Sami Khan’s indie drama Khoya is a captivating cascading trip through India as Indo-Canadian Roger (Rupak Ginn of TV’s Royal Pains) embarks on a quest to restore his birth history.  But, when the film isn’t washing over the audience, the movie falters and indulges in its own mystery and melodrama.

Khoya’s journey borrows from the “wandering man” work of Jim Jarmusch (Dead Man, Broken Flowers, The Limits of Control).  Sami Khan’s screenplay, however, is more expressive through its dialogue – Jarmusch allows more silence to sneak in.  The talkative nature, again, is a blessing and a curse.  Rupak Ginn’s Roger handles confrontations well;  a huge compliment considering Roger is having to probe and carry conversations with some non-English locals.  However, some acquaintances are too blunt with how much they know about Roger’s past.  Their knowledge is supposed to be a secret, but the actors can’t keep a convincing straight face.

Stilted performances aside, Khoya is organic.  This is evident during crowd scenes and quick chats with people on the street.  Movie goers will be attracted to the ambition in Sami Khan’s filmmaking and how relaxed Ginn can be while thinking on his feet.

While Khoya is a decent flick, maybe the filmmaker should create a challenge for his next film and separate himself even further from mainstream narrative conventions – stick with a basic outline and that’s it.  Sami Khan may be in the beginning stages of a feature film career, but I trust he would be able to pull it off.


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