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Lamhaa movie review

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Cast Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor, Shernaz Patel    more...
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The Lamhaa Movie Review

A HUGE Disappointment
By Nikhil Kumar
Rating: 1.5/5

It’s ironical that a film that purports to tell the ‘untold story of Kashmir’ has hardly any story of its own to boast of.

The least you expect from a film on Kashmir is to stir you, shake you, rattle you or - at best - fill your heart with pathos over what’s being happening in the land once hailed as the paradise on earth. Sadly, Lamhaa does nothing of the sort. It’s a superficial, cursory glance at all the issues that blight Kashmir which is described in the film as a ‘company’ run and controlled by astute local leaders who play dirty politics in the name of Azadi, by powerbrokers remote controlled by ISI, by the militants who brainwash kids to fight the holy war, and by the army and police who are thrust with the butcher’s job of ensuring peace at gunpoint. In between these power-players, the avam of Kashmir that is ground as the grist in the mill everyday hardly finds a place in the movie by Rahul Dholakia. And that’s a pity.

In the first place, the movie doesn’t have any definitive story or plot to speak of. It appears that the writer and director decided to make a ‘serious, issue-based film’ and cobbled together a loose plot so that they can stitch in between all the issues they could find from newspaper headlines (sex racket expose, fake encounters, atrocities in police custody, and more). But in their zeal to tell everything quickly, they end up telling nothing convincingly. And Lamhaa ends up as a mere collage of different episodes, grave however they may be, that when put together look nothing more than a bunch of assorted plots glued back-to-back to give the semblance of a film with gravitas and depth and blah blah. Don’t know what you would call that. I call it hypocritical cinema.

For what else it is when the film’s protagonist walks through the streets of Kashmir with a rockstar’s swagger, cigarette in mouth, Ray Ban on perched on his nose, keffiyeh stylishly wrapped around his neck...and oh...metal guitar riffs grunging away in the background. That’s ‘serious and thought-provoking’ cinema for you.

The year is 2009. Vikram (Sanjay Dutt), a sharpshooter and an intelligence officer, is sent to Kashmir on a mission that’s never made clear. All he’s told is that something BIG is going to happen in Kashmir (a la the turmoil of 1989) and he should find out what.

An assassination attempt is made at the Kashmiri separatist leader Haji (Anupam Kher) who’s on the payroll of the ISI. Aziza (Bipasha Basu) his adopted daughter is hell-bent on finding out the plotters and is helped in her mission by Vikram. As Vikram and Aziza dig deep, they find the trail leading them to the people they never suspected. On the sidelines is a youth Aatif (Kunal Kapoor) who was once a part of Haji’s party but broke away to join the political mainstream and fight for the rights of Kashmiri people through ballet rather than bullet.

The story keeps flitting between these characters before reaching a climax that suddenly pops out of nowhere.

However noble the intention of Rahul Dholakia may be, he fails to translate it onto the screen. Yes, there are glimpses into the plights of Kashmiris through a small subplot of a village of half-widows populated by women waiting for their husbands and loved ones who were arrested by the police and never returned home again. That’s the only space Lamhaa has for the avam of Kashmir.

Performances aren’t anything to rave about. Sanjay Dutt just can’t get rid of that broad-chested swagger. Bipasha Basu’s performance is limited to a few expressions. Anupam Kher delivers well, but it’s Kunal Kapoor who stands out with his most authentic Kashmiri accent and looks.

The songs are just fine. The cinematography is deliberately jerky, with quick zoom ins and outs. The movie, on the whole, is a farce in the garb of serious cinema. Kashmir and its people deserved better.

Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5

User Reviews for Lamhaa

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31 Jul 2010
Movie...tht has to be...
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Movie Review : A HUGE Disappointment (1.5/5)
It’s ironical that a film that purports to tell the ‘untold story of Kashmir’ has hardly any story of its own to boast of. ...
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