Walt Disney Pictures Present Khoobsurat (2014)

Take one rich dude, an actual Prince. Add in a beautiful, headstrong, willful, outspoken and outrageous girl who happens to be a Doctor, a physiotherapist to be exact. Garnish with two proud mothers. One who demands absolute obediance and loyalty from her children as well as her paralyzed husband. The other who is proud as can be of her Doctor daughter to the extent that she has but one worry – that this daughter has yet to find a husband. Set them up in a palace. Have an outfit like Walt Disney Pictures produce this rom-com, and you should have a hit on your hands.

Well the Disney Company did sign on as a co-producer for the film , and the movie’s tag line goes something like this: The Royal Family Meets the Royal Misfit.

Yes, the question is do opposites attract and can they overcome their distinct lack of a common ground between them. The film is called Khoobsurat and it opened world wide on September 19th, 2014. The films stars Sonam Kapoor, whose Dad, Anil Kapoor partnered with Disney to make the film. Her co-star is Fawad Khan.

Here is a bit more of the set up – we meet Doctor Milli at a top level sporting event – a cricket match. She’s working on the legs of a top flight cricketeer. But he seems to be in great pain. Milli gets an idea and what do you know – it works. She simply changed from a repetitive bending of the legs to a solid tug – and in seconds the pain has vanished.

Meanwhile , a few states away, an imperious and domineering woman has just fired her 39th physiotherapist. The husband, paralyzed since a car accident (10 years ago) which cost him the use of his legs as well as his son, just hasn’t enough spirit or desire to work at improving his mobility. Meanwhile this woman, who has been tasked with raising the two remaining children, caring for her paralyzed spouse, running the family palace, AND the family businesses, is a stern person. To borrow an expression from the British TV Series Rumpole of the Bailey (1978-1992), this wife is truly a person who can be described as “she who must be obeyed.

Also at this swank palace are the 17 year daughter, Divvya, with designs on becoming an actress, and the aforementioned adult son, who has just become engaged. And dozens of servants. Right about now, you should be hearing Dr. Milli’s cue to arrive at the palace as the 40th phsyiotherapist.

Okay, there’s nothing new about the story, or the situation, or for that matter how it will play out. What is new is the setting, and how the exuberantly strong and fiercely independent Sonam Kapoor as Milli will melt the heart of Vikram, making him forget about his fiancé. But before that can happen, questions abound.

Will Manju, Milli’s Mom wreck the plans? You see Milli is the apple that hasn’t fallen very far from Manju’s tree. Manju. who is, if nothing else – the standard bearer for every in-your-face Mom since the beginning of cinematic families, is also strong-willed. Will Vikram, the epitome of Savile Row fashion crossed with an updated Nehru-esque Indian fashion designs,  and with his staunch and traditional family conservative values, be able to concentrate on his upcoming marriage, while the brash, bold, and beautiful Milli, basically turns the palace upside down.

To this reviewer, the performances of both of the leads – Sonam Kapoor as Dr. Milli Chakravarty, and Fawad Khan as Vikram, are so strong, so surefooted, and so perfectly on point, that you will not pay much heed to the fact that you’ve seen this story unfold before. The gorgeous sets and Milli’s totally unconventional woman wrapped in clothing that seems to always be the boldest of reds, and blues, golds, and greens, without any heed for organization or coordination, which just fits in perfectly with Milli’s personality. Milli only lacks what we might call self control, or a governor – she says whatever is on her mind, to whoever, and whenever and where ever.

What I liked best about this film are the reaction shots from those who Milli has either charmed or shocked, or those reactions that show up on Milli’s own face when she has to make a decision facing the differences between desires and common grounds or common sense.

This is a bravura performance by the young Sonam Kapoor – and basically – if you like rom-coms, this is film that will simply delight you. I am rating this film at four point zero out of five. The DVD is available via Amazon.com

Have a look at this music video from the film. The song is called Naina.

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