Director: Apoorva Lakhia
Cast: Zayed Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Shriya Saran
Storyline: A journalist finds his life in danger as he discovers the truth behind a controversial TV network with a little help from a mysterious commando.
Bottomline: Chances of box office success? Mission impossible.
It is hard to admire ‘Mission Istaanbul.’ Little to appreciate, even less to admire, director Apoorva Lakhia’s film shows all signs of bankruptcy of ideas that is the privilege of the mediocre.
For all the hype, and lesser expectations, ‘Mission Istaanbul’ is a ragtag coalition of inexplicable action, lots of loopholes, and three — or is it four? — songs that does nobody justice.
Arriving at an intersection of crude commerce and an artiste’s licence to creativity, Lakhia’s film could have been so easily accepted a few years ago. Then the audience would not have read too much into a tagline that accompanies the film’s name: ‘Darr ke aage jeet hai’. But in circa 2008, you have to be particularly dumb or easily acquiescing to ignore this marriage of market with movie.
Still, just in case you missed out, a little into the second half, the director thrust a few cans of Mountain Dew in our face. Subtlety is conspicuous by its absence.
Earlier, films did not make too much claim on our intelligence. Unfortunately, it is not the same anymore. And Lakhia, fresh from the success of ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’, but a couple of years after directors of all class, language and region have milked the terrorist tap dry, comes up with a film that has such a familiar look to it that you feel, you have seen it, heard it and read about it.
Come on, you’ve got to be kidding the audiences, or more likely yourself, if you felt by putting an oval-faced white man behind an American flag you could sell them the dummy of Bush. Likewise, all the digs at Osama bin Laden or Al Jazeera (TV channel). The film’s fabric is tearing at the seams. And nobody is fooled.
If there is a guise here, it is thin. If it is an attempt to strike a chord, it fails. A journalist from India ends up joining hands with an Indian at the receiving end of a terrorist attack.
Too many reels are wasted, too much directionless, untamed energy in full blast before the final denouement. And all along, the cast, led by Vivek Oberoi and Zayed Khan, and ‘helped’ by Shriya Saran and newcomer Shwetta Bhardwaj, keeps pace.
Never suspected of being generously talented, they compete in evoking yawns, with probably Zayed winning the race. A twitch, a grimace, a sulk is all that he offers from his limited repertoire.
Fragmented, deceitful, ‘Mission Istaanbul’ has no sting. As for the chances of box office success, well, mission impossible!
ZIYA US SALAM