Business rating: 1 / 5 stars
Star cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Tia Bajpai, Arjan Bajwa, Yashpal Sharma.
What’s Good: Manoj Bajpayee’s acting; the dialogues; the drama in the first half.
What’s Bad: The second half; the convenient screenplay; the lack of hit songs; the slow pace of the film.
Verdict: Lanka lacks in star, entertainment and promotional value. Flop!
Loo break: A couple in the second half.
Watch or Not?: Watch it for Manoj Bajpayee’s performance but do not expect a lot.
BVG Films and ASA Production And Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.’s Lanka (A) is the story of Jaswant Sisodiya (Manoj Bajpayee) who is a terror in the small town of Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh. He has forced Dr. Anju (Tia Bajpai), the daughter of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO; Yateen Karyekar), to be his mistress. Although a bachelor, he will not marry her. Since he is a terror, Dr. Anju, her father and mother are scared to complain to the police.
Jaswant’s younger cousin (Arjan Bajwa) comes to Bijnore after years and joins Jaswant in his nefarious acti- vities. He antagonises a group of villagers in a land dispute because of which police inspector Bhoop Singh (Yashpal Sharma) is waiting for a chance to wipe out the younger brother. Bhoop Singh lusts for Dr. Anju, a fact resented by Jaswant. But if Jaswant doesn’t react, it is because the husband of Bhoop Singh’s sister is helping him (Jaswant) realise his political dreams. Anyway, Bhoop Singh, at one point of time, joins forces with the group of villagers who are adversaries of Jaswant and his cousin.
Jaswant’s cousin realises that Dr. Anju is unhappy with her mistress status as well as with Jaswant. He wants to help her but doesn’t know how. Meanwhile, Anju’s father files a case against Jaswant in the court through CID officer Avdesh Sharma (Manish Chaudhry). Jaswant learns of this before the case can come up for hearing and mentally tortures the father so much that he withdraws the case and commits suicide.
What happens then? Does Jaswant’s cousin turn against him? Does he muster enough courage to help Dr. Anju? Or does Dr. Anju get no support at all? Does the matter reach the court?
Lanka Review: Script Analysis
Shashank Dabral and Maqbool Khan’s story starts in a manner which grips the audience’s attention but as the drama progresses, the grip on the audience keeps loosening. The second half, especially, gets boring and too convenient for words. Why Jaswant doesn’t get married to Dr. Anju when he is so mad about her is, very conveniently, not explained. Also, Anju helplessly tolerating all the atrocities perpetrated upon her although she is a doctor somehow doesn’t ring true. It is also not clear to the audience whether police office Bhoop Singh is scared of Jaswant Sisodiya or vice versa or whether both are scared of each other! The reference to the court case comes at an interesting point in the film but it is merely touched upon then and a reference to it is once again made after so long that the excitement of the courtroom drama the audience expects is diluted greatly. Even the relationship between Jaswant and his cousin looks like one resting on convenience. In short, the screenplay, penned by Shashank Dabral, is one of complete covenience, especially in the second half of the film. Dialogues, of course, are very well-written (by Anil Chaudhary).
Lanka Review: Star Performances
Manoj Bajpayee acts with effortless ease but it is difficult for him to carry a film on his shoulders, commercially speaking. Arjan Bajwa is suitably restrained, looks very handsome and performs well. Tia Bajpai delivers a fairly nice performance. Yashpal Sharma is effective. Manish Chaudhry gets limited scope and is good. Yateen Karyekar leaves a mark. Kuldeep Sarin does a fine job as Roopa. Govind Pandey is good in the role of Tyagiji. Sanjeev Vats (as Rajveer) and Sunita (as mother of Dr. Anju) lend good support. Shveta Salve sizzles in a song-dance number.
Lanka Review: Direction & Music
Maqbool Khan’s direction is quite nice but he has not been able to make a drama that would sustain the audience’s interest post-interval like it does in the first half. Also, the pace of the film is very slow. Music (by Toshi-Sharib and Gaurav Dagaonkar) is nice but has not been popularised enough. The Hai Rama Rama item song is racy and its picturisation (by Baba Yadav) is alright. Jalees Oberoi’s camerawork is okay. Action (Javed-Aejaz) is routine. Editing (Hemanti Sarkar) could’ve been crisper.
Lanka Review: Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, Lanka doesn’t have the second half it needed to have. It lacks the entertainment value and the promotion to make a mark at the box-office. Its low cost is the silver lining, if at all.