Shootout at Lokhandwala movie review
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.