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Komal Nahta’s Review: Lamhaa

Star cast: Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor, Anupam Kher.

Plot: Sanjay Dutt, an army officer, is sent to Kashmir to abort a plot to wreak havoc there by separatist militants. He joins forces with Bipasha Basu who has just broken ties with one of the very popular separatist leaders, Anupam Kher.

What’s Good: Mithoon’s music.

What’s Bad: The half-baked and confusing screenplay.

Verdict: Lamhaa just doesn’t have it in it to make a mark.

Loo break: Plenty – because even otherwise, you won’t follow a lot of things.

G.S. Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Lamhaa (A) is about militancy in Kashmir. The military intelligence gets an inkling of a plot to disrupt and paralyse Kashmir. Army officer Vikram (Sanjay Dutt) is sent to investigate the mission and he lands in Kashmir assuming the identity of Gul Jehangir.

Vikram teams up with Aziza (Bipasha Basu) who is the protege of Haji (Anupam Kher), a top separatist leader. Aziza breaks off from Haji due to ideological differences. Her beloved, Aatif (Kunal Kapoor), was once a militant but is now a youth leader who wants peace in Kashmir and freedom for the people of Kashmir including Kashmiri pundits. He is contesting elections, much to the annoyance of Haji.

Are Vikram and Aziza able to expose the horrendous plot to create havoc in Kashmir and to avert the consequences? What do they learn along the way? Does Aziza expose the villains?

The film has a story on the burning issue of Kashmir but its screenplay, penned by Rahul Dholakia and Raghav Dhar, is so confusing that it barely manages to involve the audience at places. For one, the writers have assumed – and very incorrectly, at that – that the viewers are all conversant with the entire Kashmir issue in all its technical details. Secondly, there are so many characters, often played by small-time actors, that it is difficult to remember who is who, especially when they are referred to in dialogues (without their visuals) in later scenes. This is also because no trouble has been taken to establish most of the characters.

The proceedings are so technical that they fail to involve the audience for the simple reason that most people are unaware and not interested in an indepth study of all that is happening in the strife-torn Kashmir. Not just that, the film has some sequences written and shot so casually that the viewer gets the feeling of lack of seriousness, which can be pretty dangerous for an issue-based film like this. The scenes of Vikram keeping track of the troublemakers and informing his seniors are instances in point. They seem to be the most silly scenes in the entire film, as they look like having been shot while Vikram was taking a walk in the garden! Also, in scenes requiring crowds of thousands of people, what are shown are about 200 people, thereby robbing the drama of its seriousness. In fact, in one scene, Aatif even refers to the large number of people assembled for the rally, but what the audience gets to see is a few hundred persons instead of thousands.

All in all, the drama fails to make any impact because it is not too comprehensible and also because the writing looks like a half-baked job. Dialogues (penned by Ashwath Bhatt and Sai Kabir) are okay.

Sanjay Dutt looks disinterested and goes through his role rather mechanically. His get-up (unkempt beard) and his bulky physique are an eyesore. Bipasha Basu does an average job and makes an effort to get into the skin of the character but, unfortunately, the effort shows. The constant frown on her face is uncalled for. Kunal Kapoor does well but he needs to improve on his voice modulation and some pronunciations (he pronounces Shabbir as Shabeer all through the film). Anupam Kher is efficient. Shernaz Patel, Yashpal Sharma, Rajesh Khera, Jyoti Dogra and Ehsaan Khan lend good support. Murali Sharma acts ably. Mahesh Manjrekar is also natural. Vipin Sharma, Denzil Smith, Yuri Suri and Bunny Singh do as required.

Rahul Dholakia’s direction is not very impressive but it could also be because of the lack of involvement of the lead actor or so it appears. Mithoon’s music is melodious and it is unfortunate that the songs have not been as popularised as they should’ve been. ‘Har dil ko teri aarzoo’, ‘Main kaun hoon’ and ‘Rehmat zara’ are the more appealing numbers. Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score is fairly good. Javed-Aejaz’s action scenes are quite nice. James Fowlds’ camerawork is good. Editing (Ashmith Kunder and Akshay Mohan) should’ve been sharper. Sets (Wasiq Khan) are appropriate.

On the whole, Lamhaa fails to entertain or involve the viewer and will, therefore, not make any mark at the box-office.

By Komal Nahta

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