Reviews

‘Lahore Confidential’ movie review: An exercise in vain

Arunoday Singh and Richa Chadha in a still from ‘Lahore Confidential’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Little espionage, zero thrills and an abject movie — that is Lahore Confidential in a nutshell. The film has an unforgiving runtime of 68 minutes which makes it imperative to develop an intelligent plot, and use only defined characters into the screenplay. Unfortunately, Lahore Confidential fails in that regard.

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The story follows Ananya (Richa Chadha), an intelligence operative with a penchant for Urdu poetry. Her colleagues suspect she is “too emotional” to take up spying activities.

But what shocks the viewer about Ananya is how dim-witted she comes across. Now this is agreeable, too, if your character was named Johnny English and the actor is Rowan Atkinson, but Ananya is neither. It genuinely beggars belief that a character fitting the profile of Ananya even finds herself cast as a R&AW operative in a film that is supposed to have a serious plot.

‘Lahore Confidential’
  • Director: Kunal Kohli
  • Cast: Richa Chadha, Arunoday Singh, Karishma Tanna, Khalil Siddiqui
  • Storyline: An unwitting R&AW operative is sent on a mission to Pakistan to extract information from someone the agency suspects has terrorist links.

Anyway, Ananya’s boss and colleague Yukti (Karishma Tanna) — who has the unintendedly funny lines in the film — keep a close watch as she makes contact with the who’s who of the cultural elite in Pakistan. Actually, scratch that... we haven’t got enough time, so the ‘cultural elite’ is just one man Rauf Khazmi (Arunoday Singh) — a bulky, bald, smooth talker with an equally profound grip on poetry.

Full points for creativity: no other spy film indulges as much with poetry as Lahore Confidential does. But to what end does that serve the film’s ‘spy plot’ is a question mark that no one bothered figuring out. Or maybe, they just didn’t have enough time, like the film.

Candlelight dinners and intimate moments follow, but Ananya — spies be damned — continues to be oblivious about the obvious. When the realisation sinks in on Ananya that she has been duped, there is not much time left in the film, and so it ends... abruptly!

Karishma Tanna in a still from ‘Lahore Confidential’

Karishma Tanna in a still from ‘Lahore Confidential’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It would take a casual viewer some time to adjust to the editing standards applied in a film with such short run time as Lahore Confidential.

Not that it is jarring, but even makers of a daily soap — which bore our lives for about 20-odd minutes a day — would understand the importance of letting a shot linger for just a couple of seconds extra. It is what helps build the emotion, drama, thrill. Lahore Confidential, on the other hand, is in a tearing hurry to finish telling the story that it fails to recognise the viewer is left behind.

What also doesn’t help is the uninspired casting. Richa Chadha as Ananya is not the right fit; the role written for her isn’t memorable.

Lahore Confidential is an exercise in vain. But let’s hope there is a lesson learnt, which could either help restrict the flow of unmerited content, or assist in partially raising the standard of said content.

‘Lahore Confidential’ is streaming on ZEE5


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 11:30:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/lahore-confidential-movie-review-an-exercise-in-vain/article33748397.ece

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