Sunday, May 27, 2007

Shootout at Lokhandwalla

Its gritty, realistic but completely pointless. I hate being misled or ripped off and this feeling was highly prominent as I was walking out of the cinema hall.

The name should’ve been ‘all shoot-outs in Mumbai’ or ‘every encounter in Mumbai from 1990-93’. The opening scene shows a PYT somberly telling us about the shoot-out at Lokhandwala – how 3000 rounds were fired, 112 people endangered, 6 gangsters killed etc. Bunkum, bakwaas ! We witnessed about 5000 rounds being fired, about 20 chase sequences through the slums of Mumbai, about 50 quick deaths and 20 really gruesome ones. And you know what ? I felt nothing for anyone, for any character on the screen. I felt no sympathy or trepidation or any other emotion as I watched one human being kill or maim each other. Because no character is developed, even for the main characters, we have no clue what they are like, what drives them, what makes them do the things they do. The movie just stumbles from one killing / one incident to another with item numbers (4 very boring tuneless songs) used in place of punctuation marks.

There is no story in the first place – and whatever little is there is completely ruined by the directors choice of narrative style – which is flashbacks intermingled with the present day scenario. This takes the suspense out completely (as you know how it ends / who lives and who dies etc) and also makes the story very disjointed / fragmented – you struggle to follow one sub-plot before the other one kicks off. We’re told about the set-up of the ATS (anti-terrorist squad) led by Sanjay Dutt (and how he recruited only the best of the best etc, based on the Los Angeles SWAT teams) and how they became a judge, jury and executioner (or in Page 3 terms, encounter specialists). We first see them battle sikh terrorists and then move on to the Mumbai underworld without warning (why would the underworld be in the domain of ATS beggars belief, but then I think the director assumed a brainless audience). Through 80% of the movie we follow the ATS chase an underworld gang led by Vivek Oberoi, who used to be a trusty lieutenant of you-know-who (he lives in dubai, has a moustache and wears goggles all the time) but is now trying to establish his own gang. This gang kills / robs / kidnaps just for fun. Plus they act terribly – Vivek Oberoi and Tusshar Kapoor have yet to learn that to be menacing, you don’t have to scowl fiercely or look constipated, you can do this quite naturally. Yet when the time comes, we’re expected to weep for them / forgive them ? Abhishek is present only in a blink and you miss him role and Amitabh in a five minute longer version of the same.

There is not one new thought or narrative style in the film and you struggle to the see point of it all. Why was it made ? What was the director / script-writer trying to say ? Why did they subject us to 3 hours of torture ? And why did good actors (the Bachchan’s, Sanjay baba, Suneil Shetty etc) agree to act in this movie. I guess some things, like the Bermuda Triangle or women’s love for shopping are never meant to be answered. Avoid this one like the plague !

7 comments:

Karan said...

Very nice movie....looks like we always have a difference of opinion!! :) But i liked the movie...Sometimes you need to watch such type of movies and i liked it....

Shubhojit said...

I have been getting good reviews all around. But i see a negative here. Well, the best thing would be to see it myself & decide. But I heard that Vivek, after a long time, was good.

Apurv Nagpal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apurv Nagpal said...

hi ! Shubojit
found another review even more scathing than mine

http://passionforcinema.com/shootout-at-lokhandwalla-why/
i dont know you but wouldnt wish this one upon anyone

Vivek's idea of looking mean is to scowl, frown or do other facial contortions. if you think this can equate good acting, pls go for it...

Thanks for your comments - read your blog, esp the driving article (had read another version sometime ago which had said pretty much the same thing in bullet points..). Hilarious !!!

Anonymous said...

Didnt you live around lokhandwala/ 4 bunglows around that time?

Monica said...

Didnt you live at lokhandwala around 1990-1993?

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