This year has been virtually empty when it comes to film releases . Those that managed to get released before the strike were all major disappointments and the year has been so far not good . The first half of 2009 has almost got over and now we finally have a film that one can look forward to , New York . The film's subject matter is known to everyone and this film is not a typical entertainer . When a production house like Yashraj makes a film like this it is bound to get a bit commercialized . What matters though is that does the core subject matter of the film gets lost under the glossy outside .
The answer to that question is no . Kabir Khan is an intelligent film maker and he had proved that in Kabul Express . This time he re-confirms it . He has made sure that the big cast and budget do not affect the film in any way and affect it only in a positive way . The positive that I see is that when big names and big stars get associated with such a subject the message that the story aims to send reaches a far wider audience than what it would have in case of a smaller budget film .
Talking of film , it starts off in a great way and comes straight to the point . There's no circumlocution and the director makes his point clear right in the beginning that this ain't no usual masala entertainer . The introduction of characters on screen is one of the most powerful I've seen in recent times . The song "Junoon" has been Brilliantly used for this task and I could have never imagined that it would be used in this way . The small love angle that is there in the film is there just for some roughly 20-25 minutes in the beginning and that too done in a very swift and neat way . Time passes by in the film pretty fast and it takes no time for the director to come right from 1999 to 2008 . The whole introduction part has been done in a very fresh and brilliant way . The friendship of all the three characters has been portrayed in a very subtle manner and it is not in your face . They become friends just like normal people do , presentation might be a bit different and large . The emotional connect with the main characters gets established in this part and I must again say Kabir has done this job fabulously .
Once that connect is established , the film gets right down to business and talks of life after 9/11 for an average Muslim person in America . The film moves about in a very fast and a bit thrilling way . It talks about the inhuman torture that the non-american prisoners have to bear in the prison cells and how it got even brutal after the 9/11 attacks . Kabir and the actors have very well understood and felt the subject and carried it off brilliantly on screen . There is this small character of guy who has been traumatised by the treatment he gets for no fault of his own . He is just brilliant . Though a really small part but when he speaks about what happened with him , it shakes you to the core . The actor has done a top quality job for this small part and he has the strongest part apart from the main cast . This is one character that you would remember for a long time even after the film ends .
I don't want to give out many details from the story as it is treated in a way that it would be better if you know them as you watch the film . The little bit of suspense that Kabir has kept has been done in a nice way in the film . The film's story unfolds in a really nice way and it manages to hold attention of the viewer throughout the film . The first half of the film ends strongly and manages to hold the interest of the viewer and keep it alive for the second half .
If majority of the first half is seen through Omar's (Neil) eyes then second half has Sam's (John) view of things . The second half starts afresh and the story moves forward from there and doesn't creep slowly towards the end . The serious tone of the film continues here too and it is this part where the director aims to send out his view on the things and also the message of the film . The way story moves , the end is a bit expected yet the director manages to surprise a bit here too and executes it in an almost perfect manner . The end comes at a proper time and again comes at a swift pace . The film doesn't have any emotional drama yet the emotional connect with the characters is good . Kabir proves his point that one doesn't need long emotional dialogues to establish that connect .
The cast of the film is also great and they all look good together . The friendship of the characters has been portrayed in a very fresh and good way . Katrina , John and Neil look great on-screen together and a good friendly love film can be made using this chemistry . But I guess it won't look as fresh the second time as it did in this one . Too bad that this film has none of that and has only small trailer of what could have been full length Yashraj feature film . The innocence of their friendship and their characters add a lot to the film and make the point of the film even more stronger . The young characters of the film also make sure that the message goes out straight to the young people of our country or as Pepsi calls it , the Youngistaan .
Talking of acting , everybody has done a great job and even Katrina who is accused to be a mere show girl does her part well . John and Neil both have felt the characters in the script and acted out them well . Irfan needs no compliments and he is great as usual . His character is also an important one . The small kid that is there in the film is also great and his really short part is also good .
Music of the film is also good and it has been brilliantly used by Kabir . He has made sure that almost through every song the story keeps moving and the songs don't hinder the pace of the film . In fact the songs have been used in such a way that they add to the film in so many ways . The background score by Julius Packam is great and only in some parts it could have been a bit different . The cinematography by Aseem Mishra is great and he shows new york in a great way . While watching the film I realised that the trailer of the film had been cut in a really brilliant manner and kudos to Kabeer and his team for that . The editing of the film by Rameshwar Bhagat is also good and film is very brisk in nature and moves about at a constant rate .
In all , its a great film and you need to see it to believe it . The script of the film is great and when script is great things generally tend to fall in place automatically . The director Kabir Khan has done a really good job and he needs to be applauded for making a film on this subject . I don't like Aditya's decisions mostly but I respect him for supporting this film and also providing Kabir with a good budget to make it . He should support films like this and look forward and if not many then at least make one such film a year . Kabir is a good film maker and I am now looking forward to his next project , I hope it is also a good one . I would recommend this film to everyone and it is high time that we support good and subject oriented cinema no matter who produces it . If this film works on the box office which I am sure it would then many producers would dare to support such projects and not go for the usual masala entertainers .
Movie Rating : Four out of Five ; A good film made with a good intent .