Director Hasnain Hyderabadwala looks at the Islamic angle to terrorism and asks some straight questions from both sides of the divide. If the State has to answer about the slow progress in cases related to demolition of Babri mosque and Gujarat riots, vested interests in the Muslim community are put under scanner for misguiding the youth in the name of religion. However, it is executed in a loud, preachy way, reducing the film into a strident sermon for harmony. In an attempt to balance out the equation, the screenplay suffers. Every line is underlined and every sub plot is headlined. And in between the storyline becomes almost a filler reminding of the poorly etched Muslim socials of the 80s.

The performances are shrill with Akhilendra Mishra leading from the front as a crafty politician who masquerades as a maulana. A usually reliable actor, Mishra needs a helmsman who could keep his hamming in check but Hasnain gives him the licence to shout out the opposition. Ajaz Khan disappoints as the head of the Anti-terrorist squad. He doesn’t get the depth of the character and keeps displaying stock mannerisms that are taught in crash courses of acting. The saving grace is Manzar Sehbai, the seasoned Pakistani actor who is still remembered for his masterful performance in Bol. Here as the well meaning doctor who strikes a balance between the teachings of Islam and the changing needs of humanity, he shows how a good actor can lace the sermons seamlessly into the performance.

Perhaps, Hasnain has a plan. Perhaps, he has made the film for those who revel in Wanted and Rowdy Rathore kind of cinema. So he has packaged the much-needed message in the kind of pill that they love to pop.

YA RAB

Genre: Drama

Cast: Ajaz Khan, Akhilendra Mishra, Manzar Sehbai, S.M Zaheer

Plot: When a pseudo cleric manoeuvres a terror strike his own family gets affected.

Bottomline: Go with ear plugs. Don’t worry the message will still seep through!