Kashmir is burning despite the recent Govt. steps (and suffocated because of them). Lamhaa (2010) is still relevant in the present scenario. Lamhaa is a certainly one notch below follow-up by the maker of Parzania (2005) , Rahul Dholkia who has taken up the issue of Kashmir with a lot of research work on his part. He has chosen a good script and done his casting very intelligently. Lamhaa is thoroughly engrossing and maintains an air of thrill throughout. It is a fast movie which appears to be even faster because of its short length and proportionately very large canvas to cover. Definitely it is not a classic like his previous venture Parzania but is able to leave its mark notwithstanding.
The story of Lamhaa (moment) is nothing but the turmoil in Kashmir by the jihadis with the help of Pakistan to tackle which a military intelligence officer is sent in the disguise of a disgruntled Kashmiri Mulsim. He searches like-minded Kashmiris to strengthen his hands and helps them on one hand alongwith seeking their help in uncovering the true faces behind the leaders of the anti-government forces on the other.The director has ended the story without offering any solution to the problem or passing any kind of subjective strictures. He has shown his better sense by presenting the status of the things as it is alongwith the mentality of the people of all kinds involved therein. The director’s research work and honesty of narration is clearly visible in the movie. It is a movie made with a great effort and toil.The problem with the narrative is that the director has chosen a very big canvas for his script but made a movie lengthy of hardly two hours. That’s why he has attempted at several facets of the problem but fell short of time in dealing with each one of them effectively and meaningfully. Resultantly, certain things (viz. the plight of the Kashmiri pundits) have been just touched and certain things have been treated quite superficially. The maker of Parzania was expected to be more insightful in his approach. There was no need to make an over-crisp movie and some additional length would have given him room to fill proper colours in all the frames of his outline.However Rahul Dholkia’s effort cannot be underrated by any angle as he has made a fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-pumping movie. If you look at it from an entertainment viewpoint, it is an engrossing thriller without allowing the viewer any time to think (though the subject-matter is thoughtful as well as thought-provoking only). You won’t regret after watching it.Casting is very intelligent. Sanjay Dutt has been taken over by age (he was 51 years old then which is clearly visible in his looks). However he is the best choice for the central character tying all the ends of the story together in a single thread. Bipasha Basu has her own fan following in India (perhaps abroad too) and let me frankly tell you the name of one of her diehard fans – Jitendra Mathur. She is gorgeous, appealing and effective, all at the same time. Among others, Anupam Kher has done well whereas Kunal Kapoor’s weakness of character has let him down. Perhaps the director has tried to insert some of his personal views regarding the solution of the problem in the movie through the character of Kunal Kapoor which looks a bit unreal. The complete supporting cast has done exceedingly well. Shernaaz Patel deserves a special mention for her outstanding performance in the cameo role of the wife of a missing husband.Songs with the background score, locations and art direction, cinematography, editing, production value; everything is A class. The cinematographer has done an outstanding job by capturing the eternal beauty as well as the tormented status of Kashmir in the best possible manner.
The movie is quite realistic in the major part of it and quite superficial and oversimplified at certain places. Yet, one thing is certain that it is thoroughly gripping, from beginning to end. In fact, the style of story-telling in this movie is similar to that of J.P. Dutta in his trilogy of Border, Refugee and LOC-Kargil.
The narrator has shown what the Indian intelligentsia thinks and feels about the Kashmir issue, nothing new. The fact is, the director, despite his sincere research, cannot work like the hero of his story to dig out all the hidden things. Hence he has portrayed what he himself considers the reality behind the havoc. The secret hidden behind the curtain may be something else. Who knows ?
Now-a-days, the use of filthy and uncivilized language, full of Indian slangs, is increasing in Hindi movies in the name of showing the reality as our censor board has got extremely liberal with respect to the language of the characters. Lamhaa is also no exception. However I clearly disapprove of it as it snatches the flair of dignity and decency from the movie. When each and every reality cannot be shown, why can’t we abstain from the use of vulgar language ?
Kashmir has been converted into a company delivering profits to several interest-groups and looting the common Kashmiris, has been reiterated quite often in the movie and it appears to be the reality. The issue of flesh-trade of the Kashmiri girls has been quite humanly demonstrated through the statement of them – Hamen to har koi lootata hai chahe wo military ho ya jihaadi (we are looted by everybody whether it is the military or the militants). The scene of bashing of Bipasha Basu by the mob is heart-tearing.
Before I conclude my review, I want to caveat the readers regarding one thing – Lamhaa demands relentless attention of the viewer. If you are careless even for a blinker (say Lamhaa), you may miss some significant fact regarding the story.All in all, a better movie was expected from the maker of a masterpiece like Parzania. However it is not a disappointing one. I sum up the Kashmir issue in which the biggest sufferer is the innocent, with the words – Ladaai abhi jaari hai (the fight continues).
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