In Praise of : Khosla ka Ghosla

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A look back at the original ‘cult’ film of Bollywood

  • Director – Dibakar Banerjee
  • Written by – Jaideep Sahni
  • Language – Hindi
  • Run Time – 135 minutes

I first watched Khosla ka Ghosla at the age of 13. The year was 2009 and it was being shown on a TV channel, 3 years after its original release in the theaters. I lived in a middle class household, a lot like the Khosla family in KKG (albeit with fewer siblings), and it remained one of the movies I absolutely loved in the first watch – with its clever jokes and relatable characters.

Then, last week I decided to re watch it, after finding it accidentally on Netflix. And once again, I allowed myself to fall for the charm of this amazingly simple yet brilliant movie. Its brilliance is on display from the opening scene, where the titular Khosla dreams about people calling him out as a petty person after his death while his wife and children seem relieved that he is dead.

From there on, the entire first half of KKG explores the psyche of a 21st century Indian middle class family. You have an old patriarch (Anupam Kher) trying to fulfill his lifelong wish of a big house, the ambitious son (Parvin Dabas) trying to chase his dreams, and various other members of family and neighbors butting in and making their presence known. But it also under delivers in the depiction of “Cherry” Khosla – the supposed protagonist. Dabas’s straight man has no chemistry with the comic duo of Kher and Ranvir Shorey (who plays the other son), while his character is flat and oftentimes boring.

It is really the second half where KKG solidifies its candidature for the pantheons of Bollywood. And the undisputed star is Boman Irani’s Mr. Khurana. While he is pure evil in the first half as he ruthlessly harasses the Khosla family for their plot of land, the second one sees him turn into a funny, enviable and loathsome caricature of himself – which is simply a more enjoyable version. Simultaneously, the movie itself turns on the head to become an elaborate, satirical heist. Navin Nischol and Nitish Pandey (Bapu & Mani) provide great support to Irani and his quirks.

Aap broker hain ya party? (Are you the broker or the seller?)

Navin Nischol utters the most memorable line of KKG

The best scene of the entire movie, where Khurana inspects a fake plot of land which our heroes are trying to sell him, is funny because he is in a situation which is simply too farcical, yet Irani sells it so well that we are forced to believe that he was fooled.

KKG’s biggest strength is that it allows all its characters to propel the story forward and bring about the emotional touch, while letting the premise provide most of the comedy. It has a stellar cast, an amazing director, a great story and a timeless good vs evil dynamic where the good eventually prevails.

But for many like me, KKG holds a special place because it allows middle class Indians to dream, albeit briefly, of defeating the corrupt, powerful men at their own game. Not by violence or long speeches, but through sheer ingenuity, will power and a little bit of old good luck. It lets a middle class Indian to dream of becoming the superhero that his or her middle class drams can afford. And don’t we all love affordable dreams?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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