- Kashmir (Refugee, Fiza and now this)
Revolutionary of the year - Hrithik Roshan (Fiza and this again)
Box-office dud of the year - Kashmir itself
You just can't miss it. It's in the papers, it's on the telly, it's on the silver
screen, it's in your conversations, and the next thing you know, it's coming
out of your ears. But if you wished for one place that Kashmir hadn't made it
to, it would be the confounded minds of our oh-so-great filmmakers. We have
had enough for a year and, with the current attitude, maybe for life, of lukewarm
attempts to throw light on the Achilles' Heel of our country. And we are none
the wiser! And if any of these Smart Alecs tries to tell you that this wasn't
the point, anyway, then, pray, what was all the pre-release fuss about?
Mission Kashmir is an out-and-out vendetta film that somehow tries to tap the
dramatic potential of the prevailing political situation in Kashmir. Altaaf
(Hrithik) is the only surviving member of a family that has been gunned down
by SSP Inayat Khan (Dutt). The kid somehow overcomes his shock to transform
from a reticent kid to a young man who can finally sing and dance with his own
Kashmir ki kali, Sufi (Preity). Sufi, incidentally, organizes concerts
for DD that, actually speaking, neither the channel nor the state have ever
Altaaf has other priorities, too, like freeing Kashmir - or is it avenging his
family? Decide for yourself. All I can say is that there are some filmmakers
who really need to work out their priorities before venturing to tackle sensitive
issues. Apart from a few inspirational shots (watch out for the almost Hitchcockian
scene where Altaaf goes after Khan, towards the end) and competent performances
from from Hrithik, Dutt and also Sonali Kulkarni (she plays Khan's wife), there
is little to hold this strained piece of work together.
What irks is that the makers of these films don't have the gall to make a proper
political statement. Though there may have been a willingness on the part of
Vinod Chopra to make one here, he ultimately remains content with just putting
things in black and white. So, in the absence of a clear stand, the film does
best in charting out the personal equations between the two main characters.
At least here, there isn't an attempt to place the blame on someone's doorstep,
and that is rather appreciable. And watch it just for that, and even then if
you aren't weary of vendetta.