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Lamhaa review: The statistics move you more than the film

Lamhaa review: The statistics move you more than the film

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 16 July 2010

Movie Title

Lamhaa review: The statistics move you more than the film

Director

Rahul Dholakia

Star Cast

Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor, Shernaz Patel, Aman Verma

You're wondering how seriously you should take this film, when bang in the middle of talks of murder plots and violence, Sanjay Dutt says to Bipasha Basu: Ek aur baat, aap behad khoobsoorat hain.

They are no longer the characters they set out to play, but a Hindi film hero and heroine. Sanjay Dutt's intro is full-on drama; he is often photographed in slow-mo with dark sunglasses. What's going on?

Dutt plays an Indian Intelligence Officer posing as a journalist in Kashmir. The idea is to unearth a conspiracy, a violence aiming to transcend the one in '89.

We meet Haji (Anupam Kher), a fanatical political leader who is grooming Aziza (Basu) to follow in his footsteps. She leads a female fidayeen outfit.

What we see over the next two hours is a hollow plot playing itself out self-seriously.

We see the village of half-widows, where the women whose husbands were picked up for random questioning never returned. We see slimy politicians on both sides, we learn that the Indian government is pumping in hundreds of crores into Kashmir year after year.

Everyone wants a piece of the pie; it benefits too many to keep Kashmir burning. But the severely complex Kashmir issue cannot be articulated with a flaky plot and skimming-over-the-surface representations.

All you have is shock value: make-shift hospitals in garages where bombs are planted in children, women yearning for their sons unsure whether they're dead or alive, a young recruit shot dead for trying to run away, the Indian army shooting innocent civilians.

Rahul Dholakia's (Parznia) treatment of the film is inconsistent. For the beginning,he uses the oldest trick in the book - using an AV presentation with photos of the baddies.

Then on we see a history lesson, told too quickly and packing in too much information within a few minutes.

In the middle, it turns into a Bollywood thriller, and at times it turns into a film yearning for the cause of Kashmir.

Honestly, a dry, 'Kashmir is the most dangerous place on Earth, and the most beautiful' isn't exactly putting forth a novel point. Also politicians going on carping, 'elections sar par hai', is so '80s.

Another dialogue says dramatically, 'Jahanum aur jannat ka faasla hai sirf ek goli'.

Too many songs (even though melodious) take away from the credibility of the narrative. The background score (Sanjay Chowdhury) is sorely disappointing. Cinematography is interesting, capturing Kashmir's atmospherics in a subtle manner.

Sanjay Dutt is unconvincing as the Intelligence officer, unable to drop his real persona for the character. His dialogue delivery appears strangely laboured, and the performance lackluster.

Bipasha Basu lights up the screen with her earnest performance. Kunal Kapoor is an interesting casting choice for the subversive leader, and the actor delivers.

Not wanting to take away anything from the commendable making of this picture that you witness as the credits roll (the crew has actually shot in Kashmir), it is difficult to recommend the film when the statistics at the end move you more than the film.

Rating: Two stars

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