Friday, November 20, 2009

Kurbaan review









Blood, gore and what a bore!

Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Om Puri, Kirron Kher
Director: Renzil D'silva
Stars: *1/2

The tag line of the film's title reads, 'some love stories have blood on them' –but where is the love story? It has a lot of blood of course, but is wasted on a terror drama that is both predictable and vacuous. Kurbaan borrows elements from New York and the initial parts, shot in Delhi, is reminiscent of Fanaa. But this Karan Johar produced film neither has the prim liveliness of a Fanna nor does it engage you like New York. There is an utter sense of deja vu and ennui to the story. And what makes it unbearable is that debutant director Rensil D'silva approaches the script with high seriousness, inserting arty-looking visuals and creating a forced sense of drama (the last scene where Kareena cries out looks like a farce ) when the film has clearly nothing new to say.

The film's subject once again points at the circle of violence concerning America vis a vis Islamic nations. But it has no fresh insights to offer, nor can the film make up its mind whether it wants to go ahead with the terrorism theme or milk the presence of 'it' couple, Saif and Kareena. The much-talked about backless scene and kissing scenes have no resonance with the rest of the story. In fact, the passion and simmering chemistry that Saif-Kareena (over) exude in the beginning looks rather unnecessary in the context of the story.

Avantika (Kareena Kapoor) is a professor at a University (this has little or no relevance to the story later). In less than a few meetings, she falls in love with her colleague, Ehsaan. Their love story takes off in fast forward mode and it isn't altogether convincing the manner in which they quickly decide on marriage and move to New York. You hardly get a sense of who these two people are, so even an intensely romantic song like Shukran Allah fails to evoke any real feeling.



Once in New York, the couple set up their home. The domestic scenes remind you of Revolutionary Road (several visuals and scenes seem derived from Hollywood flicks). But soon enough, there is trouble, as Avantika discovers an ugly truth about Saif – he's a jehadi, who along with his father and brothers, is planning for a major terrorist attack on the US. So why did he marry Avantika? The juvenile explanation is that Saif conspired the whole University romance because he wanted to be a US citizen “legally only” and that was possible by marrying her. And in another scene you are shown how dreaded a terrorist he is! Surely he didn't have to put in this much effort for so little! Don't let your sense of plausibility be outraged just yet, because there's a lot in the film that defies logic. Masood, (Vivek Oberoi) is a journalist, who enters Ehsaan's clique so that he can thwart their plans to bomb the city. It's strange how he doesn't bother checking up on Masood's background when he joins. Which terrorist outfit works in such a shoddy way? Equally frustrating to watch is the Saif-Kareena 'now-we-are on, now-we-are-off' romance.

The performances are all fairly good, though the weakness really lies in the plot and the characterisation. For example, Saif's character is inscrutable till the very end. Kareena, surprisingly, has little to do in the film. Also for someone who is a professor is psychology in the movie, she seems to have very little understanding of human motives! As for Vivek, it's nice to see him after a while, though one wishes he could bring some variation to his standard expressions.

This film has to go down as a failure for Karan Johar, who seemed to be acquiring some kind of an edge with Dostana and Wake Up Sid.
Rensil D'silva came into limelight for writing Rang De Basanti, which had its own set of flaws. Yet, even with its muddled climax, it had a core message that made a definite impression. None of that can be said about Kurbaan, which is not just half-baked, but also completely devoid of a voice!
-Sandhya Iyer

5 Comments:

Blogger Qalandar said...

yikes! I was expecting a somewhat better film :-) Now I know how low to pitch my expectations...

November 20, 2009 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger lalsub said...

Sandy--Have just read your review, and enjoyed it like I've enjoyed all your writings on the net, well most of it.

Somehow, I'm not surprised about Kurbaan, though I'm yet to see the film. The promos gave me this feeling of deja vu; there was nothing fresh in the promos.Will watch the film and give my own opinion; it looks like a noble film, so for that I will watch the film. But your review contains spoilers--maybe that could have been avoided.

Loved your list of favourite films. Like kids say--same pinch! My list also includes Sarfarosh, JBDY, plus some Tamil cinema like Tenali and Michael Madana Kamarajan. Difficult to make a top 5. Fifty at the very least.

Thanks again for your writings. From another female Iyer!

November 20, 2009 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Sandhya Iyer said...

Yes Q, dreadful film!

Thanks lalsub for visiting. And nice to know about the 'iyer' credentials and even more so to know about the female one! :-)

Don't see you much on NG these days :-(

The point on soiler alert is well-taken. I think I have given out a little too much of the story.

November 21, 2009 at 9:23 PM  
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