Ok, if you are a terrorist or a wannabe, I must warn you that this film makes a mockery of your techniques and sticks to cliches. So, bring out those bombs and blow away a theater, showing this film, near you. Others, well, don't worry. There's nothing there to worry. Except ofcourse if you are impatient. Then, you might feel like you are scraping Caesium off old nuclear bombs and die a slow, painful death due to over-exposure!
Thankfully, I am neither a terrorist ( Ofcourse Chickens think otherwise!!) nor impatient ( Ofcourse my wife thinks otherwise!!!). Hence I quite enjoyed the film. There is a lot of thought and effort put in every frame.
The film technically is world class in most standards. Be it visually or in terms of the action, everything seems a cut above the standard Bollywood fare. Kamal Haasan has spent a lot of money on the film and it shows. Afsos, he doesn't spend too much time on the story and screenplay, and that shows too!
The plot, though hackneyed, is quite interesting. Simply because Hasaan unravels them slowly. He plays the effeminate dancer Vishwanath teaching bharat-natyam (kathak???) in the US. His wife is cheating on him, so hires a detective to find if Vishwanath cheats on her too. Fortuitously, she finds out that Vishwanath is actually Muslim. And, then begins a series of revelations rather stylishly but tediously. Conversations, threats, jokes, scenes are stretched. But strangely, it didn't bore me. Simply because either someone went over the top in terms of acting or Kamaal remained awesome. His depiction of the effeminate dancer is superb.
Anyhow, things are not like they seem and Vishwanath is actually someone else. But who? You keep trying to figure this out while he trains Mujahideens in Afghanistan, alongside Rahul Bose. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? The heroin asks him this and all he has to say is, he has many facets. He does a lot of good things, but also some questionable things, so you can never say. The first half is quite entertaining, but the second half is rather stretched. The Afghanistan bit where Kamaal tries to show you behind the scenes life of Terrorists goes on and on. Some scenes seem irrelevant and remain so. Also, the end is as Phuski as the attempted Nuclear bomb attack on NY.
So, should you watch this film? I would say, go for it. Because it does have a lot of good things. Technically its superb. The action scenes are extremely well done and are rather graphic. There is no unnecessary jingoism involved. The Indian angle is very subtly pushed in and never labels a country as a villain. And that makes it even harder to digest the Ban. It's amazing how we get away with labeling a whole Country (Pakistan) as terrorists, but have to face a ban when nothing like this is said. Infact, Rahul Bose is the face of terror here and at no point in religion brought into the picture. There are no dialogues denigrating Islam. Infact Rahul Bose questions himself if this is really what his God wants from him, when faced with a personal tragedy. If anything, Kamaal says absolutely nothing! He neither empathizes with them, nor shows them as inhuman. Its left to you to make a judgement call.
The music is forgettable, but S-E-L do redeem themselves in the background score. Rahul Bose is kinda OK as the scarfaced terrorist, Pooja "perky" Kumar plays the bimbo quite well and Shekhar Kapur makes an ordinary comeback. It's left to Haasan to shoulder the responsibility of the film and he does it with aplomb. If anything, you can watch it for him. And I say, you should watch it for the effort he has put into the film. And don't worry, you won't be offended, unless you are a terrorist. Coz quite frankly the terror plot, is really harebrained!
Rating : 6/10 ( looking forward to Part 2!!!)
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