Sat, 20 Dec 2008 15:13:02 GMT

'Wafaa': Pathetic!

Watching this pathetic movie, who'd guess that Rajesh Khanna was once a huge star for whom the term 'superstar' was coined?  Today, you see him in 'Wafaa', in awful clothes, straw hair, idiotic glasses, stripping to show his flabby body, and wonder what made him subject himself to this indignity.

'Wafaa': Pathetic!

Review by Deepa Gahlot

Director Rakesh Sawant has not brought the forgotten superstar to this era, he has gone back to his age, but sadly for Khanna, times have changed and cinema is no longer what it used to be in his time. However bad some of his films were, because of his loyal fan-following he could get away with clumsy wardrobe, gawky dance steps and hammy acting.

Now the minute he appears on screen in tacky monogrammed role, white plastic sunglasses and wooden air rifle, trying to look all slick and macho, you smother a giggle.

He plays Amrit (a nostalgic name, the title of one of his hit films) a rich Bangkok-based businessman, married to a young woman Beena (Laila Khan). They live in a furniture-packed house that looks like a godown in Chor Bazaar; there are enormous carved sofas, plastic fruit bowls, fake flowers everywhere, antique brass rotary phone, ancient chandeliers and garish upholstery, plus a grand piano and a 'gold' cage in which a parrot stands for Beena's helpless state.

She has riches and "naukar chaakar" as the husband points out, though none is visible except a driver, but the desi Madame Bovary is lonely. So talk to the parrot and play with Tommy the pet dog, says the husband as he goes off to make "1000 million crore deals that will get him into Fortune 500."

But Beena's problem is not her garish make-up and 1970 wardrobe; it's the sad fact of her husband getting an asthma attack every time she tries to get intimate. Meanwhile the driver Raj (unknown hunk) bathes in the mansion's pool in John Abraham trunks, so Beena throws herself at him, and then in 'The Postman Always Rings Twice' fashion, they plan to kill the husband.

After the funeral is done, and Beena and Raj finish their dancing with joy, Amrit turns up very much alive in the same white plastic sunglasses that he is so fond of sporting. Cops Tinu Anand and a Sudesh Berry as Inspector Hairy (sic) try and try to prove that the man's an imposter but can't find a chink in his armour. Those who have seen Hollywood's 'Chase a Crooked Shadow' (1958) and Bollywood's 'Dhuan' (1981) would know what's coming.

Everything about the film is dated and shoddy from the sets, to the song picturisations, to the hilarious sight of the hero swigging Black Label from the bottle.

Most actors in the film – apart from the over-painted leading lady and the driver, there is a sister from "Umrika" and her boyfriend—all look like they were picked up from some struggler's camp in suburban Mumbai.

Some Rajesh Khanna fans, out of some misplaced nostalgia, might go in to see the film…and wipe out their memories of the superstar.

Source: India Syndicate

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