Saturday, July 04, 2009

New York

A film about discrimination in the USA in the aftermath of 9/11, New York has its heart in the right place, but is led down by a flawed screenplay and clunky dialogue. In short, it could have been a much better film.

The movie starts with an FBI agent (Irfan Khan) detaining an Indian Muslim, Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh), now working in America, on suspicion of terrorism. To clear his name, he is then asked to infiltrate his friends' (John Abraham and Katrina Kaif) home as the FBI has suspected them of being involved in running a terrorist sleeper cell for a while. The film tells the tale of the three friends in flashback... how they met, all the fun times, the love won and lost. Omar loses the love of Maya (Kaif) to Samir (Abraham) and then 9/11 happens. Samir is forcibly detained and tortured for 9 months and is lucky to be one the 4 to be released on grounds of lack of evidence. He is understandably disillusioned and thus begins his downward spiral into the world of revenge, jihadis and terror. Do his friend and wife succeed in stopping him? That's where the film's climax culminates.

It all starts off very well, with the three friends meeting in college and having a whale of a time. The first 40 minutes of the film are perhaps its best, and then on things start to get a tad tedious. The emotional connect with the audience is just not strong enough here, as is required to justify the victim's position. As American citizens, I would have expected Samir and Maya to show a tad more emotion when the 9/11 news broke. They just hugged and looked glum. Also, a better actor than Abraham would have been able to better emote alienation and intense anger during and after the months of detention. Samir's story is the the most important track of the film, but doesn't hook you at all. Its the frivolous bits that actually seem a lot more genuine.

Irfan is dependable as ever and as the conscience of the film, is saddled with the trickiest and worst dialogues, but carried them off bravely enough. Katrina Kaif finally gets to do more than sing songs and look phenomenally gorgeous. Here acts moderately well and of course, looks phenomenally gorgeous. Neil Nitin Mukesh's earnest turn is eye-catching, but the big disappointment is Abraham, who perhaps gets the most opportunity, but fails when it counts. He is natural as a carefree American college jock, but as an anguished and haunted individual, he isn't as convincing. The music of the film is passable. Kabir Khan's direction is good and every frame looks great. A really glossy body. But not enough soul.




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