Khoobsurat was a masterpiece directed by visionary Hrishikesh Mukherjee and it was written by Shanu Mukherjee, Ashok Rawat, and Gulzar. We all loved watching it again and again on our television screens multiple times. Some of us might have lost the count. But have you ever given a thought that the story of Manju (Played by Rekha) coming to her sister’s In-law could be Political Satire told in a very familiar way?
Though this film seems to be another feel-good cinema by Hrishi Da but if we think about the timing of the film (Post Emergency) and the character played by Dina Pathak, we can easily see what Hrishi Da was trying to say. It was actually a microstructure of a nation ( read family) ruled by authoritarian Nirmala Gupta (Dina Pathak) where the citizens (read family members) are living with all discipline until one day a rebellious relative (Read Artist) Manju ( Rekha) visits the family and stays there for few days. Slowly the family members starts realizing that even though they were fine, they are not happy because they do not have freedom to pursue their dreams. In the end a musical revolution stands up against the dictator but as it’s a beautiful revolution it ends up with a middle path.
Why “Khoobsurat” is a masterpiece because if you notice around in this country, this is what is happening. Government is telling us what to eat, what to wear, what to see and what to say. Artists are raising voice and telling people that freedom is worth fighting for. The beauty of this cinema is the balance. In the end when the character of Dina Pathak explains that why she was like this and why she was so much fond of discipline as a viewer you start feeling that even she is right and her intentions are actually good.
The song “Saare Niyam Tod do” is itself a masterpiece and should be watched separately as a piece of art. The entire film is metaphorical. And how relevant it is in today’s time. Let’s consider one song, “Sare niyam tod do”. A tyrannical king punishes a common man for sneezing, giving the logic that a petty thing like sneezing is unacceptable in the country where Ganga flows. He is enforcing ridiculous laws giving the lame excuse of a culture. Then appears a goofy and lost writer, who sneezes six times. When the king comes to know that he is a writer, he says “Inn ka saya bhi rehne na do pass mein, dafan kar do inhe itihaas mein.” How relevant it is in today’s time where the government wants to shut and eradicate all free-thinking minds, which is why it enforces such tyrannical laws, crushes basic human rights, and stops free-thinking people from speaking their mind through channels like censor board, FTII chairmanship, education ministry, and many other things. Gulzar wrote-
“Ye shayar hai sir, Dua deta hai ya duhaai deta hai”
“Sabhi kaam ulte hai iske, Din mein sota hai, Raat mein jaagta hai”
“Gum agar iska ho to hasta hai, dusare ka ho to bahut rota hai”
“Samjhe! Inka saaya bhi naa rehne do paas mein, dafan kar do inhe itihaas mein”
How contemporary and relevant are these lines. Again a cinema which entertains you but at the same time if you think deeply it generates a lot of thoughts inside you. It dreams about a world whereFather-in-law lovingly calls his daughter -in law as Gilfriend and plays tabla for another dancer bahu, where every one can question and raise voices, where everyone can be happy and free to pursue their dreams. That’s why it won Filmfare best film and best actress award for Rekha. We highly recommend you to watch this film and let us know what do you think about it.
Sometimes we really miss the great entertaining metaphor of Hrishikesh Mukerjee’s Cinema in this era. The one of the few writer’s who actually tries to bring such beautiful metaphors is Juhi Chaturvedi (Piku, Vicky Donor). Though it’s difficult to believe in anything these days. But we all want to believe that Hrishi Da will take a re-birth somewhere in India again and will soon come back to his first love – Cinema!