TELL ME O KKHUDA

Cast: Esha Deol, Arjan Bajwa, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Farooque Shaikh, Deepti Naval 

Director: Hema Malini

Tell Me O Kkhuda directed by Hema Malini feels so outdated, you’re hardly surprised it’s a rehash of an earlier film she’d directed, Dil Aashna Hai, all the way back in 1992. The premise of both films is exactly the same – an adopted girl sets off on a quest to find her birth parents. The director’s own daughter Esha Deol plays the protagonist of this new film, whose determined but frankly harebrained mission takes her to the doorsteps of three different men, one of whom might well be her father. 

Predictable and formatted, the film has an episodic feel to it, and works strictly on an unintentionally comical level. Vinod Khanna is a Rajasthan royal at whose estate Esha competes in a camel race to ingratiate herself to her possible daddy. Rishi Kapoor is a Turkey-based hotelier who manipulates her into curing his cuckoo wife. And Dhamendra is a Goa gangster whose rival kidnaps her to get even with the don. 

The film fails to connect at an emotional level, because the story’s treated more like a series of adventures for the young girl, than the emotional roller-coaster ride it needed to be. The dialogues are archaic, the tone is melodramatic, and the performances consistently embarrassing. 

The main culprit here is the sloppy script. The writers interrupt the basic storyline with such repeated distractions as a romantic track between Esha and Arjan Bajwa, a long-drawn sermon against female foeticide, and even some badly timed humor from Johnny Lever. The film’s conflict is resolved conveniently, and Esha’s character is reunited with her biological parents in a cheesy scene that winks at the real-life parallels it obviously draws. 

Intended as a starring vehicle for Esha Deol, this 80s-style melodrama might have benefited from smarter writing and slicker direction. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for Hema Malini’s Tell Me O Kkhuda. Plodding on for what seems like eternity, this is an earnest but exhausting film. 


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