Review - Lamhaa: Futile 20-year war & 2-hour film

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?)
quick review:

Lamhaa is a Kashmir-issue recap enacted by Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Anupam Kher and oh yeah, Kunal Kapoor. It's done in a rush and tries too hard to sell itself to the audience who is presumed to like loud background music and unnecessary drama. Overall, it loses out because it's neither subtle nor loud enough to be a crowd pleaser.

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Wogma Review

After watching 2 brilliant films back-to-back,Tere Bin Laden and Udaan, I was all set for a hatrick. But Sanjay Dutt's slo-mo entry with loud background music showed my expectations their place. But my heart still hung on to the hope that Rahul Dholakia will surely make a strong commentary. And commentary it was. Lamhaa is a revision of Kashmir's saga from 1989 and a running description of how nothing has changed since then. It’s not boring but doesn't get you involved except for the last reel or so, where the atrocities of the jihaadis are very effectively slapped on your face.

It is arguably an insurmountable task for a film to address the nexus of one fascist faction, another faction, Indian government, Pakistani Government, idealists, military, and the common man - each of them with their aspirations, filled with back-stabbers and double-crossers. I'd assume it is only understandable for the film to rush through this all without much attention to details - characterization, plot and pace. But this is accompanied with a notion of typical, shrill music in the background and dramatization techniques that should be reserved for infant-amateurs. And that is like drawing one more straw, if not the last one.

The last one would be the predictable dialogues. It was disheartening to see actor after actor repeat the same thing in the same words over and over again - "No one cares about Kashmir and her real issues, everyone has their own agenda masked by some altruism." What starts out as a history lesson, ends up in an attempt to brainwash us with repetitive mention of the current state of affairs. Within this, the name 'Strong' and its derivatives are used so many times that you get desensitized to the beauty and the terror of those 2 syllables. (Geeky joke warning: Someone seems to have briefed the writer that google ranks videos according to number of times a word is repeated in its content!)

So in line with dialogues that exist as filler, as if a silent frame is penalized, there is a choppy screenplay. The performances aren't out of the ordinary, nor are they extraordinarily bad. Anupam Kher, of course, comes out really well as the inspirational leader. Kunal Kapoor is more or less flat as the principled leader of the masses. Bipasha's emotional outbursts are very involving. But she neither brings glamor quotient nor does she fit into the role of someone who has grown up in a conservative environment. She's too straight and her gait too city-girl like to be entirely convincing.

You could've taken all of this in your stride if the story that evolves in the second half came a little earlier. In the attempt to start macro and narrow it slowly down to one event, the writers lost track of time. From characters that represent entities the plot gravitates towards individual A&Os. This focus on people that belong to a group is very intriguing, but it's too little, too late.

It is remarkable that the vanity of an issue with global repercussions comes across, despite all the flaws. By the end, your heart goes out to the Kashmiris and you are touched. And that, is Lamhaa's true success.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: uhhh...India, Pakistan, Kashmir....yeah loads!
  • Language: Strong abuses explicitly used 3-4 times
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: That of the political tension and the suffering in Kashmir
  • General Look and Feel: Grainy and very dark

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 1.5
  • Music Director: 2.5
  • Lyrics: 2

Lamhaa - Movie Details

Lamhaa - Trailer

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