A few doubts need to be set to rest before one
Is LAKSHYA anti-Pakistan?
Director Farhan Akhtar and writer Javed Akhtar
have made an effort to recreate the facts. In
that respect, there are references to Pakistan,
but facts have been depicted without resorting
to jingoism. To make India look like a hero, the
duo haven't made Pakistan seem like a villain.
Yet, not many Pakistanis would be ecstatic
reliving those moments.
Is LAKSHYA similar
to J.P. Dutta's L.O.C. vis-?is depiction of war
The battle lines are drawn at the interval point
in LAKSHYA. And the focus in the second half is
on war, on winning Kargil, on making India
proud. But writer Javed Akhtar has cleverly
injected the romantic track in the narrative, so
that the film does not emerge as a documentary
on Operation Vijay.
Yet, the war sequences in the second half leave
the viewer with a sense of d? vu. It's L.O.C.
revisited, to be honest.
Coming at a time
when the Indo-Pak relations are at an all-time
high, does a film like LAKSHYA stand a chance?
Also, does the film meet the monumental
The answer to both
Karan [Hrithik Roshan] is a happy-go-lucky dude
with a laidback attitude towards everything in
life. His childhood sweetheart Romi [Preity
Zinta], on the other hand, is a modern girl who
speaks her mind. On an impulse, Karan decides to
join the armed forces and gets enrolled in the
Indian Military Academy.
Karan is determined to make something of himself
and prove that he has what it takes, despite
what his father [Boman Irani] or friends might
Unable to cope up with the grueling training
sessions, Karan flees from the academy and
returns home. But neither Karan's father nor
Romi are pleased with this decision. This
creates a rift between Karan and Romi and both
decide to go separate ways.
Karan and Romi meet again, but the circumstances
are different. India and Pakistan have gone to
war and Romi, who is now a crusading television
journalist, is in Kashmir for a on-the-spot
coverage for her news channel. She meets Karan
there, who has now graduated to being a key
Karan has just one lakshya now - to
cleanse the land from intruders.
After attempting a film on male bonding in DIL
CHAHTA HAI, Farhan Akhtar goes into a different
zone in LAKSHYA, which brings back memories of
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN [1982; starring
Richard Gere] in parts. The young maverick did
leave an indelible impression in his first film
and with LAKSHYA, he consolidates his position
as one of the finest storytellers of India.
However, his storytelling is of the type that
may not find universal acceptance. While the
intelligentsia/gentry/classes will love his
style of narrating a story, the classy treatment
may not appeal to the hardcore masses looking
for entertainment. LAKSHYA suffers on this
Incidents unfold with regular frequency in the
first half of LAKSHYA. The gradual changes in
the protagonist's life - his metamorphosis from
an ordinary to an extraordinary life - is
depicted with ?n. The key characters in his life
- his sweetheart, his stern father, his
ever-loving mother, his friends - all contribute
in making the changeover look convincing.
The sequences in the Indian Military Academy in
the first half [where Hrithik undergoes his
training] have been filmed with flourish. The
entire track, from a non-focused youth to a
cadet, is one of the best parts of the
The flashback, which begins soon after Hrithik
has watched Preity on TV, is another fascinating
aspect of the enterprise. In fact, the goings-on
seem straight out of life, making you realize
that film-making is undoubtedly the director's
Though the story has twists and turns aplenty in
the first half, the problem is that everything
unfolds at a very lethargic and sluggish pace.
In fact, the narrative moves at such an
unhurried pace throughout that an average Indian
cinegoer would start feeling restless after a
While the first half is engaging, despite its
slow pace, the second half disappoints big time.
For, the graph of the film starts sliding
downwards in this half. The war scenes [though
well executed] get boring after a while, more so
because similar scenes had been witnessed a few
months ago in J.P. Dutta's L.O.C.
Besides, the interesting moments come in bits
and spurts in the post-interval portions. For
instance, the intruders eliminating a few Indian
soldiers and only six remaining to accomplish
the mission, is deftly executed. Ditto for the
jawans climbing the rocky peak in the pre-climax
[reminds you of the beginning of the Tom Cruise
starrer MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2] - the sequence is
a novel experience for the Indian audiences.
However, Farhan Akhtar can easily trim at least
15-20 minutes in this half, purely because the
film starts dragging after a point. Even the
songs in the second half can easily be deleted
because they don't contribute in taking the
story forward. Actually, they are a hindrance to
One-film-old Farhan Akhtar takes colossal
strides as a director in his second venture. His
storytelling is riveting, his penchant for
breathtaking visuals is evident in every frame,
plus he has drawn fantastic performances from
the cast. As a technician, he is amongst the
But Farhan ought to keep in mind that more than
visuals, performances and technique, the Indian
cinegoer is thirsting for a spellbinding story
and a taut screenplay, which the second half of
LAKSHYA lacks. Besides, the protracted pace and
refined treatment has its limitations.
Javed Akhtar's script has several interesting
incidents in the first half, but you can hardly
count the intriguing ones in the post-interval
portions. However, the dialogues are flawless
and only a seasoned writer could've come up with
Cinematography is outstanding. The visuals of
North India look mesmerizing and one can't help
but fall in love with the locales. The lighting
during the war scenes is also perfect. Overall,
the film bears an international look.
The action scenes are well executed. Though the
war scenes may meet with diverse reactions
[ladies and kids won't like it], their execution
Music [Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy] is functional, with
just one number leaving a mark, 'Main Aisa Kyun
Hoon'. The choreography [Prabhu Deva] of this
track is awesome. The background music is
LAKSHYA belongs to Hrithik Roshan undoubtedly. A
performance like this comes once in a while and
can compete with the best from across the
Atlantic. The ease with which Hrithik slips into
the character is amazing and the outcome is
spellbinding. If he is lovable as the aimless
youngster, he is admirable as the officer.
Preity Zinta's character Romi is modeled after
renowned TV journalist Barkha Dutt and she
enacts the part with incredible ?n and
authority. Amitabh Bachchan doesn't get much
scope, but his work is commendable. His dialogue
in Marathi will meet with a thunderous response
in Maharashtra mainly.
Om Puri has a few scenes and he does it well.
Amrish Puri is wasted. Of the strong supporting
cast, Boman Irani and Sushant Singh leave the
On the whole, LAKSHYA will meet with diverse
reactions. While the
intelligentsia/gentry/classes will love the
film, those looking for typical Bollywood
masala entertainer will be disappointed. At
the box-office, the film has already taken a
fabulous start everywhere. While the advance
booking status will ensure a cent per cent
response at metros [Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata] in
the first week, the collections will start
cracking at places where the system of advance
booking doesn't exist. From the business point
of view, the film will prove Class 'A' at 'A'
class centres, 'B' at 'B' class centres and 'C'
at 'C' class centres. The business prospects
will be the brightest in Mumbai, but weak in
certain pockets of the country. Also, the
opposition of yet another biggie, DEEWAAR [next
week], will make a dent for sure.