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Kurbaan – a Review November 22, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in Bollywood, hindi films, india, Jihad Politics, Personal, Review, Saifeena.
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Avantika, the heroine of Kurbaan finds the truth of her neighbour, including her husband’s evil terror designs by the most facile manner. She is under lock and key supervised by highly motivated terrorist’s who forget to search her. She in fact has a phone on her!

Still interested? Avantika who knows that a plane carrying a special delegation to Iraq is about to be BOMBED does NOT call the cops – inspite of having a phone!! She calls up a journalist who is traveling on the said plane – who like most travelers switches off her phone before take-off.

Vivek Oberoi’s journalist character (with horrible accents that change like calamitous weather) again discovers that there is a terrorist cell in operation about to carry a HUGE operation. What does he do? He decides to investigate on his own – without informing the FBI. And better still – he goes and informs his editor that he has LEADS but is not going to inform the FBI! You would assume that the editor would pick up the phone and call the FBI. But no sir, he doesn’t. All this after 9/11.

There is more. Even after knowing that the terrorist cell is targeting the Metro Lines and even after the 1st bombing – people in America go about their daily lives. The authorities continue to operate the Metro instead of closing it down and sanitizing it so that our plot reaches it logical ending.

The clothes of course are good. And the locations. Couple of scenes work well. But does it justify the lack of careful attention to screenplay-detail? Seems like that. We are cagey in our criticism until and unless there is an ulterior motive. A taut flawless script is no guarantee of a film’s success. I like Rang De Basanti (at least I did when I last saw it). My friends laugh and mock me, but I still enjoy it inspite of the inconsistencies and flights of fancy. RDB has a sincere charm – the emotions of those characters are infectious and accessible. You are ready to gloss over because you believe in the film emotionally if not intellectually.

That is not possible with Kurbaan’s because its politics exist in a no man’s land. A Pakistani posing as a professor, charms off an Indian psychology professor teaching in the US so that he can take revenge on the white man and his politics of oil. The story of his idyll being destroyed by America is told by Kiron Kher’s character. Similarly Kiron Kher and family’s rage has a backstory set in Afghanistan.

The complex web of the Jihad – Wahabism, invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, the Mujahideen, the Saudi funding of Madrasas, the CIA financing of the Mujahideen, the ISI agenda of funding terror for strategic depth in Afghanistan, the radicalization of Pakistan under Zia, the strangle-hold of the military in Pakistan, the emergence of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda – nothing is even remotely touched upon. Kurbaa’s reductionism lays the blame on the door of the US of A. Is it that simple?

Do we see any evidence of what Bhaijaan (Om Puri) constantly asserts – that Ehsaan (Saif) is falling for Avantika (Kareena). NO. It is just a bogey so that when Ehsaan actually does have a change of heart without any reason whatsoever (no it’s nothing to do with the kid that Avantika is carrying) you have to gloss over the obvious lack of motivation. Again Ehsaas, the numero – uno terrorist is surprised by the rigging of Avantika’s bag. Is he a fool or a motivated fanatic?

Is Kurbaan a vivisection of the increasing clash of cultures between Islam and Christianity? NO. Is it a study of radicalization of the world per se. NO. Does India play any role in it? Nothing other than the fact that the film starts in India and the heroine has Indian roots.

Kurbaa’s characters lie in a no-man’s land. Are we supposed to like the film because it features 2 of India’s good-looking, talked-about people who are in a relationship? Good ploy but it fails.