Review - Kurbaan: Really? Only a few good Musalmaan?

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
quick review:

All but a couple Muslim's are terrorists. Is that what we need to hear in this day & age? Predictable to the minutest detail and utterly-butterly s..l..o..w. You sure have better ways to induce yawns now, don't you?

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Wogma Review

"All Muslim's are terrorists." In order to prove that the Western world thinks that way, Rensil D'Souza and Karan Johar go that extra mile to showcase the very same thing. And, hopefully inadvertently, complete the circle and cast the despicable stereotype in a deeper mould. Why are good Islamic citizens left out?

Ok, I'm taking the same route and exaggerating a bit here. But only a bit. A couple of Muslim characters in Kurbaan are not fundamentalists and are not blind followers of their religion. But just 2-3 between 12-13 main characters can see that their faith is being misused. That's a gross overstatement of the human race's irrationality. And even if I'm naïve that that's how things are. How does decorating that fact with a star couple help?

Saif Ali Khan plays Ehsaan and is rather stiff. Somehow, he doesn't seem at ease with the character. Except for a few scenes with Kareena Kapoor (Avantika, the girl next door). And those scenes are really well-done. Kareena looks the prettiest without make-up on and is by-far the most huggable sight when her character is supposed to cry. This woman can act. It's a pity only a few directors find her potential size-exponential worth exploring too. The rest of the cast except for Vivek Oberoi are just doing their drill. No record-breaking performances asked for, none given.

Physical intimacy is not something Indian filmmakers are very good at. But, here there's nothing crude and both actors fit just right. Now, whether the scene was a "script ki maang" (need of the script) or not is very debatable. And clearly, this much-talked about scene is as predictable and lame as ever. The pre-release attention that the scene has been intentionally awarded with makes the timing even more obvious. That still doesn't take away from the fact that it is worth every marketing penny spent on the skin-show. Delicious!

And these things are major let-downs after the slick title sequence. It's so refreshing, especially when you are expecting a Dharma Productions product to bank on a crisp, fresh view of the New York skyline. Thankfully, the smart production values continue after that. The background score and actually, the lack of it for almost two-thirds of the film is not only worth a round of applause but it also tried its best to keep you focused on the acting and reacting. Some great work by the Foley artist. Similarly, the framing of individual shots are very engaging. They are different and try their best to build the curiosity.

But, neither sound nor visuals can take the place of the story and more importantly of the details that make the story. They all take the beaten path. The community that the terrorists belong to feel marginalized and the only way to deal with that is to shoot on sight - even people belonging to their own community, it is martyrdom after all. Every time someone on screen said that, I felt my skin crawl. I'm sure the line, like many other done-to-death dialogues, was a really strong statement when it was used the first time. But, now you know that argument and want to hear the real people talking.

Especially because the makers are very clear about making this a serious, dark film. How in such a case can a small terrorist group act in a void, by themselves, with no apparent help from outside? And it's not like we are following one or the other character's story. It's all plain and stagnant. They want to kill, kill, kill and they kill, kill, kill.

Over 5 hours after the film and I still can't figure out what the purpose of the film is.
To entertain? It got way too many unintentional laughs, right down to the convenient glass of milk showing up as expected.
To tell a story? Whose?
Avantika's? I know nothing about her except that she's a professor in psychology with no apparent insight into human nature. Though her struggle to be in love and the resultant helplessness is obvious.
Ehsaan's? Maybe. But how much do we really know about him? He is in dilemma. Sure, but what about it? I don't empathize with him, I don't hate him, because I haven't a clue why he does what he does.
The story of a terror attack? Which one? The one in the planning of which I wasn't allowed to participate? The games and counter-games seem to be serving no particular end.

I don't like the tone of such films that almost feel like they take pleasure in reinforcing the stereotype. Where's the balance? Where's the grey? Where's the human face of cold-blooded murder? It does have one, or doesn't it? Are our film-makers claiming that there are absolutely no non-Muslims involved in these acts of terror?

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A very nicely done but very gory shot of a bullet being pulled out. Other than that gun fights, blood splatter, etc in plenty.
  • Language: No profanity. But it reeks of fanaticism.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A few lip-locks and a bedroom scene with bare backs shown. Also the same scene implies the couple reaching a climax.
  • Concept: That of fundamentalism and citizens feeling marginalized, committing acts of terror in the name of revenge.
  • General Look and Feel: Dark and grim.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 1
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 1.5
  • Screenplay: 1
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 2

Kurbaan - Movie Details

Kurbaan - Trailer

Comments (4)

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Amol:

I haven't seen the movie yet but read reviews online. Most of them said 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5.

Your review says otherwise. I don't understand this huge difference to be honest.

Thing is, maybe you were too much trying to find out the logic behind everything that you lost the soul of the movie. Firstly, you just cannot expect that much logic from Indian films NOT because the directors are incapable but because such movies are not commercial viable.

Secondly, even without that logic, it's not that the movie will suck! There is STILL a lot of things to be seen and thought of.

In short, I found your review to be too extreme. Of course this is your blog and you can write anything you wish ;) but as a reader I didn't find it worth reading and coming back for more ;)

Ekta :

Yup...I agree with you esp when you said- no great performance asked, no delivered.

Kareena kapoor is the only best part of this movie. Wish they would ve utilized her presence better and try to make a more reasonable movie than the streotype the did.

Vishal:

I didn't like this movie as well. For slightly different reasons though.

My dislike is not the result of the director's depiction of 'all Muslims are terrorists'. I don't think a director necessarily has a social responsibility. He's making a movie. A piece of fiction. And I don't care what he chooses to show - if the story demands all Muslims to be terrorists, so be it. As long as it's convincing in the universe of the movie, I don't care if it breaks all the rules and notions of our REAL universe. It's FICTION.

Having said that, I think the story-telling and plot was executed unconvincingly. As you correctly mentioned, the director was unable to invoke any empathy in audience's mind for ANY of his characters. Avantika almost became a piece of furniture after the intermission. Saif's ethical dilemma was left completely unexplored. Heck, the movie's title is based on his character (he's the one who got kurbaan for his love in the end) but he was not even given a few lines that stuck with me after the movie was over. (Sorry, Anurag Kashyap, but the dialogues were just sloppy - for the most part.)

manveer:

a totaly bore
copy of new york
no songs to enjoy
i don`t understand what to watch in it

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