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Lahore review: It just doesn't work

Lahore review: It just doesn't work

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Thursday 18 March 2010

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Movie Title

Lahore

Director

Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan

Star Cast

Aanaahad, Shraddha Das, Farooq Sheikh, Nafisa Ali, Shraddha Nigam, Saurabh Shukla

Lahore, at its very core, explores the sensitive relationship between sports and politics. More succinctly, it delves into sports and the tumultuous ties between India and Pakistan.

India?s kickboxing federation coach (Farooque Sheikh) takes the interference of politicians in the players? selections with a nonchalant attitude. He, in turn, uses the media to his advantage. The coach has faith in an emerging talent Dheeru (Sushant Singh) whose younger brother Veeru (Anaahad) is a cricketing star.

In a crucial kickboxing match, Dheeru is set against a known Pakistani champ (Mukesh Rishi) and loses his life. (As a manipulative trick, we are shown that he was to wed his fianc? on returning from the tournament.) It is now to be determined whether it was a deliberate attempt by his opponent to win the match or an accident.

In the next tournament, brother Veeru is set to avenge his brother?s death. He switches sports and, incredibly, is accepted into the kickboxing team. In true-blue filmi fashion, his `final combat? takes place against his brother?s killer.

What happens next is the most important portion of the film - unfortunately forming too little time of the movie.

The boxing matches are unimaginatively shot. Sports movies thrive on getting the viewer involved, and here, each match looks like the other.

Technically, the film is full of clumsy shots and bad dubbing. In any case, it?s a story whose essence has been portrayed too many times already to warrant another viewing.

The film is distinctly patriotic, and it does take sides. By showing the competing side (Pakistan) as being manipulative and unscrupulous, the film is making a point already made in hundreds of jingoistic films.

Characterisation is one-dimensional. The politicians are always scowling, the hero is larger-than-life, the villain is immediately hateable, the mother constantly sobbing and so on. The cast gives earnest performances, though.

Farooque Sheikh adds nuances to his role as the coach and mentor. Leading man Anaahad is pretty good, as is Shraddha Das, who plays the Pakistani team?s psychiatrist and Veeru?s love interest. Shraddha Nigam as The Girlfriend (constantly hovering around her lover, with no background or track of her own) is over-the-top, and Sushant Singh has done far better otherwise. Nafisa Ali, Saurabh Shukla, Nirmal Pandey, Ashish Vidyarthi, and Kelly Dorjee are handed insignificant roles.

Writer and debut director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan?s film is a terrible waste of an opportunity to make a layered film about sports affecting relations between countries. Sadly, Lahore doesn?t work - not as a sport film or as a patriotic or political one.

Rating: 1.5 stars

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