Sunday, June 08, 2008


Rating : 8/10
Running Time : 90 Minutes
Release Date : 6th June ‘08
Director & Writer : Raj Kumar Gupta ; Music : Amit Trivedi
Starring : Rajeev Khandelwal

A genuine surprise, this one, and very unlike a normal hindi movie. Don’t watch if you’re in the mood of light, timepass entertainment. Watch it though for some great acting, a very authentic and gritty look at the bylanes and Muslim areas of Mumbai, some good dialogue, a fantastic background score and some great editing which never lets the tension slacken.

Aamir, a Muslim doctor in UK, decides to return to India and lands in Mumbai airport. Outside the airport, he can’t find his family and no one responds when he calls home either. That’s when his nightmare begins. Two strangers on a motorbike hand him a mobile phone and when it starts to ring, Aamir finds out that a stranger knows everything about him, has kidnapped his entire family and now wants Aamir to follow his instructions or else…

The instructions take him all over Mumbai, in small by-lanes, dirty hotels, std phone booths etc. A man who was walking the pristine streets of Windsor / Eton a few short hours ago, is soon having to gingerly step over faeces in a public lavatory in some city lodge. And all this while he has no idea what the stranger wants him to do. And his every move is watched, the mobile has outgoing barred, the strangers henchmen seem to be everywhere !

Rajeev is outstanding. No other word fits his performance. He displays the whole gamut of emotions – from incredulity to anger to pleading – he goes through all of them flawlessly. Everyone else fits their parts well – they really don’t seem to be extra’s performing a part. Its apparently copied from a movie Cavite. However, its so nicely adapted to Mumbai / India / Muslims that this doesn’t detract anything from the film at all in my eyes. The ending does a bit – I wish they had gone for a different one but nothing else truly fit the characterization of Aamir they had shown.

I also found the ideological debate between Aamir and the stranger fascinating and they balanced it well, never letting it get too weighty. As someone once said, poverty is the most fertile breeding ground for terrorism. Because when you’re poor and things aren’t going your way, then every setback seems like a perceived injustice, another reason to don arms and fight against the perceived oppressors.

Like I said, its not an easy or light subject matter, but is made eminently watchable by the brilliant direction of Rajiv Kumar Gupta and the equally brilliant acting of Rajeev Khandelwal. The tension is not the type where it makes you bite your nails, but rather hovers over the atmosphere, like a dark menacing cloud. However, there’s enough of a cool breeze to still make it an enjoyable day out.


moksh juneja said...

This sounds like Shantaram!! Have already watched two movies this weekend.. dont think Can manage more!!

Anonymous said...

Very different from what i have seen in recent times......couldn't sllep the night after i saw the movie....just kept thinking about the movie....fantastic acting by Rajeev Khandelwal!!!!


Nirav said...

Honestly, I was quite disappointed with Aamir. It just did not go anywhere with the whole chase...

In the end I was left wondering - why did the guy pick out an obscure doctor returning from the UK, go through the pains of kidnapping his family and researching his background, shower him with his cronies and then get him to plant a bomb in a bus - Any of his cronies, who kept hurling cell phones and instructions at him could have done that... I think the answer will probably lie in the original - this is what adaptation does...

Anonymous said...

This sounds complete hatke and hoping to watch this movie soon.. Read a lot about it and also many good reviews. Hoping I wont be disappointed like the few.. Thanks, Bee

ameen haque said...

hi apurv,

didn't know that you were a movie buff. got to know from guys about your blog and was really surprised to see the no. of movies you have seen over the last few months.

well, i too watch a lot of films, also had the good fortune to take part in a film appreciation course a few years ago conducted by FTII Pune in collaboration with NFAI (national film archives of India).

It will be good to get together sometime and just talk movies. I will share some from my modest collection next time i see you.

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