New York - Review

Monday, June 29, 2009

When you visit the Ground Zero in New York, you can very well sense that quietness amidst the bustling streets of the downtown. Such is the impact of the 9/11 incident. It certainly changed our lives, perceptions and to some extent majority of the World’s outlook towards Islam. New York, is an attempt from Kabir Khan to show the after effects of 9/11 in the lives of people. Coming from Kabir Khan, a documentary film maker, if you think that this one too sounds like a documentary, you need to go and watch the film. It’s your high-end Bollywood flick that carries a message that comes across. Finally one of the better films to end the drought. Friends, the monsoon seems to have arrived in Bollywood!

Kabir Khan’s earlier venture was Kabul Express for the same production house, Yashraj Films. It was set in Kabul and again discovered life post 9/11. New York is his second film dealing with the same theme. I wonder if he’s considering making a trilogy of sorts. Talking about the film, New York is a fast paced film that is very gripping in the first half, loses steam in the second and ends on not such a promising note. However, there are a lot of positives associated with the film that make it worth watching.

The film maintains a very balanced approach in conveying what it wants to. It talks about the erring US that tortured many innocent Muslims after the 9/11 incident and the disillusioned Muslim youth who chose the path of destruction to avenge their lost dignity. It accepts that there have been mistakes from both sides. Post 9/11, the US gagged up a lot of Muslims in its detention centers where they were tortured. Similarly, a lot of young men from the Muslim world wrongly took to the path of terrorism. Ably supported by two proponents of the non-actor class (one of them will surprise you for sure!), a talented young bloke (who’s too fair to be Indian) and a veteran who will remind you of Al Pacino, the film is expected to hit the bull’s eye and end the lean period for the Hindi film industry.

Frankly speaking, this is the first time I saw John Abraham act. There was something endearing about his character that made you empathize with him. Since this was how the character was meant to come out on screen, I will give it to John for the portrayal. Katrina, the glam doll looks beautiful again in the deglam scenes as well. She has tried hard to up her performance levels and that’s a thumbs up for her but being deglam doesn’t guarantee a good performance. There are still mountains to climb. Period. Neil Nitin Mukesh is a good actor. He takes the film forward and rightly so. Irfan Khan is as good as he most of the times is. A very measured performance and played with a lot of punch. There is this other actor who plays Zirge. His short appearance hits you. I can’t count him in the same league as probably a Deepak Dobriyal but do hope to see him in some more roles of consequence in the days to come.

The music is good. But I don’t give much of credit to the music director because as it has always been, all of Pritam’s songs turn out to be “inspirations” with just the words changed from the original piece.

New York is a beautiful city and that makes the work of the cinematographer a bit easier. The editing looks good too. I would rate the story as a winner because it has something to say and doesn’t wander aimlessly and get lost in the song and dance routines. Kabir Khan is an intelligent film maker. He seems to have learnt soon from his mistakes of Kabul Express. The way he has handled some key scenes is really praiseworthy. If I think now, I remember the scenes where Neil tells Katrina about his feelings, then the ones that depict John’s plight as a detainee and the scene where the patrolling policeman stops Zirge and Katrina’s car. The end was a dampener but overall, I will still give it to Kabir Khan for pulling the film off well.

As was the case with me, if you don’t go with too much of expectations you will probably like the film. The film should rake in the moolah and YRF can breathe a bit easier now after a string of flops over the last one year (barring Rab Ne).

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