Lakshya: A Review and Ramblings

I liked it a lot, but it was still lacking something….
The cinematography was excellent. I don’t know where they shot the scenes for this movie, but it looks like the Kashmir we saw on the News, and it makes you understand how people can fall in love with the place and willingly give their life for it.

The other point in this movie which really held my interest is that it was based on real events, 90% of it, with of course, some name changes

So Lakshya, is the tale of a guy’s quest to “find himself”, which he does by giving up his nice and spoiled life, to join the army. Then he gets caught in the middle of the Kargil War – India’s first “TV” War.

The Kargil war was important for many reasons. Of course, this is going to sound outrageous to anybody other than myself, but Kargil is one of the roots of September 11th 2001. Pakistan invaded Indian Kashmir, and was repelled the first time. Then before the second round, the Pakistani Prime Minister was summoned to Washington (Nawaz Sharif) by Bill Clinton, and told to Cease and Decist, as India was threatening to take what was then a relatively minor conflict to a higher level. Nawaz Sharif goes back to Pak with his tail between his legs and calls off the whole stupidity. But the General in charge of this operation is pissed. Real Pissed. He knows he could have won this one. So he launches a plan to overthrow Sharif. And Succeeds. That General goes by the name of Musharraf. It is a fact that the Pakistan Army used recruits from neighbouring Afghanistan. It is a fact that these recruits were trained by Bin Laden. It is a Fact that Pakistan was a supporter of the Bin Laden and the Taliban until about afternoon US Eastern time September 11th.

So back to the movie, we’re into cliche here. But let’s get it straight – the director isn’t out to make hard-hitting docudramas. He’s making a Bollywood commercial film, and considering how his first movie (Dil Chahta Hai) was a light-hearted take on youth and friendship, we shouldn’t really expect this movie to be too different. Instead, it’s a light-hearted look at the Army, I guess. Very pro-establishment, but i still respect it for its positive messages. He seems to be saying despite all the negative news you hear – about coffin scams, and human rights abuses, at the heart of it all, your army consists of regular guys voluntarily sacrificing their lives for the protection of your country (Our army consists solely of volunteers. No draft, no conscription, ever. The advantage of 1 billion people).

Having been raised on a Hollywood diet of war movies, most Indian war movies come across as just plain bull, and your first reaction to this one is that there seems to be some naivete about it all. It seems over-romanticised, a bit warm-and-fuzzy. But I feel that is just our jaded, cyncial over-exposed-due-to-negative-media side talking. Maybe the Indian army really is like this. Who’s to say? I’ve never served on a base overlooking the “The Highest Battlefield In The World”, and the fact is that a lot of us haven’t. All we have are anecdotes, and some negative mdeia reports. Let’s cut them some slack.

(WARNING: Inevitable America:India comparison ahead. Read at your own risk)

You can’t really compare this to the Saving Private Ryan’s and Black Hawk Downs simply because those were cases of American soldiers fighting for the woolly notion of Freedom For Mankind (and their own country as a secondary result. If we get rid of Dictator A, then maybe in the future, Dictator A’s country won’t bite us in the ass). It is a rare day that America has been attacked by another country on its own shores on a daily basis. Naturally, the attitudes and behaviour of the military men is going to be different. The Indian soliders are fighting for India’s territorial integrity. It’s their home they’re defending, not a bunch of foreigners from the clutches of some vile dictator. Of course, some people dare to suggest that it is not their home that they’re defending, just a disputed territory. But this Voice would like to dismiss that argument, because as far as this Voice is concerned, Pakistan should rightfully be a part of India too. Anyway, I think it’s highly likely that you won’t come across the jaded, cynical soldier, critical of the authorities, and just doing his job for “the other guys” like the Hollywood fare.

Preity Zinta tries to hold up her end, by being the ‘modern’ woman journalist, apparently modelled on award-winning NDTV journalist Barkha Dutt. But it does seem as though she is just a supporting role, not the lead. This movie seems to be about Man and Mountain mostly(Hrithik Roshan’s Lakshya is to Conquer a Hill).

Phew! There’s a lot more I could say about this movie, but I think this post has become too long! To conclude really quickly and anti-climactically, the Music is good (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy production), the production quality is KICKASS. I mean I could tell that the IAF helicopters flying over Kashmiri mountains were faked, but they were still well done. There are a lot scenes which stayed with me from this movie…
you know I think I’ll go see it again!
Lots of Big actors give cameos. Amitabh Bachchan (a Colonel), Boman Irani (Hrithik’s Dad), Amrish Puri (a General), Om Puri (a “subedar” – I dunno what the English rank is), VJ Yudi (fighting alongside Hrithik) and a whole bunch of others.
A one-time watch for sure…maybe even a classic…

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