Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘climax

By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:30 IST

What do you do when you, accidentally, bang into someone on the road? Flee from the spot? Call for help? Dial the cops? Rush the victim to the hospital?

Pick up a newspaper and chances are you might glance upon a hit-and-run case only too often. ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD, a remake of STUCK [Mena Suvari, Stephen Rea], raises a few questions in its own way. Perhaps, the intentions were right, but what eventually unfolds on screen isn’t.

The problem with ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD is that it loses focus after a point and that takes away the seriousness from the issue.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Sonam [Celina Jaitly] is a nurse who accidentally steers her car into the harmless Prakash [Farooque Shaikh], sending him flying through the windshield. Not wanting to jeopardize her future, Sonam, along with her drug-peddling boyfriend Sid [Abhimanyu Singh], chooses not to get him medical help, leaving him clinging to life in her garage.

But soon her psyche begins to unravel as the captor and captive are pitted against each other in a battle for survival.

ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD had the potential to be a thought-provoking film that pricks your conscience, but what comes across is a half-baked attempt that runs out of steam soon after the intermission. In fact, the film begins quite well and a few moments as well as the twists and turns in the first half do keep you on the edge.

But the writing [screenplay adapted by Mahesh Nair and Siddharth Parmar] is shoddy in the second part and does not yield the desired outcome. The sequences prior to the climax are a complete downer, while the climax is the worst part of the film. The drama fails to become the nail-biting one that it ought to be.

Also, the assorted people that flit in and out of the story [the kid and his mom, the cabbie and the nosey neighbour with a dog] are half-baked characters as well. Pray, why were they included in the first place?

Mahesh Nair’s direction is a shade better than the poor and sketchy script. Also, he is unable to involve the audience in the drama. Ravi Walia’s cinematography is ordinary. The film has just one song [music: Raju Singh] – ‘Nasha Nasha’ – which is quite erotic.

Farooque Shaikh doesn’t get any scope, frankly. One definitely expected more, since the veteran returns to the big screen after a hiatus. Abhimanyu Singh enacts his part well. But it is Celina Jaitly who pitches in a commendable act and catches you by complete surprise.

On the whole, ACCIDENT ON HILL ROAD will fail to make any headway.

Advertisements

By Taran Adarsh, January 1, 2010 – 12:31 IST

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Sometimes, the expectations from a movie are zilch, but what unfolds on screen is beyond expectations. It surprises you, to put it simply.

On face-value, BOLO RAAM looks like it’s straight out of 1970s cinema. A movie with predictability written all over it. A movie that carries zero hype and matches it with zero content. But BOLO RAAM isn’t archaic, isn’t the usual masala, isn’t zero content.

A remake of the Tamil film RAAM [2005; starring Jeeva, Saranya, Rehman, Murali], BOLO RAAM has an interesting plot with an engaging screenplay that compels you to look at the screen for most parts of the movie. But, of course, there’re hiccups. A few non-actors and a done to death climax could’ve been avoided.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Raam [Rishi Bhutani] is charged with the murder of his mother Archana [Padmini Kolhapure]. Raam falls into a state of shock, brief psychotic disorder, after his mother’s death and becomes silent, refusing to talk or react in any manner.

The investigating officer, Indrajeet Singh Rathi [Om Puri] is puzzled and unable to make Raam speak. He consults a psychiatrist, Dr. Negi [Naseeruddin Shah], to determine the cause of Raam’s state of mind and the reason for his silence.

Rathi interrogates various personalities for the case, questioning Raam. Every possible motive that Raam might have for murdering his mother is explored. Furthermore, Raam’s neighbours, Sub-Inspector Sajid Khan’s [Govind Namdev] daughter Juhi [Disha Pandey] and son Sameer [Krishan Khatra], are summoned by Rathi for interrogation. Will his silence solve the puzzle?

Without wasting any time, BOLO RAAM takes off from its opening titles itself. The story goes back and forth, several new characters are introduced, but the narrative stays faithful to the main plot. The best is reserved for the second half. Layer after layer is peeled with expertise. The viewer is keen to know the identity of the killer and that’s when the film fumbles and tumbles.

The culprit’s track is sloppy and a major put off. In fact, the circumstances that lead to the murder are quite amateurish and look far from convincing. Surely, the writer could’ve thought of a better culmination. Also, the one-sided love affair is functional.

Debutante director Rakesh Chaturvedi ‘Om’ makes a confident debut, although he should’ve cast some better actors for key roles. There’s not much scope for music [Sachin Gupta] in the film and hence, just one song merits mention – ‘Maa Tere Jaisa’. The background score [Sanjay Chowdhury] deserves special mention.

Newcomer Rishi Bhutani does a commendable job. He oozes confidence, despite sharing the same frame with accomplished actors. Om Puri gets into the skin of his character and is impressive, while Padmini Kolhapure is a pleasure to watch after a long gap. She is beautifully restrained. Naseeruddin Shah has a brief role and the veteran does it well. Govind Namdev is very good.

Rajpal Yadav is wasted. Both Disha Pandey and Krishan Khatra are non-actors. Manoj Pahwa does his usual act.

On the whole, BOLO RAAM has decent merits [hence those 2 stars], but the problem is its wrong release timing. It won’t stand a chance in front of a hurricane called 3 IDIOTS.

Priyadarshan has always come up with zany comedies but De Dana Dan takes away the cake. In your entire life, you would have not seen such complicated and bizarre film ever, nor would you see it in future! There are some 25 characters; the entire action takes place inside a luxurious hotel and misunderstandings galore in the film. In fact, the flick thrives on misunderstandings and mistaken identities! However, like many other pathetic comedy flicks attempted this year, this doesn’t disappoint all thanks to Priyadarshan’s excellent handling and execution!

The story of the movie: Nitin Bankar (Akshay Kumar) works for Archana (Archana Puran Singh), a rich lady in Singapore and who loves her pet dog named Moolchandji the most! Nitin’s only friend is Ram (Suniel Shetty). While Nitin is in love with Anjali (Katrina Kaif), Ram loves Manpreet (Sameera Reddy). However, both Anjali and Manpreet are born and brought up in rich families and their families would not like their daughters to marry financially unstable men. So Nitin and Ram come up with plan to get quick money-they decide to kidnap Moolchandji in exchange of a huge ransom from Archana! Without realizing that the kidnapping has gone awry, both hide in the luxurious Pan Pacific Hotel waiting for the ransom. Unfortunately, there are more colourful, anti-social, gadbad-types people in the hotel at that time! And then starts the mother of all misunderstandings, mistaken identities and unlimited, uninterrupted laughter for the viewers!

There is absolutely no logic whatsoever in De Dana Dan. There are some big big loopholes in the story too! But if you are lover of masala Hindi comedies, then you won’t mind at all as there is so much fun happening in the film every second! Except during the songs, you won’t get a chance to yawn or check out the time in your watch or look anywhere else than the screen!

The first half is where the characters are introduced and established which is perfectly done. The asli mazaa begins when Nitin and Ram hatch the kidnap plan. The actual kidnapping and the events that follow was brilliant! Also, there are lots of tracks going on in the film, each one which is well written and worked upon. There is Harbans Chadda (Paresh Rawal) who is deep in debt and who wants to marry off his son Nonny (Chunky Pandey) to the best amir khandaan ki ladki; there is Brij Mohan Oberoi (Manoj Joshi) who is happy to marry off her manglik daughter Manpreet to Nonny; then there is smart theif cum club dancer (Neha Dhupia), Harban’s unfaithful wife Pammi (Aditi Govitrikar), a killer on a mission Peshawarwala (Johny Lever), an oversmart waiter Duggu (Rajpal Yadav), an Indian ambassador Paramjeet Lamba (Vikram Gokhale) and her wife (Supriya Karnik), Anjali’s dad Kakkad (Tinu Anand), Anti-corruption cop (Sharat Saxena) and a letch (Shakti Kapoor) (I hope I haven’t left anyone). Whew! With so many characters with interesting characteristics, Priyadarshan and the writing team excellently links up unrelated characters creating multiple mistaken identities, all which provide laughter unlimited!

The first half is laced with 4 songs but still the flick didn’t turn boring. However, it was the 2nd half where at a point, everything gets too monotonous and you want the flick to end. In fact, the film is close to 2 hrs 45 minutes. However, the climax again takes the film up and it was the most weird and bizarre climax I have ever witnessed! Once again, I state that don’t watch the flick if you can’t stand any nonsense in films. Or else you’ll surely faint watching the nonsense climax! But for those who love comedies, the climax will surely entertain!

With so many characters, it becomes difficult to decide who the best was. In fact all put their best foot forward and contribute well. Akshay Kumar was like everytime rocking! His films may not entertain everytime but he always impresses. In fact, it was so great to see a fantastic Akshay Kumar film after so long (the last such film was Welcome, 2 years back). Keep rocking Akki! Suniel Shetty gives an amazing performance and it was great to see him after a long time! Watch out for him in his next, Red Alert!

From the rest, the ones who impress and provide maximum laughs are Paresh Rawal, Archana Puran Singh, Johny Lever and Vikram Gokhale. Vikram Gokhale particularly entertains a lot! The rest-Asrani, Chunky Pandey (he had no role at all!), Manoj Joshi, Rajpal Yadav, Supriya Karnik, Tinu Anand and Sharat Saxena also did a nice job but it got overshadowed in presence of so many actors. Producer Ratan Jain is also there in the film!

As for the heroines, Katrina Kaif has the meatiest role and sizzles full on in the song Gale Lag Ja. Neha Dhupia gives a bindass performance. Sameera Reddy looks charming but hardly has any dialogues. Aditi Govitrikar’s performance was flawless.

Music was fine. Baamulaiza, Gale Lag Ja and Rishte Naate are the best songs of the lot. K Ahambaram’s cinematography was too shaky in some scenes which didn’t work. Salim-Suliaman’s background score, as usual, was flawless. Sabu Cyril’s production design deserves special appreciation especially for the climax where the entire hotel gets flooded. Some parts of the hotel were recreated in Mumbai, it was flooded and shot and it was so accurately done that it’s impossible to distinguish the actual hotel in Singapore from the set! Great work! But at the same time, disappointed to see enormous quantity of water wasted under the guise of entertainment!

Finally, we come to the writers and director. Suresh Krisshnan’s story was unusual. Jay Master’s dialogues were amazing and also contribute to the entertainment quotient in the film! And this is undoubtedly Priyadarshan’s one of the finest works! It requires guts and courage to screenwrite a film with so many complicated and tangled scenes and then directing it and also giving it a proper conclusion. Any other director would have either failed miserably or would have run away midway! So hats off to Priyan….keep giving us such films!

This time, there would be no section of Best Scenes….there are some 3 to 4 dozen memorable scenes, half of which I can’t even recollect now but enjoyed while watching! So please excuse this time!

On the whole, De Dana Dan is one of the most complicated comedies of all time. Those who love Priyadarshan and his slapstick comedies should not even think of missing it!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on Mouthshut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/De_Dana_Dan-181702-1.html

It’s always a pleasure to see a meaningful flick which entertains as well enlightens. Rajkumar Hirani is the master of such flicks (his forthcoming 3 Idiots is also expected to be the same). Rocket Singh also falls in this category. Although it is laden with some glitches, overall it gives you a great time and also teaches you some valuable lessons which we may have forgotten or ignored because of living in this fast-paced urban ‘corporatized’ life!

The story of the movie: Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) has just graduated with low marks but is determined to enter into the world of sales. He justified himself as ‘number kam hai dimaag nahi’! With his confidence and ‘never quit’ attitude, he lands as a trainee in the reputed company, AYS. But he soon realizes that in this professional field, the people worked with the most unprofessional attitude! He always believed in working honestly and caring for the customers. He even attempted to apply his principles which received a sharp reaction from his seniors. Harpreet was then denounced and humiliated. And this is when he realized that instead of merely being an observer, he’ll be the change he wants to see! From here begins the journey of Harpreet aka Rocket Singh!

One won’t take to Rocket Singh instantly, esp in the first hour. This hour focuses more on establishing characters. Also the film hasn’t applied sync sound system well due to which one has difficulty in deciphering some of the dialogues. But after some time in the film, we get ‘accustomed’ to it!

But there are some sequences in the first hour that deserve a mention. The ‘complaint’ scene was great and the boss’ (Manish Choudhari) angry reaction looked quite real. Also watch out when Ranbir is humiliated by the boss with his ‘zero-value’ theory. It was a bit over the top but made an impact.

But the second hour is when the film rocks big time! Ranbir creating a company within a company and popularizing it with his honest ways and making partners was damn interesting. The pre-climax wonderfully built up tension but the climax was dragged a bit. Maybe, the lengthy dialogue should have been a bit crisp. It would have made a better impact.

But nonetheless, the film manages to put its message across in a cool manner. It’s a must for all in the sales field or anyone dealing with customers…maybe it will inspire them to adopt more ‘human’ and honest ways of working!

Without a doubt, it’s Ranbir Kapoor who carried the film fabulously on his shoulders and came up with a great performance. He looked charming even in his sardar look and managed to do a great job-as great as he did in Wake Up Sid and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. The film may unfortunately not work at the BO but Ranbir will surely be appreciated and Rocket Singh will be remembered as one of his best performances!

Prem Chopra as Ranbir’s paa played his part well. D. Santosh (famous for his Rajguru act in The Legend of Bhagat Singh) was outstanding! In fact, he delivers better performance than Ranbir in many of the scenes involving both of them! Watch out for him!

Besides these, the rest of actors were all newbies but leave a mark. Gauhar Khan as Koyna looks stunning and gives a top-class performance. Her career in Bollywood is on the right track with this film! Shazahn Padamsee gets very little scope but manages to impress. Mukesh Bhatt as Chotelal was just brilliant! And finally, the other two actors who leave a maximum impact as Ranbir and Santosh are Naveen Kaushik (as Nitin) and Manish Choudhari. Both were wonderful and if the film impresses, then they are also to be credited!

Salim-Sulaiman’s music doesn’t make a mark as song-and-dance isn’t part of this film. Pocket Mein Rocket is missing from the film. But their background score like everytime was fabulous.

Vikash Nowlakha’s cinematography was flawless. Manas Choudhury, the sync sound recordist, could have done a better job.

Jaideep Sahni has written the story, screenplay, dialogues and lyrics. His work was exceptional in all four. Only the screenplay could have been a tighter in the climax and easy in the initial portions. But the best part is-his Khosla Ka Ghosla magic is wonderfully seen in some of the scenes which really makes the film impressive.

This is Shimit Amin’s weakest directorial venture, simply because his last two flicks, Ab Tak Chappan and Chak De! India are considered as classics. But still even in his weak performance, he impresses! Watch out for how he has paid attention to little details to make the film look as realistic and closer to real life as possible. Watch out for the beginning portions when the credits appear-observe how the simple articles found in every household are impressively highlighted. Overall, a good job, could have been better and best wishes for the next project!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.     Harpreet’s first interview
2.     Harpreet’s complaint box ‘kaarnama
3.     Boss reacts to Harpreet’s kaarnama!
4.     Colleagues scold Harpreet
5.     The intermission point
6.     Koyna joins Harpreet
7.     Harpreet and his boss’ telephonic conversation (best scene of the film!)
8.     Boss finds out the truth (amazing!)
9.     The final scene

On the whole, Rocket Singh is a feel-good film and should be seen by all sales professionals and corporates. A must watch for Ranbir too. Go for it to have a different kinda experience!

My rating-*** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Rocket_Singh-181580-1.html

Hrithik Roshan, who used to stammer, delivered a five-and-a-half minute monologue for Guzaarish, compelling Sanjay Leela Bhansali to bracket him in the same league as Amitabh Bachchan

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 05, 2009)


Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known to be demanding director, but he gives credit where it’s due. According to an eye-witness Hrithik had to recently deliver a five-and-a-half minute-long monologue while shooting for a crucial turning point scene in Guzaarish

It had been broken up into three parts to ease the pressure on Hrithik. As the star launched into it, Bhansali was ready to call for a cut after two minutes. To his astonishment, Hrithik did not stop and delivered the entire monologue in one fluid take.

(L): Hrithik Roshan (R):Sanjay Leela Bhansali

This amazed not only the entire crew, but the director as well. The monologue has Hrithik remembering a woman from his past, before he becomes wheelchair-bound. The intensity stunned everyone on the sets, as it was obvious that Hrithik had worked hard to memorise the part and rehearse it before reaching the sets. Bhansali walked up to the actor and said, ‘What can I say?’

A wary Hrithik thought that he had messed up. Bhansali then gave him the greatest compliment an actor can hope to hear from his director. He said to Hrithik, ‘You are in Bachchan’s league.’ Remember Amitabh Bachchan’s monologue in the climax of Baghban?

This is indeed an accomplishment for a man who used to stammer. Hrithik’s speech problem is known, but he did not let that deter him from delivering the extraordinarily lengthy monologue without fumbling.

In the process of eliminating handful of terrorists, we end up creating many more-this best describes the policies of Western developed powers who are hell bent on making the world more democratic but adopt inhuman ways to achieve the end point. Kurbaan throws light on this sensitive topic and thankfully treats it well. The flick throws a spate of questions and forces you to think, discuss and debate. But it doesn’t get preachy and hence it’s not like one of the several films on terrorism that are made for a niche audience. The film is thrilling, has some wonderful twist-n-turns and includes some moments of love and passion too. All this make Kurbaan one of the finest films of the year-one that can’t be missed!

The story of the movie: Ehsaan Khan (Saif Ali Khan) takes the job of a teacher in a university in Delhi where he comes across a psychology teacher, Avantika (Kareena Kapoor). He instantly falls in love and she also ends up liking him. But unfortunately, she’s called back to New York where she originally belongs. Realizing that it would be wrong to have a long-distance relationship, Ehsaan also moves to NYC with Avantika. But before that, they marry. After moving to New York, they buy a new house in a neighborhood full of Asians, conservative Muslims to be precise. The neighbours invite Ehsaan and Avantika for dinner so that they can get familiar with each other. Soon, Avantika realizes that things are not fine in the neighbourhood as they seem and finally, realization dawns upon her-she has been as used as a pawn in a dangerous game.

The beginning 20-25 minutes focuses on Saif-Kareena’s courtship and may not impress. It was the weakest part of the film and wasn’t treated well. But thinks take a good turn with the song Shukran Allah and when the couple shifts to New York. The film engrosses from the scene where the neighbours invite them for dinner. From this sequence, the film turns into a roller coaster ride with lots of unpredictable turns. The entry of Riyaaz (Vivek Oberoi) in the narrative adds to the icing on the cake.

The intermission point was brilliant and fortunately, unlike other films, Kurbaan doesn’t fall or gets slow in the post-interval portions. In fact, the 2nd half also keeps you hooked onto your seat. A number of sequences are memorable in this hour. Kirron Kher sharing the tragic story astonishes you and Kher’s mind blowing performance only enhances the impact. Same goes for the scene where Saif is nursing the wound with little help from Kareena after getting hit by a bullet. The way the blood tickles down and the way Saif screams-man, it gives goosebumps!

The last 30 minutes of the film is undoubtedly the best portion of the film. The tension that is created in the climax and the engrossing and captivating direction is truly appreciable. The film ends on an acceptable note.

Regarding the flaws, as mentioned before, the first 20 mins doesn’t work. Also, the film is full of violent and gory scenes which might not be liked by some sections. And the editing wasn’t upto the mark. More about it later!

Kurbaan is a rare film where the cast and most of the crew have worked exceptionally well in all respects. Saif Ali Khan was outstanding in his role. He looked dapper in his new look and performance wise, doesn’t provide even a miniscule chance of complain! Thus, Kurbaan can safely be added to the list of ‘finest performances of Saif’. This year has been particularly lucky for Saif with his home production Love Aaj Kal being a super hit and now even Kurbaan has been appreciated. His next Agent Vinod with Kareena is also expected to rock! Way to go Saif!

Kareena Kapoor has exposed as minimal as possible and still managed to look stunning. She’s always been delivering fine performances and in Kurbaan too, she does a perfect job. Watch out for the scenes where she discovers that she has been used and in the climax. She proves once again as to why she’s one of the top actresses today! Great going!

Vivek Oberoi steals the show with his wonderful act. In fact, his acts impact more than Saif-Kareena at several points in the film. Audiences as well filmmakers would surely sit up and take notice of this highly talented actor who was neglected in the past due to many reasons. He is expected to shine in his next films, Prince and Rakta Charitra too!

Kirron Kher, like Vivek, leaves a mark in several scenes. For a change, it was good to see her in a different kind of role than her usual stereotypical ones. Om Puri performs with ease. Dia Mirza looked charming and impresses with her special appearance. Nauheed Cyrusi does a fabulous job. Asheesh Kapur, who plays her husband, was great. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Aakash Khurana and others were good.

Salim-Sulaiman’s music was haunting and songs suited the film well. Shukran Allah, Ali Maula and Kurbaan Hua are the three best songs. Ali Maula leaves a mark. The duo’s background score was electrifying and they may bag the Best Background Score award this year.

Anurag Kashyap and Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogues were sharp and top notch. Best dialogue of the film was, “Ek minute ke liye bhi ye mat sochna ki ye allah ka kaam hai!Parvez Feroze’ gory action enhanced the reality of the film. Asif Ali Shaikh’s editing wasn’t upto the mark. One can notice that desperate attempts were made to haphazardly cut down mini portions of scenes to reduce the duration of the film as much as possible. Not good!

Rensil D’Silva, the screenwriter-director scores in his dream debut. Although the direction wasn’t perfect, the film managed to make an impact and give out a strong message. The screenplay was undoubtedly intriguing.

And finally, kudos to Karan Johar for writing the film and also for producing such a hard hitting flick. KJo was criticized for making lovey-dovey films only. But with his last two films and Kurbaan, he has proved that he’s here not only to rake in moolah but also to provide fresh and interesting flicks! Hats off!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1.       The songs Shukran Allah and Ali Maula
2.       Ehsaan and Avantika at the dinner in the neighbour’s house
3.       Avantika meets Dia
4.       The plane bombing sequence
5.       The intermission point
6.       Riyaaz at the Saif’s lecture
7.       Riyaaz’ quick conversation with Avantika at the mall
8.       The scene at the sandwich parlour
9.       The coffee scene
10.     The climax

On the whole, Kurbaan is an engaging and thrilling film that impresses and engrosses thoroughly! Go for it and have 160 minutes of captivating and thrilling time!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Kurbaan-180014-1.html


By Taran Adarsh, November 19, 2009 – 15:14 IST

Post 9/11, there’s anger, distrust, suspicion, uneasiness all around. Not a day passes when you don’t hear of terrorists killing civilians in the name of religion.

Many storytellers have, in the past, narrated stories about terrorists and their nefarious and despicable plans. But let me state one thing categorically. You haven’t watched a more profound, a more thought-provoking, a more dramatic story on this subject before KURBAAN. It’s not just the most powerful film to come out of Dharma Productions, it’s the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry this year, thus far.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

KURBAAN tries to penetrate into the psyche of not just the terrorist, but also someone who has been a helpless spectator all this while. This film is sure to spark off discussions and debates, although it must also be noted that it doesn’t take sides or gets preachy.

Rensil D’Silva has chosen a burning issue for his directorial debut, which is a complete departure from Karan Johar’s earlier films. For some inexplicable reasons, parallels are being drawn with FANAA [Aamir Khan, Kajol] and NEW YORK [John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Katrina Kaif], but the fact remains that barring the backdrop of terrorism, there’s no similarity with those films.

I’ve often felt that certain films are beyond box-office. Movies are not meant to merely entertain, but enlighten and educate as well. They need to prick your conscience and in the process, make an attempt to make this world a better place. KURBAAN does just that and for this very reason, it deserves a double thumbs up.

Final word? Drop everything else you’re doing to watch KURBAAN. Movies like these need to be made, encouraged and lauded.

Avantika [Kareena Kapoor] is a teacher at a university in Delhi. She has come back from New York where she teaches, because her father [Aakash Khurana] has suffered a heart attack. During this period, she meets a Professor called Ehsaan Khan [Saif Ali Khan]. Soon, they begin seeing each other and love blossoms.

A few months later, Avantika receives a call from her university in New York, asking her to come back. Avantika breaks the news to Ehsaan. He, in turn, tells her he doesn’t mind coming to the States with her. But first they need to get married.

Soon after the marriage, they leave to start a new life in New York. They buy a house in an Indian neighbourhood and move in. Just as they are setting up home, their conservative Muslim neighbours invite them over for dinner. The next morning, Salma [Nauheed Cyrusi], one of the women Avantika met the night before at the dinner, visits her under the pretext of gifting her sweets.

When Avantika invites her in, Salma tells her that she is in grave danger. Nothing is what it seems. Salma pleads with Avantika to help her. What follows next is a series of incidents that sucks Avantika into a vortex of danger and intrigue. As her life spirals out of control, Avantika realizes that she is a pawn in a huge game.

KURBAAN has two stories running concurrently – the love story between Saif and Kareena and the story of Islamic terrorists. Rensil sets the stage in the initial 15 minutes itself, after which there’s a twist in the tale every 15-20 minutes, which catches you completely unaware. Rensil doesn’t borrow from the past, which makes the proceedings thoroughly captivating.

The highpoint is the 35-minute climax, which leaves you spellbound. The culmination to the story shakes you completely, largely because it’s pragmatic and has been executed most logically as well. In fact, filming the climax at the various underground tube stations must’ve been the toughest challenge for the director.

On the flip side, KURBAAN caters more to the intelligentsia or the thinking viewer and might not be lapped up whole-heartedly by those who survive on the staple diet of hardcore masala fares.

Some of the finest technicians in the business are associated with KURBAAN. Hemant Chaturvedi’s cinematography is super. The film bears an international look all through. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is well integrated in the narrative. At least two tracks merit a mention – ‘Shukran Allah’ and ‘Ali Maula’. Anurag Kashyap and Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogue are superb. The lines enhance the impact of several sequences. Thrills are, again, in sync with the mood of the film.

KURBAAN is embellished with superlative performances. Saif is extra-ordinary in a role that only proves his versatility once again. If he won your heart with a winning performance in LOVE AAJ KAL a few months ago, you need to watch this supremely talented actor underplay his part so beautifully in KURBAAN. As for Kareena, KURBAAN reiterates one fact yet again: She’s the best in the business. No two opinions on that! Watch her get those emotional sequences right, it’s incredible. Here’s a performance that truly merits the highest praise and admiration, besides fetching her awards and accolades.

Vivek Oberoi is fantastic. Matching Saif and Kareena at every step, KURBAAN should be the turning point in Vivek’s career. It’s a difficult role to portray and only an actor with a wide range could’ve portrayed this part so effectively. Om Puri is top notch and so is Kirron Kher. Kirron is marvellous, especially in the penultimate scene. Dia Mirza, Nauheed Cyrusi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda lend credibility to their brief roles.

On the whole, KURBAAN is the most powerful film to come out of the Hindi film industry in 2009, so far. The film has a captivating plot, gripping screenplay, super performances and a climax that shakes you up completely. Watching this movie should be on top of your agenda this week.