Many storytellers have, in the past, narrated stories about terrorists and their nefarious and despicable plans. But let me state one thing categorically. You haven't watched a more profound, a more thought-provoking, a more dramatic story on this subject before Kurbaan. It's not just the most powerful film to come out of Dharma Productions, it's the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry this year, thus far.
Kurbaan tries to penetrate into the psyche of not just the terrorist, but also someone who has been a helpless spectator all this while. This film is sure to spark off discussions and debates, although it must also be noted that it doesn't take sides or gets preachy.
Rensil D'Silva has chosen a burning issue for his directorial debut, which is a complete departure from Karan Johar's earlier films. For some inexplicable reasons, parallels are being drawn with Fanaa (Aamir Khan, Kajol) and New York (John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Katrina Kaif), but the fact remains that barring the backdrop of terrorism, there's no similarity with those films.
I've often felt that certain films are beyond box-office. Movies are not meant to merely entertain, but enlighten and educate as well. They need to prick your conscience and in the process, make an attempt to make this world a better place. Kurbaan does just that and for this very reason, it deserves a double thumbs up.
Final word? Drop everything else you're doing to watch Kurbaan. Movies like these need to be made, encouraged and lauded.
Avantika (Kareena Kapoor) is a teacher at a university in Delhi. She has come back from New York where she teaches, because her father [Aakash Khurana) has suffered a heart attack. During this period, she meets a Professor called Ehsaan Khan (Saif Ali Khan). Soon, they begin seeing each other and love blossoms.
A few months later, Avantika receives a call from her university in New York, asking her to come back. Avantika breaks the news to Ehsaan. He, in turn, tells her he doesn't mind coming to the States with her. But first they need to get married.
Soon after the marriage, they leave to start a new life in New York. They buy a house in an Indian neighbourhood and move in. Just as they are setting up home, their conservative Muslim neighbours invite them over for dinner. The next morning, Salma (Nauheed Cyrusi), one of the women Avantika met the night before at the dinner, visits her under the pretext of gifting her sweets.
When Avantika invites her in, Salma tells her that she is in grave danger. Nothing is what it seems. Salma pleads with Avantika to help her. What follows next is a series of incidents that sucks Avantika into a vortex of danger and intrigue. As her life spirals out of control, Avantika realises that she is a pawn in a huge game.
Kurbaan has two stories running concurrently - the love story between Saif and Kareena and the story of terrorists. Rensil sets the stage in the initial 15 minutes itself, after which there's a twist in the tale every 15-20 minutes, which catches you completely unaware. Rensil doesn't borrow from the past, which makes the proceedings thoroughly captivating.
The highpoint is the 35-minute climax, which leaves you spellbound. The culmination to the story shakes you completely, largely because it's pragmatic and has been executed most logically as well. In fact, filming the climax at the various underground tube stations must've been the toughest challenge for the director.
On the flip side, Kurbaan caters more to the intelligentsia or the thinking viewer and might not be lapped up whole-heartedly by those who survive on the staple diet of hardcore masala fares.
Some of the finest technicians in the business are associated with Kurbaan. Hemant Chaturvedi's cinematography is super. The film bears an international look all through. Salim-Sulaiman's music is well integrated in the narrative. At least two tracks merit a mention - Shukran Allah and Ali Maula. Anurag Kashyap and Niranjan Iyengar's dialogue are superb. The lines enhance the impact of several sequences. Thrills are, again, in sync with the mood of the film.
Kurbaan is embellished with superlative performances. Saif is extraordinary in a role that only proves his versatility once again. If he won your heart with a winning performance in Love Aaj Kal a few months ago, you need to watch this supremely talented actor underplay his part so beautifully in Kurbaan. As for Kareena, Kurbaan reiterates one fact yet again: She's the best in the business. No two opinions on that! Watch her get those emotional sequences right, it's incredible. Here's a performance that truly merits the highest praise and admiration, besides fetching her awards and accolades.
Vivek Oberoi is fantastic. Matching Saif and Kareena at every step, Kurbaan should be the turning point in Vivek's career. It's a difficult role to portray and only an actor with a wide range could've portrayed this part so effectively. Om Puri is top notch and so is Kirron Kher. Kirron is marvellous, especially in the penultimate scene. Dia Mirza, Nauheed Cyrusi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda lend credibility to their brief roles.
On the whole, Kurbaan is the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry in 2009, so far. The film has a captivating plot, gripping screenplay, super performances and a climax that shakes you up completely. Watching this movie should be on top of your agenda this week.
Verdict: Four stars