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Kurbaan
Directed by: Rensil D'Silva
Producer by: Karan Johar, Hiroo Johar
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Dia Mirza, Kirron Kher, Om Puri, Akash Khurana, Nauheed Cyrusi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Music Dir: Sulaiman Merchant, Salim Merchant

A Karan Johar movie that begins with a 'K' but of a serious genre! Yes, more than romance this flick delves into a (true) perspective behind Islamic 'jehad'. A difficult subject! In fact, Karan had titled the movie 'Jehad'.

But then to widen the appeal especially in the West where the word might spurn instead of attract audience, he changed the title to 'Kurbaan'. The movie makes it clear that suicide bombings have failed to solve political crises anywhere.

It is another matter that Karan made the movie, as some insiders reportedly say, for he had no other script ready with him at that time. He picked up director Rensil D'silva's script and let the latter helm it.

This one seems like an effort where Karan wanted to exploit the multiplex audience and make good bucks. D'silva was given a 'start to finish' schedule.

Other revelations coming to light are that Deepika Padukone was to earlier star opposite Saif Ali Khan, but it changed to Kareena Kapoor. Similarly, John Abraham was first on the list but the director changed to Viveik Oberoi (playing the aggressive Muslim) as the former had dates problem.

Anyway, the movie shows that Karan and D'silva succeeded in fully realizing the talent of their actors and even as second choices Kareena and Viveik both deliver excellent roles. Actually, one wonders who could have replaced them in the movie! Now, that should feel good, Rensil! Luckily, the movie got a lot of publicity from its detractors.

First, Shiv Sena in Mumbai objected to Kareena's posters with her bare back and then the other sections of society even approached the court to get a few lyrics deleted from the movie before release. However, the court didn't stop the screening of the movie though sought responses from the producers by January 14, 2010.

The movie is a love story with against the background of fundamentalist terrorism. Or, should we say jehad is the essence of the love story.

Whatever be the case, the movie takes a deep look at testing the relationship between a husband and a wife. There is Ehsan Khan played by Saif Ali Khan, who wishes to avenge the loss of his wife and kid following American excesses committed on Muslims.

Saif isn't the Jehadi type though; he is rather suave with a personality even to charm the heart of a college professor Avantika played by Kareena Kapoor. They soon get married. In fact, Saif follows her to New York on her stint with a university there.

However, Kareena soon discovers that her husband also belongs to those who are planning to bomb America for its excesses against Muslims. In a classroom sequence, the movie links the Muslim fundamentalism to America's oil policy and the consequent destabilization of oil rich countries.

But, Avantika gets the shock of her life when she discovers that her husband is no less than their Afghani neighbor Om Puri who is driving his community into becoming suicide bombers. Though she hasn't been a convert, she is terribly disturbed, as the man has fathered her child.

Under such circumstances, she finds solace in Riyaaz played by Viveik Oberoi. Riyaaz is the undercover journalist who too has his story of personal loss that pitches him on the other side in this so-called jehad. He is determined to fight the terrorists to the extent of defeating their plot of bombing America.

In terms of story, 'Kurbaan' is quite a perfect film, and the credit can be given to director D'silva whose narrative keeps the movie watcher glued to his seat throughout the 2 hours 40 minutes. Anurag Kashyap's dialogues aren't any less impressive and play quite a pivotal role in keeping the ears all tuned to the screen.

But, the movie's USP remains the chemistry between Saif and Kareena first during their passionate love and later when it cracks up. Similarly, Viveik plays a progressive Muslim too well.

Om Puri is also good playing a terrorist who otherwise masquerades in the garb of a commoner. Kiron Kher makes the myth of a suicide bomber credible. Dia Mirza and Nauheed Cyrusi play the most significant guest appearances of their lives.

Editing is tight in the first half, but leaves one yawning in the second part of the movie. Pace slackens when tensions grow, quite the contrary. The movie then begins to drag a bit and one feels the plot and production could well have been timed for 2 hours and no more. Music by Salim-Suleiman is titillating at times and most definitely melodious.

Two numbers standing out is Shukran Allah and the title track, Kurbaan Hua. Two songs, 'Ali Maula ' and 'Shukran Allah', have lyrics that are quite religious and found fault with a section of the community.

Cinematography by Hemant Chaturvedi is excellent, especially the shooting in Delhi and New York. Overall, the movie deserves everyone's positive response. It's a must watch and stay up during the second half!


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