Movie review: Khap


Story: ‘Khap’ is based on the traditional custom of massacre, which exists in the villages of UP, Harayana etc. The film highlights the much talked about issue of Honour Killings, as there are still quite a few villages that follow this cruel age-old custom. The story revolves around Ria (Yuvika Chowdhury) and Kush(Sarrtaj), who are in love with each other. Ria’s father Madhur (Moonish Bahl) left his village sixteen years back due to the custom of honour killing, due to which one of his friends was killed. On the other hand, Choudhary (Om Puri), who happens to be the Khap panchayat’s president is also Ria’s grandfather, though she happens to be unaware of the fact.  In the meantime, the news channels start highlighting the death of Veer and Surili (casualties of honour killing). There comes a twist in the story, when Madhur is chosen to lead a commission to investigate the suspicious deaths of Veer Surili. Moreover, his daughter Ria marries Kush. Ria is oblivious of the fact that they belong to the same ‘Khap,’ which creates further trouble for the family. The film progresses to find out if Choudhary is able to stand against his granddaughter or gather enough courage to go against the ‘pratha’.

Story treatment:   The issue raised in the film is of a very serious. Keeping the sensitivity of the issue in mind, the movie could have been treated in a much better way. The transition from one scene to the other is not smooth at all. Madhur’s phone ringtone ‘sare jahan se accha’ is not able to evoke any patriotic feelings, even though his phone rings all the time! Too much of effort has gone into trying to show a little bit of everything, which makes the movie lose it’s actual essence. Internet chat rooms, which are very outdated now, could have been replaced by social networking sites. The director could have done away with the meaningless songs and focused more on the content.

Star CastThe star cast is good and strong, but most of actors have been wasted. The hero of parallel cinema, Om Puri shines while everyone else fails to make an impact. Yuvika still needs to brush up her acting skills and newcomer Sarrtaj looks like a complete misfit.  He needs to undergo a lot of preparation. Govind Namdev comes out strong as a ‘Khap’ believer and delivers some intense scenes. Anooradha Patel, who is seen after a long time, deserved a better screen presence. Yuvika and Sarrtaj as lovebirds, lack chemistry.

Direction:  Coming from a television background, with serials like ‘Astitva’, Hasratein, and ‘Justajoo’ and a film ‘Stop’ to his credit, the director doesn’t quite deliver what’s expected from him. With all good actors in his kitty, he could have done a better job. Ajai should’ve done away with the unnecessary bits here and there, they only make the flick a pain for the audience. But, kudos to him for having the courage to come up with such a subject, in spite of the Khap panchayat threatening him in the initial days. The transition from one scene to the other, required a better tact.  

Dialogues / Cinematography / Music:  The dialogues have been written by Vijay Verma, and lack punch. They fail to create an impression, while some of the dialogues seem way too melodramatic. The music has been composed by Annujj Kappoo and features ace singers like Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shaan, Rekha Bhardwaj, Shreya Ghoshal, but not a single track is able to leave a mark.  

3 Ups and 3 Downs:    If you really have nothing to do this weekend and have seen all the movies, then perhaps you could give this a try. It will at least impart you some knowledge about what ‘Khap’ is. Om Puri and Govind Namdev’s performances prove to be a breather. And if at all, you can find yourself something better to do this weekend then, this one’s a perfect ‘miss’.

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