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Sonam Kapoor is Disney’s newest princess. The actress plays a perky doctor who stumbles her way into prince’s heart in the live-action romantic-comedy Khoobsurat (“Beautiful“).
Kapoor plays Dr. Milli Chakravaty, a sports physiotherapist on a romantic losing streak. She’s hired by an aristocratic family to help its patriarch regain his strength from a car accident that left him wheelchair-bound for the last decade. Thirty-nine therapists have already failed at the task, so the odds are stacked against Milli.
Further working against Milli is the formality of the Rathore household. The matriarch, Nirmala (Ratna Pathak), demands strict adherence to protocol, something that chafes at Milli, who is casualness personified. Milli also has the habit of endangering priceless antiques while trying to take selfies with them.
It’s not just the rules that put Milli out but also the emotional walls the family members erect between themselves, her, and each other. Nirmala is aloof, as is her son, Vikram (Fawad Khan). The patriarch, Shekhar (Aamir Raza Hussain), isn’t interested in getting better and rebuffs Milli’s attempts to help. The only one who opens up to Milli is Vikram’s 17-year-old sister, Divya, but even she is resigned to living in a home where no one is free to speak his or her mind.
Khoobsurat follows a traditional fairy tale formula. Vibrant, opinionated Milli first wins over the household staff, then Shekhar, before eventually falling in love with Vikram. Kapoor is an excellent choice for Milli. She’s bubbly and funny without becoming an irritant. She’s someone you’d want to hang out with, even if you’d be embarrassed to be seen with someone dressed in Milli’s tacky attire.
Khan suits his role perfectly, too. He maintains a regal distance, but he’s not mean. He’s been training so long for his role as heir to the family fortune that he has trouble separating the role from the man. Khan is funny as Kapoor’s straight man, and his hair is sublime.
Kapoor and Khan make such an attractive couple that it’s a shame we don’t get to see them kiss. When the characters smooch, Kapoor’s hair always blocks their faces. I know: traditional Bollywood conventions + Disney = no kissing. Still, if the characters can say, “Shit,” we should at least get to see them lock lips.
Khoobsurat is appropriately breezy and fun, but there’s not enough substance to warrant a 130-minute runtime. Plenty of scenes could have been shortened, and a sequence in which Milli is kidnapped should have been excised entirely. Nevertheless, Khoobsurat is a good choice if you’re in the mood for something sweet.