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Upperstall Review

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Lamhaa

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Hindi, Action, Drama, 2010, Color





Kashmir... Once known as a paradise on earth, it is now a playground for blood thirsty militants. It is a 'company' that generates millions of unaccountable dollars that benefit all powers - from politicians and leaders to bureaucrats in the Indian and Pakistani intelligence. From high ranking army and police officers to the militants and their supporters, everyone gets a piece of the pie. The Military Intelligence (MI) gets a whiff of a plot that is likely to disrupt and possibly paralyze Kashmir. Vikram (Sanjay Dutt), an MI Officer, is sent to investigate this highly confidential mission assuming the identity of Gul Jehangir. The same day that he lands in the valley, Haji (Anupam Kher), a top separatist leader, survives a blast. Is there a connection between the blast and the operation? To solve this conundrum, Vikram teams up with Aziza (Bipasha Basu), Haji's young, aggressive and outspoken protege. The intensity of their beliefs and their will to survive against all odds creates a special bond between them. They embark together on a journey full of intrigue, suspicion, betrayal and danger, to uncover the truth...



After New York and Kurbaan last year, it is now Lamhaa's turn to leave you wondering whether it is actually better that Bollywood sticks to sensless comedies and inane luv storys rather than superficially deal with serious issues. After 9/11 in the earlier two films, the Kashmir issue is given a token, on-the-surface, simplistic and ultimately disappointing 'filmi' treatment.

The untold story of Kashmir is the film's tagline but really, the film and its screenplay fail to go by it. What you get instead is a film that tells you nothing you didn't already know while being neither a convincing political thriller nor a good, intense thought-provoking human drama. Lamhaa is little more than a typical, typical commercial Hindi film, not helped by some woeful, and yes, typical (again!) filmi dialogues.

Granted, the Kashmir issue has grown in complexity and it is anything but easy to make a film with the Kashmir problem as a backdrop, but one definitely expected more depth and insight in Lamhaa than the simplistic tale of an undercover MI officer foiling (and that too extermely lamely) a blast at a rally before upcoming elections and the misguided heroine, who discovers that the villain who brought her up actually murdered her father. In fact, the film, having few moments, fails to engage you or involve you at any level. Neither are you sucked into the MI officer's investigation to unravel the plot and nor does the film touch you with the suffering of the common man in Kashmir as it should have. Yes, there are various scenes looking at different issues of the problem but that's also precisely the trouble - they are but token. This gives the film a disjointed flow while taking away from the main and in any case not-so-interesting story. And if one heard the dialogue once more that Kashmir is a company...

The performances too fail to lift the film. Sanjay Dutt and Anupam Kher come off best but are little more than adequate. For all her sincerity, it is tough to imagine Bipasha as a fiery young Kashmiri woman and Kunal Kapoor is extremely weak as the reformed militant fighting the election, especially with his dialogue delivery. Of the rest of the cast, Jyoti Dogra has tremendous screen presence and does leave her mark as Badibi. Shernaz Patel is curiously not quite there as the half widow and quite OTT and uncomfortable with some of her (filmi) dialogues while the rest of known faces are wasted.

If anything in the film works, it is the on-location photography. The rest of the technicalities are ok at best. The songs are pleasant enough but that's about it. Not so the background score.

All in all, disappointing to say the least.


Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan


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