The Hakim Of Hoshiarpur
There are ads hidden in the newspapers, and pamphlets plastered on walls—so-called ‘experts’ promising to solve all sexual problems. But people use weird euphemisms for the ‘dirty’ act, so that even a patient at a sex clinic refers to his sperm sample as “wiggle-woggle.”
Shilpi Dasgupta’s film Khandaani Shafakhana tries to use comedy to lecture against prudishness, but cannot manage the comedy or handle the ensuing drama.
The legendary Hakim ‘Mamaji’ Tarachand of Hoshiarpur (Kulbhshan Kharbanda) is revered by his patients and respected by the Unani medical fraternity, till he starts advertising the sex cures of his Khandaani Shafakhana (Family Health Clinic). Then he is fired from the Unani college, and murdered by a patient whose was cured by the Hakim and gained more virility than he could handle.
According to his strange will, his niece Baby Bedi (Sonakshi Sinha) would inherit the property (a beautiful old haveli), provided she runs the clinic for six months. If an elderly man faced such disapproval, how can a young woman get away with it? But the Bedi family – mother (Nadira Babbar) and good-for-nothing brother (Varun Sharma)—are in danger of being evicted from their home. Baby’s job as a medical rep does not earn enough, so on the insistence of the lawyer, Tagra (Annu Kapoor), she secretly starts going to the clinic and tries to deal with his sheepish patients, including rap star Gabru Ghatack (Badshaah—in a scene-stealing role), who visits the clinic under cover of darkness, to protect his image. Just because a love interest is needed, there is the handsome lemonade maker (Priyansh Jora) next door.
The idea of the film is rather interesting– and like Vicky Donor and Shubhmangal Savdhan, tries to bring sex out of the closet, so to say, but it doesn’t work, mainly because the humour is lame, and Baby Bedi wears an expression like she just smelled a dead rat.
Once it gets over the ‘hawww’ parts of a woman walking through a crowded bazaar with men leering at her, to climb the dingy stairs to the clinic, and various relatives looking down at her, Dasgupta (and the writer Gautam Mehra), make Baby suddenly discover her ability to instantly diagnose ailments and replicate Mamaji’s cures, and also decide that sex should be talked about openly. Which lands her in court for obscenity and dispensing medicine without Unani medical training or a licence—which, in a country full of quacks, is a serious offence. If this was not enough, Baby then also makes a case for sex education.
In the end, the film with all its bold evangelizing intentions, says nothing of note, and leaves the actors to wander about the maze in which they find themselves