*may contain spoilers*

I don't like war movies. I never have - I even fell asleep during 'Saving Private Ryan'. When I put 'Lakshya' on, I didn't know what it was about as it was recorded on my pvr and there's never any description for the movies on B4U, so I was amazed that, not only did I make it through 'Lakshya', but I actually enjoyed it.

The first thing that struck me was how cinematically stunning the opening scenes were. Rolling hills, magnificent mountains, beautiful clear skies. Right from the beginning to the finale, the movie skillfully captures the captivating visuals with expert cinematography. The breathtaking landscape that comes alive on screen leaves a strong impression.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was a Farhan Aktar film, since I've already become a huge fan of both his direction and acting. I'm sure there was a lot riding on this film for him, being his sophomore attempt, but I think he did a fine job. With 'Lakshya' there is a sense of maturity in Farhan's storytelling and direction, and the plot is extremely grounded. While the first half of the movie focuses on the angst of a young man, his directionless life, and his subsequential maturing and metamorphoses into a soldier, the second half the story moves into the battlefield, into the bunkers and shows the realities of war, the loss of lives and the triumph of the human spirit. There is no denying that the battle scenes and the special rock-climbing operation are brilliantly picturized. The research gone into giving the film its authenticity is admirable. However, the war surprisingly and suddenly takes the film over, and, as a result, the hour and a half long pre-interval parable seems to have been lost in the process.

Acting-wise, Hrithik Roshan excels in his portrayal of Karan Shergill. He has brought out the transition of irresponsible, aimless youth to a determined and focused person extremely effectively. When his character returns to military training you see his metamorphosis into a man obsessed. The scene where he reconciles with his father over the phone before setting out on his mission is dignified and soulful and was the only scene in the entire film to bring a tear to my eye. Priety Zinta, as Romila Dutta, was strictly okay for me. It was nice seeing her play a strong independent woman, but her character, and the romantic subplot, could have really shone had she been more involved in the war in a journalistic nature. Just imagine Karan trying to plant that flag and save the girl from peril!

Om Puri, Sharad Kapoor, Rajendranath Zutshi, Sushant Singh, and Boman Irani round out an amazingly stellar cast in strong supporting roles. However, the biggest disappointment comes in the lack of depth in Sunil Damle’s character, played by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. The Colonel’s character poses absolutely no challenge to Mr. Bachchan’s acting abilities, plus I had a hard time concentrating on his dialogues due to his weird wig-like hairstyle.

The music by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy suits the tone of the movie, especially the score, which was mellifluous and patriotic at the same time. Though there still are several lyrical songs in the film, there is also a lack of the usual big Bollywood numbers, save one, as Farhan wisely limits them to carefully selected arenas and uses them strictly to propel forward the story. He does, however, recognize that he has one of the most gifted dancers in Bollywood and in the film's only real item number, 'Main Aisa Kyon Hoon', he lets Hrithik cut loose in a strange and wonderfully choreographed piece by Prabhu Deva.

I was really surprised to read that this film flopped in cinemas in India. I thought that, between the star power, the visual spectacle that it was and the patriotic message in embodied, the population would have flocked to theatres. At any rate, it must have had at least a little something special for me to stay glued for it's entirety. I can successfully cross "War" genre off my list!

8 Response to "Lakshya"

  1. Cindy says:
    June 8, 2009 at 10:46 AM

    I quite liked this film too. On Koffee With Karan, Hrithik said the one thing he'd change about Lakshya was Preity's hair in the first half. I'd have to agree, although I'd add his hair in the first half too. (Farhan said the one thing he'd change is "the audience," which is a pretty good answer as well.)

  2. shell says:
    June 8, 2009 at 1:01 PM

    Hi Cindy! Namaste and welcome. I'll have to look for that episode - I enjoy Karan's show almost as much as his movies. I wasn't fond of Preity's hair in either half really. I much prefer her look in Kal Ho Naa Ho or Salaame Namaste, and I think Hrithik looks best with a short cut - very clean and current.

    I love Farhan. Leave it to him to give such a witty retort that like.

    Thanks again for coming by!

  3. Anonymous Says:
    June 8, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    Undoubtedly, one of my most favorite films. I enjoy it whenever I watch it. Congrats and thanks Farhan.

  4. shell says:
    June 9, 2009 at 6:25 AM

    Thanks for stopping by anon. Farhan is truly talented.

  5. bollywooddeewana says:
    June 9, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    haven't seen this but Main aisa kyun, left such a big impression on me, hrithik is definitely a super fab dancer, in fact one of/if not the best Male dancer in bollywood

  6. shell says:
    June 9, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    It's like his body is made of rubber - he's quite dextrous. I was aniticipating a tear jerker with this one and didn't get it, but it was worth my time. Good for a drama lover, but not a masala flick.

  7. E says:
    October 22, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    I just finished watching it... It took me a couple of days to get through this one - there were some points of the battle scenes that could have used a light trim, they were too long.

    This is a marvelous effort from Farhan(and I've become such a huge fan of his now), and he gets the most points in my book for being able to pull off a war movie without it turning into a patriotism-fest or a killing-fest a-la Bruce Willis...

    Another great feat was his ability to make Hrithik Roshan act..! Now, I love my boy Hrithik but let's face it, he's no great shakes as an actor, he just tries too hard to "act".. But here he just held back so much and just spoke the lines naturally and it worked so well. Trust Farhan to control his actors' impulses to "perform" - that's a mark of a great filmmaker.

    A couple of beefs - one was the zero chemistry between Hrithik and Preity. None. I didn't believe the love they shared for a second.

    Also the relationship with the parents could've been elaborated on a bit more.
    And what was going on with everyone's hair?..

  8. shell says:
    October 23, 2009 at 8:16 AM

    I agree with probably everything you said. There was absolutely no chemistry between Preity and Hrithik (I liked them much much better together in Koi Mil Gaya. I have to give Farhan props on a personal level though. I don't generally like war movies and usually steer clear of them, and I liked this one. I think he could be one of the better newish directors to emerge for sure.

    Oh, and I have no idea what you're talking about with the hair. ;)