The cast of Lamhaa have been screaming and shouting about how Lamhaa was different in every facet. The film came under serious scrutiny when it was banned in the Middle East because of its sensitive content, i.e. the topic of Kashmir. Talking about the beautiful state, the entire film was shot in what was and is known as Paradise on Earth. Director Rahul Dholakia believed he had a script on his hands that would bring about awareness about the atrocities that occur on a daily basis in Kashmir and is ignored by the media while it is swept under the carpets by politicians. The stars and director had no bones in openly displaying their contempt for the situation in Kashmir and that Lamhaa would help shed some much needed light on the issues faced by Kashmiris. Normally films like Lamhaa often shake you up only to make you sit up and pay attention. Take a look and see if Lamhaa lives up to its promise.
Intelligence Officer Vikram (Sanjay Dutt) is quickly sent to Kashmir when he is told that something is brewing underground. He is unaware what exactly is about to happen but is sure it is going to be big. When Haji (Anupam Kher), a Separatist Leader is attacked after his name appears on the ISI hit list, his daughter Aziza (Bipasha Basu) takes it on herself to figure out who is trying to kill her father. Vikram joins her and the duo discover that the people they least expect are actually out to create havoc. There is also Aatif (Kunal Kapoor) who finds himself separated from the Separatist party only to join fight for the people of Kashmir in a more political manner, i.e. casting a ballot.
Lamhaa doesn’t impress as much as it could have and ultimately that is what brings down the film. The plot is supremely weak simply because there is barely a story or an issue to talk about. And this is not because there is no concern in Kashmir but more so because the writer has merely put together a bunch of stories that can easily be found in the media and just sewed them together. It barely touches on the real issues that are constantly occurring in Kashmir. As a director, Rahul Dholakia doesn’t do justice to the issue at hand. The attempt is there, but the execution falls flat. In attempting to make a serious film, Rahul Dholakia does seriously below average job. You are introduced to character randomly and while each has their own story to tell, it doesn’t all fit together correctly. And before you know it, you have reached the end of the film scratching your head wondering what exactly happened. The problem is not in the direction but in the script which really fails everyone including the star cast.
The performances are worthwhile but not real enough. Sanjay Dutt is fantastic but you seriously do wonder if undercover Intelligence Agents stroll through Kashmir looking as stylish as him ala Ray Bans and leather jacket. I highly doubt it. Bipasha Basu gives an average performance and for the most part seems rather lost in the film. She looks and glares, stares and thinks; but that is all you will get from her. Kunal Kapoor impresses and how! It is so sad we see so little of him because he is incredibly on the ball when it comes to acting. He looks, speaks and plays the modern day Kashmiri so well. It is strange that an actor of his caliber is rarely used. Anupam Kher does well but such a role is hardly difficult for a powerhouse actor like himself. This was as easy as cherry pie for him.
Lamhaa is a disappointment because it attempts to belong to a genre of cinema that is serious and thought-provoking. However, it doesn’t work at all. Such cinema which makes you think and ponder over solemn issues is one that is given a great amount of respect to Hindi cinema. The same cannot be said about Lamhaa. Rahul Dholakia fails as a director this time around which ultimately means he has failed the people of Kashmir.