ‘jeez wtf just happened’ in real slow motion. The nudge-nudge wink-wink subject of a girl running her uncle’s sex clinic goes on and on and ends limply…

Main Review:

That Sonakshi Sinha is a good actor is of no doubt at all. Even if she’s pulling faces at everything around her. She plays Baby Bedi who is a medical representative, taking care of her mother and brother and is under debt to an uncle from her sister’s wedding.

Now the lad who plays brother seems to be unabashedly the same in every movie. Every. Single. Time. He’s the asshole sidekick in Arjun Patiala, the asshole friend in Fukrey, Fukrey Returns… He’s turning into the Omi Vaidya of small town movies. And he’s gotten simply annoying. 

Nadira Babbar plays the mom, aggrieved, widowed, and debt ridden after the older daughter’s wedding. 

Annu Kapoor is a lawyer called Tagra, and he is redeeming in his Punjabi-English dialog where he often quotes himself by saying, ‘Tagra says…’  He’s the genuine comedic thing.

So Sonakshi inherits a sex clinic owned by her uncle Kulbhushan Kharbanda who shows up ever so often as a ghost who guides her… She needs the money but can only do so if she stays there for six months and dispenses the Unani powder medicine mostly to his patients of ‘wiggly wiggly’ problems. 

Trouble is, beyond the ‘nudge-nudge wink-wink’ part there’s a problem here. Sonakshi has learnt from her unc and his copious notes symptoms of other diseases like liver and thyroid problems, piles and so on. Then why is the clinic called ‘Sex Clinic’? For ‘respectability’s sake’ couldn’t they just call it a ‘ Unani clinic’ and shown shady clients visit regularly?

Of course there are so many quacks who practice this kind of dispensing of herbal powders that the legitimacy of this kind of medicine is suspect. 

The encounters with patients of erectile dysfunction and other male libido oriented problems and Sonakshi are funny enough, but how long can you keep them funny to keep the narrative going? I imagined all kinds of bad whatsapp jokes about meds being accidentally so strong that the man is ‘up all night’ but complains to the doc that he’s not getting enough sleep… And so on. Alas, the jokes are a bit tacky whatsapp forward like and the cringe factor grows and grows as the movie seems to slow down to a crawl.

There is a great germ of an idea in ‘Baat toh karo’ (talk about it) that Sonakshi says when it comes to sexual ‘problems’, but it is frittered away and how.

The best part of the film came out of nowhere in the form of Badshah who plays a rap star Gabru Ghattak. (last name pronounced like ‘attack’ rather than the hindi word for lethal).

He looks great, acts well and is a completely natural. Iloved, loved, loved the elevator which has a giant poster of Gabru plastered…

Anyway, the film goes on and on and just when you think it is happily over like some bad sex ed class, they have sort of an epilogue/outtakes where Sonakshi Sinha has to offer sex advice: Agar soup bahut garam hain use phoonk phook ke phir piyo. Only when you are comfortable.’

I was rooted to the seat for five minutes. Jeez. Jeez. Jeejus!



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