'Khoya Khoya Chand' attempts to recreate the magical world of Hindi cinema as it existed during the Guru Dutt era. I am tempted to say that it is a 'different' film, except there have been so many different films lately that the word can no longer be applied to most movies. It is an interesting story, and well told, though the second half could have done with crisper editing.
It is the story of the aspiring young star Nikhat, her journey from obscurity to fame and then her growing dependence on alcohol as her stardom lessens; of the men who accompany her / exploit her at various phases during this journey. According to news reports, the screenplay is loosely based on the story of Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman, sprinkled with excerpts from Meena Kumari and Madhubala's lives.*
The sets, costumes and music recreate the look and feel of an era. Apart from three absolutely delightful new songs - 'Khoya Khoya Chand', 'Yeh Nigahein' and 'Thirak Thirak', there are popular songs from old Hindi movies constantly playing in the background. There are references to stars of that time, and scenes that are respectful nods to classic movies of that era.
Each individual in the ensemble cast holds his own - Rajat Kapur, Vinay Pathak, Shiney Ahuja, Soha Ali Khan etc. Though Soha's acting has been panned by many reviewers, I thought she suited the role and was quite natural as Nikhat. The movie has some lovely dialogues - most of them delivered either by Saurabh Shukla essaying the role of a Punjabbi producerr, or by Shiney Ahuja as the writer Zafar. Soha Ali Khan, by contrast, has many overdramatised filmi dialogues, though she manages to make you believe in Nikhat in spite of them.
All in all, definitely worth a watch.
* (Note: Wonder why they left out Nutan ? Moral of the story : Good girls have no fun in their youth and no movies are made about them once they pass away.)
Zenobia D. Driver