Pro Tools
•Register a festival or a film
Submit film to festivals Promote for free or with Promo Packages

FILMFESTIVALS | 24/7 world wide coverage

Welcome !

Enjoy the best of both worlds: Film & Festival News, exploring the best of the film festivals community.  

Launched in 1995, relentlessly connecting films to festivals, documenting and promoting festivals worldwide.

Working on an upgrade soon.

For collaboration, editorial contributions, or publicity, please send us an email here

User login


RSS Feeds 

Martin Scorsese Masterclass in Cannes services and offers


Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Khela Hobe, Review: Om Puri lives, six years after his death

Khela Hobe, Review: Om Puri lives, six years after his death

Your gut reaction on seeing a film like Khela Hobe is to lambast it, tear it to shreds and dump it in the bin. You can have a field day showcasing your linguistic prowess and delivering a lecture on the prolific use of demeaning adjectives. But somewhere along the line, a modicum of empathy surfaces. This is largely due to the passing away of lead actor Om Puri, a friend, who died over six years ago. Obviously, this film is more than six years old. Maybe they were planning to shoot many more scenes with Om, and his untimely death put paid to all their plans. Khela Hobe does have some soft star power besides Om Puri, in the shape of Mugdha Godse, Rati Agnihotri and Manoj Joshi. Manoj has the semblance of a role while Rati Agnihotri is mis-cast and wasted. Mugdha is the surprise packet

It is a tribute to the forbearance of distributors and exhibitors that they are releasing the film tomorrow. It will require similar forbearance for the film to stay at the cinemas at all. The problems of the film begin with the title itself. Khela Hobe literally translates into ‘There Will Be Play”, from the original Bengali. But why Bengali? The Khela or the Play in reference is election. A voice over tells you that in Raghavgad (which is variously defined as a village, a district, a small town and a city), elections happen ever-so-often: for the Parliament, for the Legislative Assemblies, for the Municipality, in colleges, etc. Well, I guess such elections happen in most parts of India. And it is clear from the narrative that one such election is going to take place now: that of the ‘Chairman.’ But things get queered up before even the nominations are filed because it is found that a madwoman in the village has been raped, and the bulge has begun to show.

Nothing to worry. Politician Bachchulal takes control of the situation and declares that he will look after the madwoman and her child, till it is born. He cashes in on the situation and rides a sympathy wave in the run-up to the elections. Bachchulal will have to contend with Girish Gupta, who has been a Chairman earlier. Also bent on fighting the election for the third time, on money borrowed from his in-laws, is Fareekbhai. Jumping into the fray is nautch-girl Shabnam, alias Shabbo, who has a score to settle with Thakur Virendra Pratap. Her answer to Bachchul is a DNA test to find out who impregnated the madwoman. At stake is ‘Chairmanship’, which will enable the winner to misappropriate large tracts of land.

Story and dialogue comes from the pen of Ravi Kumar. The story had the germ of an idea, and some novelty value, but this is an incomplete film, so we cannot really blame Ravi Kumar. On the other hand, the dialogue has so many erased sounds, perhaps necessary to get a U/A certificate. Sunil C. Sinha has probably been left with the task of completing a film that is at least half incomplete. In order to try and maintain the flow, he has inserted what are called NG (Not Good) takes. Many shots are incomplete. Om Puri’s sync sound is used, which is often slurry and sounds like the voice of an inebriated man. Perhaps he was too ill and yet obliged the makers of this film. Most of his shots do not have a definite ending, and hang in the air. The backbone of the story, the madwoman, is not shown at all, and when she is shown, towards the end, she seems to be someone else.

Om Puri as Fareek Bhai would probably say a few unpleasant things about this performance, had he been around to watch Khela Hobe. Mughda Godse as Shabbo has an ill-defined role, but the meatiest. She emerges the heroine by the time the film ends. Manoj Joshi as Bachchulal is hopelessly type-cast in a uni-dimensional role. Rushad Rana as Thakur Virendra Pratap looks impressive, but there’s not much in the acting column. Rati Agnihotri as Fareeq’s wife Rukhsana is cast as a shrew, with not too many scenes to get into histrionics. Sanjay Batra as Girish Gupta is quite convincing. Ratan Mayal as the doctor is not. Sanjay Sonu, Shefali and Aaryan form the supporting cast.

Here are the credits:

Music by:  Sanjiv Chaturvedi

                    Ajay Keshwani

                    Rakesh Trivedi

                    Harsh Raj Harsh

Lyrics by:  Sanjiv Chaturvedi

                   Rakesh Trivedi

                   Ravi Kumar

Cinematography: Ravi Bhat                                                                                  

Editor: Shiva Bayappa

Costumes: Praveen, Rita

Background Score: Rajendra Shiv

Choreographer: Vicki Khan

Shooting Locations: Mumbai, Banaras

Media Relation: Ashwani Shukla, Altair Media

If anyone or anything deserves credit for the release of this film, it is destiny.

Rating: *

User images

About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


View my profile
Send me a message