Film: Mission Istanbul
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
Producers: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Shabbir Boxwala
Presenter: Popcorn Motion Pictures & Balaji Telefilms Ltd
Cast: Zayed Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Shabbir Ahluwalia, Shreya Saran, Sunil Shetty, Nikitin Dheer, Abhishek Bachchan, Shweta Bhardwaj and others
Mumbai: Whopping adrenaline rushes, some darr and then more jeet ahead of it, this was the sum total of promises made by Apoorva Lakhia’s latest, much-touted thriller Mission Istanbul. What we get in hand is a jamboree of mis-matched shots, a stagey love story and an action film with no action heroes.
Set against the backdrop of international terrorism Mission Istanbul is a potpourri of sorts. There is action, intrigue, terrorists screaming jehad jehad, love, song-dance routines, all in an amazingly formulaic pattern which is actually scientific.
Two heroes, one vulnerable and emotionally distraught, (Zayed Khan, playing an ace journalist, heart-broken husband) the other one hardened (Vivek Oberoi, surprisingly appealing though not enough). It’s a different thing that none’s angst is felt by the audience.
Two heroines, both props as usual. One a reason for the first hero’s distraught state (Shriya Saran, dull and drab) and the other, some kind of mystery woman dressed in a Lara Croft outfit (Shweta Bahradwaj, no poise or style) who keeps popping up at intervals to save the men in a complete subversion of the Bollywood formula.
Then there are the filmy counterparts of Osama and his channel Al-Jazeera, here, in a brilliant cinematic brain-wave called Al-Johara in Istnabul, Turkey. While the filmy Osama doesn’t plague us, his chambal-ke-daku type dressed second-in-command (Shabbir Ahluwalia) does, flitting in and out of the movie. And the ringmaster of it all, a beefy, big-jawed, wrestler-type chief of Al-Johara (Nikitin Dheer) with a Mumbai ka chhokra accent. Just how all of it ties up is little difficult to say coz it doesn’t really.
Hero no.1, Vikas Sagar is a journalist on an assignment with Al-Johara who finds himself in a soup. His life is in danger throughout the film and he is chased as vigorously as Bush must’ve Saddam. Though for what reason is a little hard to understand. Hero no.2, like our Lara Croft, keeps turning up and disappearing like a ghost in order to save Hero no.1’s life. Al-Johara is said to be connected to the filmy Osama’s group and in more than one way.
It is revealed that the news channel is much more than that; it helps terrorist networks stay alive. He is actually dead, killed in laughingly silly manner by our hero no.2. But our chambal-ka-daku wants his threat to remain alive and so Al-Johara and its beefy boss do the dirty work of re-editing old tapes and morphing filmy Osama’s face on to a dummy and putting terror words in the background. Hero no.1 and 2 want this secret to be exposed to the world and get after it in the pre-climax, making us wonder was this the whole movie about?
Meanwhile, our heroine no.1 is busy moping at the breaking of her marriage and trying to cover as many war scoops as demurely as she can. Heroine no.2 keeps saving the heroes’ lives till the end and even gives up her life for them.
The marvellously shoddy movie seems to have been made with one thought in mind. If it’s an action movie it has to be only about action. We get plenty of it everywhere. Jeeps blowing up, bombs blasting, bullets pelted like marbles, helicopter jumps, and some musclemen-type fisticuffs. But explosions, fire and dead bodies everywhere does not make a macho thriller.
Lakhia’s movies have some amount of interesting cinematography. But some over smart editing gets in the way and hardly any of the shots are well-used. There is a jamboree of millions of shots placed at all the wrong times which add to the already tedious screenplay. After all this, would one care to hear anything about the acting at all? Suffice to say that Mission Istanbul makes Contract look like a classic.