Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review: New York * *

Director Kabir Khan's first venture, 'Kabul Express' was quite an interesting watch. He had cleverly blended the documentary style with commercial elements. It had its flaws but it was quite watchable. However, in his second outing, Khan chooses a wider canvas - 9/11 and its impact on Muslims.

Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is asked to spy on his former college friend, Sam (John Abraham) because an FBI officer (Irrfan Khan) is convinced that he is involved in terrorist activities. Neil agrees to it hesitantly, but more to prove him wrong. Sam is married to Maya (Katrina) who was Neil's college crush. He discovers there is more to Sam than meets the eye. You might want to watch the movie to know what happens next.

What works for New York is that it has its heart in the right place. Khan wastes no time to setting up the mood of the film. Supposedly based on actual research, Khan keeps the plot clean from any sub-plots, item numbers, or gimmicks- something that is common in Bollywood these days. But since it is after all a Yashraj film, you have the usual slow-mo of the heroine, the flowers falling from the trees, and the songs in the background.

However, there are large gaping holes of logic in the film. If the FBI has sufficient proof on Sam, why are they willing to wait and watch out for his next move? If Maya works for Human Rights of immigrants, how can she let her hubby blow away thousands of innocent people just because she is waiting for him to "come back to the right path"? If you can ignore these follies, you might find the film somewhat engrossing.

Now the performances. The backbone of the film obviously is Irrfan Khan. He manages to make his role convincing. Neil Nitin Mukesh does a competent job. However, it is the acting of the lead pair Abraham and Kaif that disappoint. You cannot sympathise with the characters because they hardly make you believe it. While Kaif gets to do something different from her usual mad-cap comedy capers, it is John Abraham who disappoints. In what is an author-written role that could have made the difference between an okay and good film, John doesn't deliver the goods. His acting skills have graduated from wooden to plastic and it is a serious dampener in the film.