The year has been virtually empty when it comes to film releases . Those that managed to get released before the strike were all major disappointments and the year so far did not see any good release but bollywood's 6-month long wait for a box office hit finally came to an end, thanks to Kabir Khan's New York - a story that revolves around three friends whose lives are deeply impacted by the fallout of 9/11.
Well, those of you who don’t like the story getting revealed before you actually go and watch one in the theatre, know that I am not gonna disappoint you for I don't plan to brag about the entire plot in this post, but I am certainly gonna do some dissection over here.
This film has been in the making for quite sometime and Kabir Khan does a great job in bringing some true stories and the gruesome details especially those dealing with torture, to life through his film. But themes like 9/11 are extremely sensitive and to present a story without taking sides is even tougher. Too often films based on terrorism, especially those dealing with 9/11, put Islam in the centre of action. And in almost all the films muslims are shown as victims of unwarranted and often impulsive suspicion.
But I guess it’s true in a way. And you can’t simply blame the Americans for that! They did have proof that most of the terrorists directly linked to 9/11 were from South Asia and were all Muslims (or was it just fabricated by the media?). But certainly we cannot justify the extent to which agencies like FBI & CIA can go to interrogate and as we have seen the incidents in Abu Ghraib prison and the notorious Guantanamo Bay Prison, their methods have been barbaric and a matter of great disrespect to humanity. On the other hand, it’s difficult to not be sympathetic towards those innocent civilians especially from the South Asian community who were illegally detained in the name of Patriot Act, the brilliant portrayal of which was enough to give you goose bumps during the movie.
But I guess it’s a vicious circle of suspicion for which perhaps there’s no solution until one of the factions calls for truce.
Talking of the movie- While John creates an intriguing graph for his character- a guy who has been traumatised by the treatment he gets for no fault of his own , Katrina, comes into her own as an actress of substance, giving her best shot to the last half-hour as a wife of a terrorist trying to keep her moral equilibrium in sync with her husband's sinking values. Indeed, from the carefree effervescent campus girl to the anguished wife, Katrina makes the journey look plausible all the way. Neel’s performance as the rosy-cheeked, strawberry-lipped sophomore with stars and stripes in his eyes was also fairly convincing. Irrfan Khan never misses any punch in his lines and is as expressive as ever. Also the small kid in the movie- Daniel [ which was strangely pronounced - "Daaniyaal" ] was great. Cute rather! :)
As far as the film is concerned, I think that Aditya Chopra’s story could have worked towards the rehabilitation of the disturbed mind that has taken to the wrong path. In a way, the film turns the villain into more of an antihero imparting him no character change. But yet all in all it was a movie that’s well picturised and challenges the existent codes of cinematic conduct without being either fashionably unconventional or preachy.