`Wafaa` - tacky tale unbefitting of Rajesh Khanna (IANS Film Review)
As I watched Rajesh Khanna wooing Laila
Khan in "Wafaa", images from all the old films of the erstwhile
superstar I grew up watching were crowding and colliding in my mind.
Surely this old, henna-haired man with a jaded face could not be the ultimate
superstar who serenaded legendary beauties like Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz, Zeenat
Aman, Raakhee and Asha Parekh with songs that R.D. Burman composed and Kishore
Kumar sang to infinite immortality.
Nope, this was an imposter....This was a fumbling out-of-sync man on the screen,
who could do with regular visits to the gym rather than this romp in the bed
with a starlet.
Many years ago, Rajesh Khanna had done a generation-challenged love story called
"Anokha Rishta". A real-life scandal had reportedly occurred on the
sets when the starlet playing the superstar`s Lolita accused her co-star of
Not much was heard of poor Sabia thereafter, except when she re-surfaced some
years later as Akshay Kumar`s co-star in Abbas-Mustan`s "Khiladi".
Back then Akshay wasn`t the Khanna`s son-in-law. And back then "Wafaa"
would`ve shamed less people around the once-was-superstar than today.
It`s not the content of "Wafaa" that shocks so much as the lurid
treatment of the theme that leaves no room to doubt the film`s makers
Films about ambitious women gold-diggers who marry into money, have come and
gone. Bindu tried to do Dilip Kumar out of his millions in B.R. Chopra`s "Dastaan".
Bobby Deol was quietly cuckolded by Amisha Patel in Abbas-Mustan`s "Humraaz".
But these were predominantly suspense thrillers meant to contour the dark, evil
side of femininity. "Wafaa" finds Rajesh Khanna`s performance
It isn`t his fault, really. It`s the presentation and packaging. They clearly
indicate an embarrassing absence of positive intentions.
Tragically, the plot in "Wafaa" kills not the tycoon in the film, but
the career of the actor who plays the cuckolded tycoon.
The character lusting for Lolita in "Wafaa" is more like Shakti Kapoor
from the South Indian remakes in the 1980s than any of the smooth-and-sensitive
lover-boy roles Rajesh Khanna played in earlier decades.
Yes, this has got to be an imposter. Rajesh Khanna once lived in our cinema.