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Shootout At Lokhandwala May 30, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

Since this movie is based on a true incident one wonders why the oxymoronic tagline: “Based on True Rumours”. My guess is that after production was complete the filmmakers looked at their product and decided that a statutory warning like that would do some good.

The promos might have successfully fooled most of us with the mammoth cast and a slick production crew like Sanjay Gupta, Sanjay Dutt and Apoorva Lakhia. Ultimately, Shootout… arguably is the biggest disappointment in recent times. I am surprised how this flick garnered some glowing reviews (I thought this phenomenon was only confined to crap generally emanating from Yash Raj Films).

The story begins with Amitabh Bachchan (hamming away to glory) interrogating the three celebrated officials of the ATF (Anti Terrorist Force) headed by Shamsher Khan (Sanjay Dutt) and his two colleagues (Suniel Shetty and Arbaaz Khan). Each of them narrates a boring flashback which lead to the actual Lokhandwala shootout in 1991. This bloody shootout which was meant to bump six dreaded gangsters headed by Maya (Viveik Oberoi) ends up with Lokhandwala looking like a warzone. After hearing ATF’s arguments Bachchan is convinced of their stand and defends them in court (against allegations of human rights violations).

Along the way, Apoorva Lakhia seems to have redefined “cliche” so well that this film would make even Dharmesh Darshan’s stuff look “hatke”. For audiences with a technical bent, one specific reason they might want to watch this is to learn how not to use a background score. The hallmark of a bad film is unintentionally funny moments and this one is no exception…my picks being Amitabh’s handling of the court case and one of the gangsters constantly seeing ghosts of a family he had killed in the past. The long cast is uniformly ineffective but I wouldn’t really blame them. Sanjay Dutt and Sanjay Gupta may not have delivered great films before too but they were atleast slick and definitely watchable. Looks like Balaji Telefilms chipping in had some adverse effect.

Incidentally, this film has been released at the same time as the “fake encounter” controversy in India has brought the work of so called encounter specialists under intense scrutiny. The ostensible intention of this film seems to provoke a debate on the same but whatever iota of seriousness was tried being portrayed has successfully gone down the drain. On the whole this is one flick you can easily avoid.



1. Sai - June 15, 2007

Yup. This is extremely ludicrous! After watching the first ten minutes of the film, I knew there was no way that this film is going to redeem itself.

Based on the premise of this film, one would have expected a realistic treatment but director Apoorva Lakhia (Ek Ajnabee, Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost) belies all expectations and does his best to make almost every scene in the film unrealistic, cliched or plain stupid. Why he decided to make this so over-the-top beats me. Does he imagine that using a few maa-behen gaalis makes the film realistic? The incident could have been an interesting one but the film makes it seem far too nonsensical. If there was any attempt to show the police department in a positive light, it didn’t work on me.

I imagined that this film would have at least been worth watching for the performances of its stellar cast. It actually is! I have never seen so many capable actors hamming away to glory in one film and this is worth watching for that achievement. The actors are ably aided by the dialogue (Raj Vasant) or, rather, compelled by it. I agree that we do see loud people around but it is hard to digest so many loud characters in one film. Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt lead the juniors and overpower them with their hamming efforts. After their initial few interrogation scenes featuring these two, it is hard to take the film seriously. Director Lakhia should also take credit for these performances. The portrayal of almost every character is bad and even gangsters will flinch at watching their on screen counterparts. Nevertheless, I am sure that these performances will win over a part of the audience.

Among all the actors, only Tusshar Kapoor and Diya Mirza manage to make some sort of an impression. The character that Amrita Singh plays is the pick of the dumb characters written for this film and her performance is also the most overdone attempt in the film. Akhilendra Mishra (Gangaajal, Apaharan) comes a close second. The writing (Apoorva Lakhia, Suresh Nair who has Namastey London and Salaam-E-Ishq on his resume, Sanjay Gupta) isn’t as poor as the direction but it is definitely bad and there are far more ridiculous scenes than the two that you’ve mentioned. The songs are a pain too.

This film has no message like the makers seem to imagine. Highly contrived and totally avoidable, if you do decide to watch this, prepare yourself for an escapist flick and leave your brains behind.

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