About the story: Small-time crook Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) has no idea about a real family-life as he grew up in an orphanage which he even today still supports with regular donations as a token of his gratitude. When he one day spoils a deal of drug boss Jogiya Seth (Paresh Rawal), the latter abducts a little girl from the orphanage and thus blackmails Sanju to make up for his loss: Within one month, Sanju has to pay five million rupees to him. Sanju’s buddy Natwar (Johny Lever) suggests that Sanju should pose as Sanjay Shastri, a remote American relative of the wealthy industrial family Choudhary, thus gain access to their house and then rob them. And really, the extended family, headed by Dadaji Dinanath (Anjaan) and Dadiji Sudha (Farida Jalal), takes Sanju in, and soon the whole family loves this maverick guy who effortlessly manages to solve big and small family problems. Especially shy wallflower Shivani (Urmila Matondkar), daughter of Dinanath’s eldest son Dilip (Om Puri), under the guidance of Sanju blossoms out as a life-loving and self-confident beauty. More and more, Sanju realizes how dear this family has become to his heart. But still the little orphan Munni is at the mercy of Jogiya...
Khoobsurat (= beautiful) is a true feel-good movie in which Sanjay as a crook with heart wants to cheat a family, but instead brings love and sunshine into a house where everyone fights each other, and reconciles them one after the other. Moreover, he teaches a wallflower to realize her own beauty and to face her life. Isn’t that a sort of future Aman spirit (Kal Ho Naa Ho) breezing through the film? I bet that Karan Johar has seen Khoobsurat... Sanju is a very lovingly shaped film character, a perfect mixture of angel and devil, and when Natwar in the final scene tells Sanju, "Your heart is your weakness and your strength", he hits the nail right on the head. (Is it a conicidence that this description of a role named "Sanju" also matches Sanjay himself?)
With Urmila Matondkar Sanjay harmonizes wonderfully a second time after Daud, and the rest of the Choudhary family is also casted with very likeable characters. So it’s simply fun to watch how a man who never knew what a family life is like now enjoys this new experience in his life and, moreover, equips the family with new purposes in life. The only little drop of bitterness in the script is the fact that during the two months which Sanju spends with the Choudhary family, little Munni has to stay captured with Jogiya. Her suffering doesn’t seem to matter.
For Sanjay, Khoobsurat was a chance to play a lovable guy again and to show his humour and, of course, his emotions – especially at the end of the film he once again lets us look deep down into his soul in a way only he is able to. His outfits are an emotional roller coaster – sleeveless shirts which make him still look hot at the age of nearly 40, cool motorbike outift with shades (during the song "Aye Shivani" which Sanjay interprets himself), Swiss hat (or rather a hoot? *g*) and lace shirts and ruched shirts with which Sanjay, instead of wearing them, should have slapped his costume designer. And as we have reached the point of nagging: Rarely it is as annoying as in Khoobsurat when songs are without subs. We see Sanju teaching Shivani six of the seven steps to love (the seventh one she shall find herself), but as this happens in a song and WEG didn’t consider subtitles as necessary, these six steps remain the secret of Sanju, Shivani and the Hindi speaking part of the audience. Actually, this is inacceptable.*
But, so be it. The movie is nevertheless very enjoyable thanks to a high spirited cast and an outstanding Sanjay Dutt. During the film you can laugh a lot, but for the final you should hold enough hankies ready – it’s simply khoobsurat!
Produced by Rahul Sughand; Directed by Sanjay Chhel
154 Min.; DVD: WEG, English Subtitles (not for the songs)
*Thank God, there's a Shemaroo release now, and Shemaroo knew better: The songs got subtitles too. Thanks for that!