Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shoot On Sight

Shoot On Sight appears a sincerely decent effort by Jagmohan Mundhra whose last film was the Aishwarya Rai starrer Provoked.
it is a fictional story based on London Police order to shoot suspected terrorists after the July 7th 2005 London bombings.

Tariq Ali (Naseer) is a Muslim police officer at Scotland Yard Commander. Ali, born in Pakistan, is married to an English woman, Susan (Greta Scacchi) and with two kids. He is tasked to investigate the police shooting of a suspected Muslim terrorist on the London Underground. Distrusted by both his British superiors in the London police, and his fellow Muslims, he finds his inquiry hampered from all sides.

As Tariq digs deeper in the case, he sees two faces of the world around him. On the one hand are those who view the Muslim community (Tariq included) with suspicion, those who base their rigid opinion about an entire Muslim community on the basis of the actions of just a few. The second face is that of the Muslim community itself, with liberal minded Muslims and fanatic maulvis who hold sway to brainwash the young impressionable minds to the holy war.

As the plot progress, Tariq realizes the existence of a terrorist cell operating in his own backyard, his nephew played by debutant Mikaal Zulfikar.

Throughout the film, Mundhra has tried to retain a neutral stance, neither hailing one as right, nor denouncing the other as wrong. He brings forth the view that the wrongdoings of a certain section of the Muslim community have resulted in all the members being viewed in a negative light. However, not at a single point, there has been an effort to gain sympathy votes. 'Shoot On Sight' let you see a different aspect of London, unlike the glamorized version that is usually showed in Bollywood movies. The movie is more of a social drama than a thriller.

Carl Austin’s screenplay does proper justice to the subject by showing view points of both the sides aptly. The family interplay surrounding Tariq and his clash of values with Westerners, and his patient but increasingly torn wife, who is an outsider to their culture trying to blend in has come out superbly.

As usual Naseeruddin Shah at his best. He looks totally credible and manages to carry off the role with élan. Om Puri, as the hatred-filled radical, fanatic preacher and dangerous Jihadist is impressive, while Greta Scacchi puts a remarkable act. After a long time, we got to see Gulshan Grover in a decent role. At the same time, there was Laila Rouass, doing something more than just looking beautiful. Even Mikaal Zulfikar managed to play his part well.

It is a courageous and bold effort made by the entire movie crew, to bring forth an understanding as to why Islamic terrorists and suicide bombers find reason in what they do. The contemporary topic moves at gripping pace to voice a social message that shocks and teaches at the same time. “Shoot on Sight” very well may fall under the genre of a thriller but it offers an extremely balanced opinion with understanding of all view points concerned.

This isn’t a film that’s in a hurry to get there. But it knows how to value the audiences’ time.

So despite powerful performances from Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, ‘Shoot On Sight’ turns out to be a film that’s strictly average, and even slow at times. It might, however, appeal to those who haven’t watched Mumbai Meri Jaan or A Wednesday.

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