Khushi Hindi Movie Review

Feature Film
Nov 29, 2002 By Subhash Jha

No romantic comedy in recent years has been more appropriately named. Khushi is celebration of romance and music with two of the most sparkling lead performances seen in a film of this genre.

The sheer joy of watching Kareena Kapoor giving to her role the rich, supple hues of aggressive yearnings is joy enough. This time producer Boney Kapoor has more to offer than an extremely watchable leading lady who simply takes over the frames as though to the camera-born.

Khushi is a film providing multifarious pleasures, all pouring out in a tumble of chic designs and svelte storytelling devices.

But hold on. Storytelling isn't the word to describe where Hindi-debutant S J Suryah takes us in this dulcet joyride. If you'll look for a story in Khushi you'll end up scratching your head, and while doing so you could possible miss some of the devious give-and-take of bubbling banter between the egoistic couple Karan (Fardeen Khan) and Khushi (Kareena Kapoor).

"What's this ego?" Khushi's bucolic father (Amrish Puri) asks when Karan unwittingly offers his future father-in-law a lift .

Good question. Khushi is about the male and female ego. And since an ego is as undefinable as Kareena's charisma, the film too leaves us perplexed for a definition. It's also a film about a woman's navel and what havoc it could create when left exposed to the male gaze.

That the couple could get so worked up about the girl's navel is part of the film's innate charm and its exasperating intangibleness. We've seen innumerable boy-meets-girl films since Raj Kapoor's Bobby. But none so urbane, witty, spiky and saucy.

S J Suryah who has made the same 'story' into major blockbusters in Tamil and Telugu just lets the feelings flow out of the protagonists like unstoppered faucets. He neither forces nor coaxes the chemistry between the couple to hiss and crackle. The tremendous energy that flows out of the belligerent courtship is as intangibly definable as the magic that works between the two principal performers.

Kareena Kapoor once again proves she has no match on screen. There may be other actresses who can do this or that better. But no one can do what she can. As the headstrong, bellicose and constantly defensive Khushi she fuses tender seductiveness with a resilience and joie de vivre that quite simply takes over the screen. In some key sequences with her screen dad (Amrish Puri) and with the man destined to be her life-mate, Kareena blends craft with intutition in a way that reminds us of Geeta Bali and Sridevi. If you watch her face closely in the sequence where Fardeen combs her hair in the hospital bed you wonder what she could've done with Paro in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas.

But the real surprise of Khushi is Fardeen Khan. After years of lethargic performances, Fardeen suddenly springs a delightfully bright and contoured performance. In all their scenes together, Fardeen matches his scene-stealing co-star to make a place for himself among the most endearing star-actors on the scene today. His body language in some places, for instance when he shuffles to his car after pretending it's broken down or when he tries to make Kareena say he's her favourite person (she names Hrithik Roshan and Sachin Tendulkar) is truly a revelation.

Come to think of it, all along we've been looking at Hrithik Roshan as the perfect celulloid partner for Kareena when in fact her chemistry with Fardeen is far more exciting. Here's a partnership that's pert, precocious, passionate and captivating. Let's have more of it, please!

Director Suryah harnesses the crisp collaborative energy between his lead pair to the optimum. The mating games are cleverly worded and filmed, though some of them (like Fardeen's drunken sequence in the dorm when he tears Kareena's poster) overstay their welcome. And Johnny Lever's takeoff on Asha Bhosle and Altaf Raja set your teeth on edge.

Subhash Jha