Hoshiyarpur can’t take it! A young girl inherits a sex clinic and her life changes.
She draws strange stares from people, is shamed by her relatives, upsets her mother and sister, and suffers from “performance anxiety” over handling such a big responsibility.
The film starts with Hakeem Tarachand aka Kulbhushan Kharbanda advertising and advocating for a more open approach to sex and sex education. He is banished from the Hindustani Unani Research Centre on charges of obscenity .
Still mamaji continues with his practice and has been successfully running his clinic with his “shafa” and “nuskhe” with a steady stream of loyal patients. Twenty years later, as his niece Baby Bedi (Sonakshi Sinha) is bequeathed the sex clinic, nothing much has changed.
Especially, the constricted thinking of a society that still hushes up the three letter word with great gusto.
The most striking thing about Khandaani Shafakhana is how good Sonakshi Sinha is.
A fine testimony to her skills, Sonakshi as Baby Bedi seamlessly stitches together the actor-character divide and melts into her role. Baby Bedi is instantly likable. She has dreams but with a firm hold on reality .
While trying to hustle up a living, working for a pharmaceutical company and keeping her greedy chachaji from trying to grab her house, Sonakshi displays absolute finesse in her performance. Her brother played by the inimitable Varun Sharma is a delight with his impeccable comic timing.
Popular singer and rapper Badshah makes his Bollywood acting debut as Gabru Ghatak and it helps that he literally plays himself on screen. The casting, in fact, has been perfect .
From Annu Kapur aka lawyer Tagra who rarely disappoints to the nicely understated performance of Priyanshu Jora as Baby’s friend. Nadira Babbar, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Rajesh Sharma and Rajiv Gupta all are terrific in their roles.
“Baat toh ker” becomes the film’s message even literally when Baby Bedi decides to distribute pamphlets advertising her clinic, asking people to not shy away from their sexual disorders . Why can’t we treat it like any other “bimari” she asks as a matter of fact in one scene.
Director Shilpi Dasgupta and writer Gautam Mehra do a great job in dealing with a tricky subject without getting preachy.
Mehra’s writing has humour and communicates its message effectively. And while some might find the pace too indulgent and the courtroom melodrama striking a lightly discordant note nearing the climax, it is this unhurried narrative that also helps build up the characters and showcase their sensibilities beautifully.
It is a joyous sight to see some terrific actors come together in a film that makes nice observations about how our society continues to be unreasonably hypocritical when it comes to something as natural and normal as sex. Sonakshi Sinha is absolute gold !