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1 Star. Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo. Directed by Anil Sharma. With Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol, Divya Khosla, Ashutosh Rana, Danny Denzongpa.

I never imagined I’d end off my Bollywood viewing this year by watching a real stinker of a movie. There have been some pretty bad movies released during 2004, but this one really hits an all time low, especially considering the heavyweight talents involved in it. The film is sub – titled “An unusual journey of love”, unusual is a pretty apt description of this film.

The story focuses on Amarjeet Singh (Amitabh Bachchan), an army officer, who watches his son Vikramjeet Singh (Bobby Deol) sacrifice his life during the 1971 war with Pakistan. Before he does so, he makes his father promise that he will raise his son to be an army officer as well. Years pass by and Vikramjeet's son Kunal (Bobby Deol in a dual role) is now an army officer himself. However, he is only doing this to please his grandfather. He has expressed to his family that he would rather go abroad and start a business and become wealthy, as he is not cut out for the army.

At an army function he sees Shweta (Divya Khosla) and its love at first sight for him. But Shweta has a past. She's been married to an army officer, Rajiv (Akshay Kumar), who had to leave for the battlefield on their wedding day. He ends up in the custody of a Pakistani platoon led by a ruthless captain (Danny Denzongpa) and is tortured ruthlessly. Two years later, he is helped by a sympathetic Pakistani officer to escape and return to India, only to find his wife at a crossroads as she thought him dead and is slowly falling in love with Kunal.
Meanwhile on the war front India and Pakistan decide to work towards ending the war. However certain militants within the army backed by a senior members of the armed forces (Ashutosh Rana) conspire to continue the terror campaign. Their mission is to sabotage a holy pilgrimage, undertaken by members of the Indian community, at which high-ranking officials of both countries will be present.

Director Anil Sharma can’t seem to decide if he’s making a war movie, a love story, a human drama or an action thriller. Essentially the film is a war drama as the action revolves around the war between Pakistan and India, again! This is such old hat, especially since both countries have recently extended a hand of friendship towards each other. However, Sharma spends an equal amount of time on the other elements alluded to above. I don’t think he’s heard of sub-plots. Anyway there are so many plots in this plodding mishmash of a movie; it’s definitely not worth wasting your time on.

The talents of a competent cast are wasted; in fact they are made to look downright buffoonish at times. This will surely go down as a blemish on all their careers. There is a total lack of characterisation, with the Pakistani’s being made to look like murderous villians with no redeeming features, while their Indian counterparts are patriotic angels. Sharma and his scriptwriter Shaktiman, make no attempt to present a balanced view of the situation. Continuity errors are evident throughout the film, the special effects are totally unrealistic, music is a rehash of tunes heard countless times before and the direction is abysmal.

The biggest crime here is that if the human drama of the relationship between Bachchan and Deol had been the core of the storyline, with the war drama as a background, the film could have been promising. But to achieve this would have required a much better screenplay and a more competent director.
7/24/2012

Interesting thoughts.

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    Mehboob Bawa is an actor, producer, writer, voice artiste and Bollywood specialist. He covers the Bollywood scene for The Cape Times, the morning daily newspaper in Cape Town, South Africa.

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