New Delhi: There is moment in the recently released trailer of Sonam Kapoor starrer 'Khoobsurat' where an uptight Ratna Pathak Shah asks Dr Mili Chakravarty (Kapoor) "Mujhe laga ke aap Bengali hai". To which Sonam replies, "Actually Manju (her mother, Kirron Kher) Punjabi hai, aur hum sab uspe gaye hai." These two lines from the trailer sum up the film for me because it is a far cry of the original film by Hrishikesh Mukherjee which had subtlety throughout the film.
In the new 'Khoobsurat' Sonam Kapoor plays a clumsy, a rather loud half Punjabi-half Bengali physiotherapist who goes to an uptight royal household to treat an ailing King. The matriarch, played by Ratna Pathak Shah, runs the show there and is rather uncomfortable with Mili's clumsy, living-by-my-own-rules way. Mili also meets a young handsome prince played by Pakistani actor Fawad Khan and falls in love.
In the original film, Rekha played a bubbly girl next door who comes to vacation at her newly married sister's house. The sister's new house has a joint-family set up and a strict matriarch run it with set rules for the household. Rekha not only breaks a few rules of the house here and there but also encourages the other family members to break a few rules themselves. Needless to say, Rekha's exuberance and charm makes rest of the family members live a more carefree life and despising 'Maa ji's' set rules.
The original film had an upper middle class family of UP adapting and loving the carefree ways of a new family member in the house, while the latest one has a physiotherapist staying with a royal family to treat a patient.
While the premise is similar in both the films, the story has been cleverly changed in the remake which, in my opinion, is a very smart move by the makers of the film because comparisons between the two films and specially Sonam and Rekha's performance would always be in the favour of the original film.
Hrishkesh Mukherjee's film always represented the middle class 'bhadraloks' or educated affluent people. There would always be an element of classical music or dance or some old fashioned poetry thrown in the narrative. Remember the scene from the original 'Khoobsurat' where Ashok Kumar plays the tabla and recite a 'bol-taan' while Shashikala and Rekha dance to 'Piya Bawari'? That sequence now, in the garb of modernity, has Sonam Kapoor swaying her 'bum' in pink pajamas and white tank top to 'Anjan Ki Seeti Mein Maaro Bum Dole'. Oh, the horrors.
But perhaps, it is better not to completely copy the original film. Because no one will be able to project the humour in the way Mukherjee did in his films. His films celebrated the simplicity of the common man and his life. The story would be far more realistic so would be the treatment.
Sonam's 'Khoobsurat' is opulent in terns of its sets, story and of course the budget. She may be playing a middle-class Delhi girl but that doesn't stop her from carrying an ASOS bag or wearing a Anupama Dayal designed jacket. The original had Rekha dressed in printed churidar-kameez throughout.
I will not even get to comparing Rekha and Sonam Kapoor's acting abilities because that would be plain unfair to a stalwart who has won a National Award for her acting. And Sonam in fact has stated herself that it would be difficult to match up to the actress' performance.
While it's too early to decide whether the remake is worthy successor of the cult classic, it can safely be said that it surely lacks the subtly of the original comedy. I am not willing to write- off the remake just yet but yes, I am certain, that somewhere up there Hrishikesh Mukherjee just facepalmed himself.