By Taran Adarsh, June 18th, 2004 - 1400 hrs IST Broadband: Farhan Akhtar speaks on Lakshya
A few doubts need to be set to rest before one analyses LAKSHYA...
Is LAKSHYA anti-Pakistan?
Director Farhan Akhtar and writer Javed Akhtar have made an effort to recreate the facts. In that respect, there are references to Pakistan, but facts have been depicted without resorting to jingoism. To make India look like a hero, the duo haven't made Pakistan seem like a villain.
Yet, not many Pakistanis would be ecstatic reliving those moments.
Is LAKSHYA similar to J.P. Dutta's L.O.C. vis--vis depiction of war scenes?
The battle lines are drawn at the interval point in LAKSHYA. And the focus in the second half is on war, on winning Kargil, on making India proud. But writer Javed Akhtar has cleverly injected the romantic track in the narrative, so that the film does not emerge as a documentary on Operation Vijay.
Yet, the war sequences in the second half leave the viewer with a sense of dj vu. It's L.O.C. revisited, to be honest.
Coming at a time when the Indo-Pak relations are at an all-time high, does a film like LAKSHYA stand a chance? Also, does the film meet the monumental expectations?
The answer to both is, partly!
Karan [Hrithik Roshan] is a happy-go-lucky dude with a laidback attitude towards everything in life. His childhood sweetheart Romi [Preity Zinta], on the other hand, is a modern girl who speaks her mind. On an impulse, Karan decides to join the armed forces and gets enrolled in the Indian Military Academy.
The sequences in the Indian Military Academy in the first half [where Hrithik undergoes his training] have been filmed with flourish. The entire track, from a non-focused youth to a cadet, is one of the best parts of the narrative.
The flashback, which begins soon after Hrithik has watched Preity on TV, is another fascinating aspect of the enterprise. In fact, the goings-on seem straight out of life, making you realize that film-making is undoubtedly the director's medium.
Though the story has twists and turns aplenty in the first half, the problem is that everything unfolds at a very lethargic and sluggish pace. In fact, the narrative moves at such an unhurried pace throughout that an average Indian cinegoer would start feeling restless after a point.
While the first half is engaging, despite its slow pace, the second half disappoints big time. For, the graph of the film starts sliding downwards in this half. The war scenes [though well executed] get boring after a while, more so because similar scenes had been witnessed a few months ago in J.P. Dutta's L.O.C.
Besides, the interesting moments come in bits and spurts in the post-interval portions. For instance, the intruders eliminating a few Indian soldiers and only six remaining to accomplish the mission, is deftly executed. Ditto for the jawans climbing the rocky peak in the pre-climax [reminds you of the beginning of the Tom Cruise starrer MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2] - the sequence is a novel experience for the Indian audiences.
However, Farhan Akhtar can easily trim at least 15-20 minutes in this half, purely because the film starts dragging after a point. Even the songs in the second half can easily be deleted because they don't contribute in taking the story forward. Actually, they are a hindrance to the goings-on.
One-film-old Farhan Akhtar takes colossal strides as a director in his second venture. His storytelling is riveting, his penchant for breathtaking visuals is evident in every frame, plus he has drawn fantastic performances from the cast. As a technician, he is amongst the best today.
But Farhan ought to keep in mind that more than visuals, performances and technique, the Indian cinegoer is thirsting for a spellbinding story and a taut screenplay, which the second half of LAKSHYA lacks. Besides, the protracted pace and refined treatment has its limitations.
Javed Akhtar's script has several interesting incidents in the first half, but you can hardly count the intriguing ones in the post-interval portions. However, the dialogues are flawless and only a seasoned writer could've come up with such lines.
Cinematography is outstanding. The visuals of North India look mesmerizing and one can't help but fall in love with the locales. The lighting during the war scenes is also perfect. Overall, the film bears an international look.
The action scenes are well executed. Though the war scenes may meet with diverse reactions [ladies and kids won't like it], their execution is perfect.
Music [Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy] is functional, with just one number leaving a mark, 'Main Aisa Kyun Hoon'. The choreography [Prabhu Deva] of this track is awesome. The background music is effective.
LAKSHYA belongs to Hrithik Roshan undoubtedly. A performance like this comes once in a while and can compete with the best from across the Atlantic. The ease with which Hrithik slips into the character is amazing and the outcome is spellbinding. If he is lovable as the aimless youngster, he is admirable as the officer.
Preity Zinta's character Romi is modeled after renowned TV journalist Barkha Dutt and she enacts the part with incredible lan and authority. Amitabh Bachchan doesn't get much scope, but his work is commendable. His dialogue in Marathi will meet with a thunderous response in Maharashtra mainly.
Om Puri has a few scenes and he does it well. Amrish Puri is wasted. Of the strong supporting cast, Boman Irani and Sushant Singh leave the most impression.
On the whole, LAKSHYA will meet with diverse reactions. While the intelligentsia/gentry/classes will love the film, those looking for typical Bollywood masala entertainer will be disappointed. At the box-office, the film has already taken a fabulous start everywhere. While the advance booking status will ensure a cent per cent response at metros [Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata] in the first week, the collections will start cracking at places where the system of advance booking doesn't exist. From the business point of view, the film will prove Class 'A' at 'A' class centres, 'B' at 'B' class centres and 'C' at 'C' class centres. The business prospects will be the brightest in Mumbai, but weak in certain pockets of the country. Also, the opposition of yet another biggie, DEEWAAR [next week], will make a dent for sure.
Rating:- * * .
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