Well, if you thought it would be anything like Chak De! India or any other sports movie for that matter you are mistaken. No it is not another Indo-Pak story either. Lahore is different. And you wouldn't realise till you watch the film. The fact that makes it stand apart, lies in its treatment. There's no slogan-shouting or Pak-bashing here.
Full marks to debutant director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan for putting his heart and soul into it; handling every scene with supreme dexterity.
It comes as a real surprise or may be a shocker to those who otherwise wouldn't switch on the television to watch kick-boxing, but still find themselves glaring at the big screen without batting an eyelid.
Although the plot becomes predictable just before the interval, you wouldn’t really mind because by then you have already taken the bait. No wonder, the film has already won accolades at various international film festivals.
Coming to the storyline, Lahore isn't about kick-boxing only. It's about relationships, bonding between two brothers, their love for sports.
The camera now focuses on the Indian kick-boxing team selection committee. The final stage of qualification is in process. Amidst all, this there is a conniving minister Reddy, (K Jeeva), who wants his favourite participant to be selected; a gem of a coach in Rao (Farooque Shaikh), who wants merit to be the order of the day. Then there is of course the aspirant boxer, Dhirendra Singh (Sushant Singh), a true sportsman, who dreams to qualify on the basis of his merit.
The focus shifts to Kuala Lumpur. Two opponents, Dhirendra Singh from India has to fight with Noor Mohammad (Mukesh Rishi) from Pakistan. But then, the unexpected happens.
The two nations meet in Lahore for a kick-boxing tournament, a goodwill match between the two nations. This time, Noor Mohammed’s opponent is none other than Virendra Singh (Aanaahad), Dhirendra's brother.
Winning the game is not the only thing on his mind. Virendra wants to settle some old scores and restore the lost pride of the nation.
The highpoint of the film are undoubtedly the kick-boxing duels. The film runs high on emotional quotient. But never for a moment you’d feel anyone going overboard or underplaying it at any stage. The subtle romance between Aanaahad and Shraddha Das is well knitted.
Though it's a little difficult to digest how Virendra, a cricketer, gets chosen to represent India for an altogether different sport kick-boxing, we’d like to overlook it as cinematic liberty since the director has justified the decision in his own way.
The editing is superb. Cinematography is simply awesome capturing every detail with such precision. It makes the boxing sequences doubly exciting.
Albeit the director has all the trappings of a skilled storyteller, his characters are no less in their performances.
Farooque Shaikh as the Indian coach is simply outstanding with his mock-serious dialogue deliveries. Saurabh Shukla compliments him well. And guess what? We find Sabyasachi Chakraborty (remember the terrorist from Dil Se) yet again in a negative role. This time he’s the opponent coach from Pakistan. Sabyasachi does full justice to the role, the only glitch being his accent.
Sushant Singh enacts his part quite well. Who would believe he could pull those boxing stunts with such alacrity. Shraddha Nigam as Nila, Sushant’s girlfriend is good. We loved Mukesh Rishi in Sarfarosh and here as Noor Mohammed, he proves his mettle as one of the most dependable actors. Shraddha Das carries the Pakistani girl’s look quite well. Nafisa Ali as Virendra’s mother and Ashish Vidyarthi as he Pakistani minister are just perfect. Kelly Dorji impresses in the climax.
Late Nirmal Pandey gets minimal scope to act in this one. As for Aanaahad, it's the role tailor-made for him. And he performs it with full enthusiasm.
Overall, Lahore is a film that all the elements to surprise you.