Film: Shoot On Sight
Banner: Aron Govil Productions Inc., A Cine Boutique Entertainment UK Ltd.,
Producer: Aron Govil
Director: Jagmohan Mundhra
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Om, Puri, Sadie Frost, Gulshan Grover, Greta Scacchi
Movies that tread on the path of religion, terrorism, beliefs and true personal incidents have both the moral and social responsibility to be sensitive and fair. Mundhra, with his last film Provoked, did a spectacular job of making sure sensitivity oozed out from every part in the film, yet telling a brilliant story. Saying the same for Shoot on Sight is highly difficult. The film is tactless and dull, a dreaded combination.
Inspired from the 7th July suicide bombings in London, the film addresses the paranoia and turmoil post the horrific event. Tariq Ali (Naseeruddin Shah) a British-Pakistani is commander with the Central London Police. Married to Susan (Greta Scacchi), his family like most is happy and content. When a sudden turn of events occurs, he is asked to lead an inquiry investigating the shooting of a Muslim boy, suspected of being a terrorist. Meanwhile Alis’ nephew from Pakistan is over to stay with them and within days is seen interacting with a Muslim religious extremist (Om Puri). But without reading much into these interactions, Ali is busy carrying out his investigations. That until paths cross and the truth begins to unfold; truth so painful that ultimately results in choices.
If you remember not so long ago, Khuda Ke Liye too treaded on similar paths. And in all honesty though the performances were raw, the plot and the treatment were outstanding. The plot in this film is not bad; in fact it’s rather interesting. However the manner in which this film is treated is rather saddening. Through all its promotions, Shoot on Sight insinuates a question of deciding whether it is a crime to be Muslim. However in the film this question is very easily forgotten. The film starts somewhere and ends on a totally different note. Certainly one is not expecting a moral story or a sermon, but the least one could expect is a balanced depiction of a highly heated topic. The dialogues don’t help either.
Straying away from the saddening treatment, the film does not even work on any other level. Elements like background music, visual treatment and character loudening all seem to be given a miss. The film flows on the same path constantly and nothing new is ever explored. The film is so pro you making up your mind that the personal actions of the characters just seem forced in to give the movie a sense of completeness, which in no way it does. There are many roles carved that could have added volumes to the film, but that is not even remotely explored. Characters like Alis’ friends, work Colleagues all are reduced to puppets in the film.
There is nothing in this film to write home about. Lackluster camerawork, editing and music seem like the foundation of this film. Even the acting is not the best we have seen from the veteran actors. Puri and Grover look bored and are seen simply uttering lines for the sake of it, whatever happened to extracting great performances from these fantastic actors? Frost and Scacchi are just plain Ok in their tiny roles. As for Shah, an actor who is incomparable, Shoot on Sight offers him his most unconvincing role yet and hence a likewise performance.
The film looks like a TV series and a really bad one at that. The plot lacks sensitivity and any strong performances. It’s devoid of emotions. You are better off watching Karzzzz instead, at least it entertains.