Director: Rahul Dholakia
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor, Anupam Kher
Lamhaa may have its heart in the right place but it\'s hard to figure out where the film is heading.
Sanjay Dutt sporting dark glasses, blond streaks, cargo pants, a stylish scarf draped around his neck, and filmed mostly walking towards the camera in slo-mo, appears as if he's still in a Sanjay Gupta film. Funny thing is, you're watching Lamhaa, a political thriller set in Kashmir, directed by Rahul Dholakia of the National Award-winning film, Parzania.
The Kashmir situation is a complicated one, and truth be told, Lamhaa doesn't make it much simpler.
Dutt stars as an Indian intelligence officer who is sent on an undercover operation to Kashmir when the bureau receives information of a possible terror attack in the valley. Dutt, of course, is the kind of undercover officer who walks into a police commissioner's office and copies files from his computer in broad daylight. And Lamhaa is the kind of film that doesn't benefit from taking up too many issues.
I'll spare you the details, but here's a quick checklist: the difference between blood-seeking Mujahideens and honest separatists seeking an independent state, the levels of corruption within the Indian police stationed in the state, the apathy towards families seeking information about their missing relatives, the underpaid army soldiers who put themselves in the line of danger day after day, Kashmiri Pandits who turned refugees in their own country…and believe me, I've only skimmed the surface of what this film sets out to address.
Lamhaa may have its heart in the right place but the rest of this film isn't in good shape. The screenplay is jumpy, too many subplots fracture the narrative, too many characters are introduced in every second scene, and to be entirely honest, it's hard to figure out where the film is heading.
The shaky-camera shooting style doesn't quite work in a movie that's as staged as this, and Dholakia lifts at least two scenes directly from this year's Oscar-winning war film, The Hurt Locker.
Anupam Kher as separatist leader Haji, Bipasha Basu as his loyal protégé Aziza, and Kunal Kapoor as youth leader Aatif round out the cast alongside Dutt; but surprisingly it's only Bipasha Basu who makes her presence strongly felt, despite those perfectly manicured nails and your initial hesitation to accept her as a Kashmiri-born character.
I'm going with a generous two out of five for director Rahul Dholakia's Lamhaa; it's an ambitious film let down by an over-ambitious script. Watch it if you're having trouble sleeping; it's a good cure for insomnia.
Rating: 2 / 5
Winner: Harpreet Singh from Noida.
What's your reaction to 'Lamhaa'?