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Shootout at Lokhandwala movie review

May 28, 2007

The film is a thriller they say. Well, I like thrillers and movies that are fast paced. I also enjoy cops and robbers/gangster kind of movies. But I guess this movie is an exception. It’s about a bunch of cops from the ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) who go after a gang of underworld goons. The movie is fast paced and not boring, but I found it irritating. The editing felt jerky. Worse, the characters were caricatures, specially those of the gangsters. In some cases simplified enough to be laughable.

Well, I went to see it because the movie had got 3-4 stars and also because the movie is supposedly based on true events. The tag line says ‘based on true rumours.’ There was a shootout at Lokhhandwala in 1992 when some gangsters, chelas of Dawood Ibrahim, were killed by the police. There was a controversy after these killings as there were strong rumours that it was Dawood himself (who had contacts in the top echelons of the force) who had asked the police to kill these guys.

The movie’s protagonist is a cop, ACP Shamsher Khan (played by Sunjay Dutt). He and his collegues from the ATS (Javed Shaikh played by Arbaaz Khan and Kaviraj Patel played by Sunil Shetty) have only one aim in life – to kill gangsters and terrorists in encounters. The villain, the head of the gang, is a guy called Maya Dolas (Vivek Oberoi) and I thought his acting was pretty alright. He manages to look evil and makes all the right moves…however his character was not fleshed out well. The director should have spent more time developing characters instead of showing the evil guys constantly drinking and going after bar girls. Rest of the time they are torturing and killing people.

The movie does not deserve 4 stars. Perhaps 3, I don’t know. It’s subjective. Personally I don’t like movies which are gory and which go out of their way to show rivers of blood, mangled limbs and other sickening scenes of violence. There is a subtle way of showing violence but the director, Apoorva Lakhia, has deliberately chosen an obvious vulgar way. It could perhaps be excused in a documentary film like Black Friday, but not in a film like this. In any case the camera did not move fast enough over the blood and gore like in Black Friday – it lingered. As if this was what the director believed would give viewers a kick. This is not a movie for children. It’s an adult movie, mainly because of the extreme violence shown graphically throughout the movie.

Another thing I did not like is the fact that Amrita Singh who plays Maya’s mother, the mother of a gangster, is shown to be the woman behind his evil behavior. She eggs him on to kill and this was a typical Bollywood stereotype where women are shown to be behind evil men. I thought this was the end of it. But no. At the of the movie when its all over, Shaikh, the hero of the movie, admonishes the mother. He tells her that it is because of mothers like her that evil men like Maya are created! This was terribly retrograde and disappointing. Its surprising that Bollywood directors continue to show that men turn bad because of women. What about fathers? Don’t fathers have a hand in it too? In fact crime statistics have shown that the absence of a father figure often leads children astray, specially boys. Also research has confirmed that genes play a part. Besides, if one is surrounded by an atmosphere of violence, it affects children. To show that women create evil men is ridiculous!

I guess I must mention Amitabh Bachchan, who plays Abhishek Mahatre, the lawyer who defends the trigger happy ATS guys. His performance is very very average and so is the performance of every actor in this movie, except Vivek.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. soorajrox permalink
    May 28, 2007 7:03 pm

    “The director should have spent more time developing characters instead of showing the evil guys constantly drinking and going after bar girls. Rest of the time they are torturing and killing people.”
    I totally agree with you on that point.

  2. May 29, 2007 12:33 am

    your review is bang on target…

  3. May 29, 2007 5:39 pm

    I agree with your review.

  4. May 30, 2007 2:38 pm

    i read this article while looking for info on the shootout case after watching the movie.
    well one thing: …about the mother; she herself acknoledged in the movie that she was responsible for her son becoming the most fearsome gangster of them all. Secondly, what is to be shown in a commercial film is at the behest of the director, and i guess he did a decent job of chilling quite a few spines. if the same thing would have been done in an english movie, everyone would have gone gaga over the “effect” those scenes had.
    about the characters, they were shown in a simplistic manner because of the very fact that it was a commercial movie, and not made specifically for the wine sipping sophisticated audience.
    its an earnest effort to bring to life the recent history of india, to which people in my age group have no or very little knowledge of.
    coz an english film is an english one, and to expect an indian one to have the same sensibilities is bull shit!!!

  5. May 30, 2007 6:05 pm

    Nikhil, you are entitled to your opinion but kindly refrain from making personal remarks (it has been deleted). This is a movie review and I have right to my opinion.
    I think the movie is crap and I am afraid I do not have two different standards for evaluating a movie (different for bollywood and different for Hollywood) which you will realise if you read all my reviews. I repeat I think the movie is stupid.
    There are a lot of Bollywood movies I love, and yes, action movies but I do not want to go into it here. I wish I could say I don’t like Bollywood (I have a right to say so whether you like it or not) but I am afraid I love Bollywood but like all human beings I like some movies and dislike some.
    For me a movie is a movie, bollywood or hollywood.
    As you said every movie has its audience, ofcourse!
    I am proud that I don’t enjoy movies like KANK or Shootout at Lokhandwala. Not my style. I am in a different league.
    Again this is my personal blog (not a commercial site), and this review my personal review so if you don’t like all you have a right to do is say you don’t agree, and give your argument in a polite manner. Kindly read my comment policy.

  6. Nikit permalink
    June 3, 2007 11:55 am

    I think the release of this movie is well timed. We need police who have guts and are not a bunch of tree hugging, peace loving hobos.
    Police with guts are needed to shoot to kill the scum of society. It does not matter if its true they acted on another gangster’s tip off. I don’t care if gangsters arrange for the killing of other gangsters. Ultimately, we are being assisted in reaching a zero-sum total for the gangster camp.

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