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December 20, 2009

Kurbaan: Slippery Slope

 ‘Kurbaan’ is another in the new ‘global-terrorism’ mould cinema of Bollywood. It can also be called the second in a trilogy, sandwiched between ‘New York’ and ‘My Name is Khan’.

Avantika, a Professor at the Delhi University, falls for Ehsan Khan, a new Professor who’s just joined the staff. They get married; move to the US for Anamika to continue her teaching and Ehsan starts a new job there as well. Avantika later realizes that Ehsan is a terrorist and is involved in the bombing of an aircraft. How she tries to get out of this situation is the crux of the story.

The screenplay tries to lift the story above the regularity of what we read in the newspaper reports by putting in Vivek Oberoi’s character into the mix to spice things up, but fails. There are glaring mistakes; like Vivek Oberoi’s unnecessary and unrealistic gung-ho act, FBI agent Collins surviving the powerful blast at a distance of 1 metre while the entire subway station around him goes to waste, Om Puri meticulously planning everything and then failing to do as much as a background check on Vivek Oberoi. Even the much publicized intimate scene is a gimmick and could have been done without.

Rensil D’ Silva performs decently in his directorial debut, considering he’s hampered by the poor screenplay. At some places, the story moves a little abruptly; but that will get better as he makes more movies. He is also able to bring out good performances from most of the cast.

Kareena Kapoor as Avantika is the soul of the film. She’s at the eye of the storm and puts in a great performance. She is the best performer in this movie without a doubt.
Saif Ali Khan looks old and burdened. This might be deliberate to show him as the hardened terrorist, but he fails to give you the scares. Om Puri as the mastermind of the operation is effective in his brief role. Kirron Kher has a refreshingly different role from the usual benevolent motherly roles she plays and she does very well. Vivek Oberoi is decent, but his gung-ho act and inconsistent accent takes away from his performance. Dia Mirza is OK in her brief role.

The music is hummable. No song stands out, but no song grates on your nerves either. The background score is mostly effective, but in moments of tension, there seem to be some mirthful beats playing, and that sounds strange. The cinematography is good. The actions scenes look real, with an explosion looking like an explosion and not something superimposed on the scene.

Final Verdict: Kurbaan is a decent movie, hovering somewhere between average and good. Ideally, I would give it 2.75, but I’ll go with 3 out of 5 for the excellent production values.


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