Story: Sanjay Dutt, an intelligence officer, is sent to the Valley on a special mission. He must investigate the secret going-ons and unveil a sinister plot that threatens to derail the ongoing elections in the troubled state which has been grappling with terror and violence for the past three decades. Can this diehard officer manage to navigate his way through the conflicting forces --terrorists, separatists, activists, opportunists --and let the voice of the quintessential Kashmiri prevail amidst the cacophony of political chaos?
Movie Review: From the communal cauldron of Gujarat 2002 to the scarred battlefield of Kashmir, filmmaker Rahul Dholakia carries forward his tryst with political cinema with a refreshing seriousness and gravitas that defies the demands of commercialisation.
If Parzania portrayed the nullity of communal violence with extreme sensitivity and pathos, then Lamhaa is a no-holds-barred look at the multi-layered turmoil in Kashmir, with so many real-life references that you end up with just one conclusion: now here's a real film about a real problem.
The highpoint of Lamhaa is the fact that it doesn't use the political overboil as an exotic setting for a love story, nor do the fiery Chinar trees and the serene Dal lake double up as sylvan scenery for romantic duets. There is romance, but a mere suggestion of it, between the ex-militant, Aatif (Kunal Kapoor) and the firebrand female activist, (Aziza) Bipasha Basu. The twosome, who are fighting their individual battles for a better future for their state, know the bitter truth: it may be ever-after, but in another paradise,when the bullets have stopped flying and the bombs have been silenced. Till then, Aatif wants to try the power of the ballot -- he wants to fight the elections --having realised the nullity of guns and bullets; and Aziza wants to shed her militant garb for a more workable solution. Our agents of change do realise it isn't going to be an easy task, specially since nobody seems to be in favour of normalcy. Neither the fundamentalist Pakistani leader, Pasha (Yuri Suri), propagating his factories of misconstrued jihad across the border, nor the machiavellian spiritual heads like Haji (Anupam Kher) and the rest, spearheading a hate wave within the state, nor even the sundry middlemen, moneymakers and dubious official agencies drawing their moolah and clout from the Kashmir conundrum.
Also, the film refreshingly -- and realistically -- posits no solutions. Seriously, can a political film actually dare to resolve a complex issue that has claimed millions of lives and has been plaguing a sub-continent for almost three decades? All it dares to do is transport you to one of the most dangerous places in the world that lies at your doorstep and take a hard-hitting look at the movement for self-determination and the role of the Indian state in post 1989 Kashmir. So, don't go looking for a cinema that follows a traditional format, offering made-to-order recipes and instant nirvana. Of course, the film maker has enough hooks to draw you in, the most important being the relentless pace of the film which unfolds like an action-packed thriller. Another alluring factor are the performances.
Most of the ensemble cast creates convincing characters, with Sanjay Dutt delivering a rock-solid and restrained act after a long time. Anupam Kher's enigmatic and shrewd spiritual leader is chilling and matches up to Yuri's malevolent Lashkar-Jaish leader look-alike. Both Bipasha and Kunal are completely non-starry and quite convincing as the voice of the young Kashmiri, longing for a semblance of normalcy. Just one word of caution: you might end up losing the link, now and then.... there are simply too many people and players who keep bursting onto the screen in unmitigated frenzy. But if you remain patient, you will see them fitting into the bigger picture.
A word about the cinematography: James Fowlds camera captures Kashmir, both in its beauty and its sinister shades. Mithoon's music score too has enough lilt to draw you in. Serious and sensible cinema, Lamhaa is meant for the movie buff looking for something more....
Source : TOI
Ratin : 3.5/5