The ApunKaChoice movie review of KhapThe thing with issue-based films is that the director needs to learn the art of tightrope-walk through a potential minefield of obvious clichés and commercial trappings. A tilt too much to artistic adherence could earn the film a tag of docu drama and consequently scare away the movie buffs, and a kowtow to commercial formula may make the issue facile and trivial. That’s precisely the problem with director Ajai Sinha’s film Khap, made with good intentions but poor sensitivity.
The film, as you all must know by now, deals with the burning issue of honour killings in villages whenever young girls and boys marry within the same gotra. What’s murder for the modern world is, however, purgation for the Khaps of the villages still steeped in age-old customs and social mores.
Om Puri plays the one such authoritarian Khap of a village. His son (Mohnish Bahl) didn’t approve of his dad’s regressive mindset and separated years ago to pursue social activism.
At the start itself, director Ajai Sinha lays out the cards with a gruesome honour killing of a couple trying to elope. Then we are treated to an internet romance between a couple (Uvika Chaudhary and Sartaj) who fall in love, only to find out that they hail from the same clan. To make matters worse, the girl is the daughter of the same headstrong Khap (Om Puri) who is dead against same gotra marriage. How will this Khap react when chickens come home to roost?
The treatment given by director Ajai Sinha to the subject is facile at best. Weaving a threadbare plot from newspaper headlines and peppering it with the routine songs and a candyfloss love story robs the film of the gravity that it might have had if in the hands of an adept director like a Kashyap or Bhardwaj. On top of it, the director also tries to absolve the Khaps with a long monologue (courtesy Alok Nath) about keeping the gene pool clean by banning same gotra marriages.
The songs are absolutely unwanted and performance strictly tolerable.
Khap, in a nutshell, trivializes a serious issue with its formulaic treatment.