Dholakia dares to be different
This film stands out from Bollywood jingoistic potboilers where things are being portrayed larger than life to hide facts. It takes courage to show what back in Delhi they don’t like to see. That is exactly what Rahul Dholakia has done and done successfully.His film makes a bold statement,writes Muhammad Kamran Shamshad
Lamhaa strikes quite a chord from the frame one. Rahul Dholakia’s film makes an interesting viewing particularly for its subject. The film made and shoot in docu drama style grabs the eye balls and grips the mind of an average film watcher.
The film has many highlights and has showcased a new Bollywood—willing to take subjects in a somewhat nuanced way. Particularly in response to Kashmir conflict. It has refrained to give any simplistic solutions dished out with tons of shrilled patriotism. Bollywood has come out from screaming and over the top Sunny Deol type of jingoistic movies. Lamhaa presents no solution. It tries to present Kashmir conflict the way most people see it from New Delhi. The story of Lamhaa of is full of intrigues, harangues, snippets of daily life of ordinary Kashmiri goes through. It takes a while to get acquainted with the speed and chip chopping editing of the film. There are too many characters but then they are justified as Kashmir has as many players as well.
Of course many will get cross to see a film where every Kashmiri is being portrayed with shades of grey. But then it has to be looked in broader contours. To begin with Dholakia starts his film with the background of Kashmir history. That is rare in Bollywood. I don’t think any Bollywood film has given the conflict history of Kashmir. Then the film starts in the present tense. It is film which throws away the scared cow image of army. The director dares to show the corruption levels in the army and the nexus between extremist elements. There is one scene where the border is opened up to let militants sneak in for a cash payment. The army officers make money by selling such tracks that are opened for about half an hour.
Dholakia has bedecked his film with many such daring things. From corruption in the intelligence agencies and army to the day-to-day battle for survival of the troops to the political insinuations and business deals the director has left nothing untouched. He has taken care not to side with any side and has come with dispassionate film. Those who may say it still showcases a good Indian and bad Kashmiris must take his limitations in consideration. He has to show the movie to an audience who have little know how of Kashmir conflict other than what they see and hear from their media. Place like Dardpora—which is synonymous with half widows is also given a good mention. So is the case of disappeared persons whom the army took away never to be seen again. And then he doesn’t spare Pandiths either. The pandith intelligence officer masquerading as journalist is also shown in clear colours. It is cases like these which make the film stand out from the other Bollywood movies.
There are several other scenes that stay with you like Bipasha’s humiliation scene, training of child suicide bomber while reciting the kalima. Or conflict born child who plays marbles with bullets. Dholakia makes it clear in the movie that there are no heroes only characters in the conflict ridden Kashmir. There are many subplots all interwoven into one final and grand climax which is as confusing as the conflict itself. The sound design by Baylon Fonseca adds to the charisma with an equally inspiring music score by Mithoon (although one never understands wherefrom the music pops out).
Performance wise Kunal Kapoor looks pretty ordinary with his dialogue delivery, but if he has been consciously moulded from a former militant to a peace activist leader then it is commendable. Sanjay Dutt and Bipasha Basu are quite okay with their acting. Anupam Kher brings out various shades to his character. The other character artists have done their roles admirably. The film belongs to the director and he has tried to give it commercial look so that it reaches masses.
Lamhaa is film which on one hand deals with the complex subject of Kashmir conflict and yet not only entertains but hopefully will educate Indian masses about the plight of Kashmiris.
(The reviewer is a final year B.Com student of Islamia College, Srinagar. Feedback: email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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