Film Review: Shootout at Lokhandwala

Film: Shootout at Lokhandwala

Director: Apoorva Lakhia

Producers: Sanjay Gupta, Shobhaa Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi, Sunil Shetty, Arbaaz Khan, Tusshar Kapoor, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Rohit Roy, Aditya Lakhia, Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Aarti Chhabria, Amrita Singh, Ravi Gosai, Aftab Ahmad Khan and Abhishek Bachchan.

Rating: 2/5

Imagine taking characters from real life, adding a bunch of fictionalized ones and throwing in some song and dance. What you get as a result of this mixture is a film that somewhere on lines of being different, has commercial elements packed to the brim and turns out to be a sober ride.

The film traces the rise of a trigger-happy gang and their pursuit to save themselves from maverick lawmen that are out to ensure they no longer exist. Maya Dolas (Vivek Oberoi) and his gang (Tusshar Kapoor, Rohit Roy, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Aditya Lakhia) are non-conformists, they defy their Dubai-based big boss (depicting most wanted underworld don Dawood Ibrahim), and begin extorting builders and the likes.

With the nuisance they have become, ACP Ahmed Khan (Sanjay Dutt) commissions a team to tackle the problem comprising Kaviraj Patel (Suniel Shetty) and Javed Hyderabadi (Arbaaz Khan). With the team in full form, the chase commences and what follows is a whole lot of ‘bang bang’ and encounters.

To begin with, the film is weak in its narrative. Every time one tries to connect with the film on some level or the other, it is broken with a conversation. The narrative shuttles between real time and an experience narrated by Dutt, which gets tiring beyond a point.

What could have certainly been a gripping and thrilling rollercoaster ride turns into a tedious merry-go-round. The film while in the first half introduces you to the situation and briefs you on what to expect; fails to convincingly tell the proceedings in the latter half.

Further disappointing are the dialogues that lack the punch. Though they certainly convey the meaning, it is the choice of words and the sentences’ length that makes the line seem endless. The film fails to explore the backgrounds of characters or even justify certain actions that may reveal a little more about each character.

On the technical front, the film is incredibly slick. The pace and mood has been created with polished editing. The exploration of various angles and the manner in which each scene has been executed is also commendable. The length and pace is bang on. But then this slickness is all that the film offers in the latter half, where the story begins to move into tangents.

Post the interval one expects the film to pace ahead. However, such is not the case. With the first half building up to the chase, the second half flows to reveal a sane goon hallucinating and his fellow members suddenly waking up to their familial love. What’s more… in what could have possibly been a brilliant film, a love interest between a goon and a bar dancer has been forced in.

The biggest crisis with the film is its purpose. The film neither objectively showcases the proceedings, nor does it take a stance. Dia Mirza as a television reporter should have ideally been the binding force for the entire film; however the same has not been utilized. The film questions the authority and the goons alike and then proceeds into a departure where all direction is lost (Every film need not have a point. But the medium is such where the audience walks out with an opinion of what they saw. The film should at least provide usable content to generate an opinion!)

A treat to watch are the performances delivered by each actor. Oberoi does exceedingly well with his role, the constrained and crisp movements, the expressions et al, has you hooked on. Dutt, Khan, Singh, Shetty play their roles to the T. Their body language is has you convinced on the characters they are essaying. Kapoor and Roy fail to set the screen on fire. Dhupia for the few minutes she is on screen is OK. The ones you’d want to see more of in the film are definitely the Bachchan father – son duo.

What’s more, with the exclusive exposé by underworld don Ejaz Lakdawala (former Dawood Ibrahim henchman) to TV Today Group’s television news channel Aaj Tak one day prior to the release of the movie, public interest around Shootout At Lokhandwala is only going to get bigger, thus raking in moolah for the makers. While talking to the television channel, Lakdawala held forth on the Apoorva Lakhia’s movie as not depicting the true happenings of the actual 1991 encounter. According to the don, the police shootout in Mumbai was in fact a fake encounter. He stated that gangster Maya Dolas was killed even when he wanted to surrender. Whatever said and done, this will only set cash registers ringing at the box office.

With already a lot of buzz surrounding the movie coupled with a heavyweight star cast and all the controversies it is embroiled in, Shootout at Lokhandwala will definitely get a very good opening.