The first that springs to mind after watching Kurbaan is that how similar it is to the Mani Rathnam movie Dil Se! Of course, both have terrorism as its background but one would assume the similarity ends there…but as I found out, some love stories have inspirations in them!
Cutting to the chase, Kurbaan is the story of Avantika Sharma (Kareena Kapoor) who’s too young to be one but still is a professor of psychology teaching at Delhi University but actually from New York. She runs into brash co-professor Ehsaan Khan (Saif Ali Khan) who charms his way into coffee dates. Before you’ve finished your cuppa coffee, love blossoms and with alma mater beckoning, they have no choice but to return back to NY where Avantika gets Ehsaan a professorial post at her institute. I’ll digress a bit here in pointing out that the college shown – Webb Institute – has only Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering courses…probably they had psychology lectures on the side and also agreed to Ehsaan taking up a lecture on Islam just for KJo’s sake!
Anyways, the professorial couple move into an ‘Indian neighbourhood’ and meet some nice people, including Bhaijaan (Om Puri), Aapa (Kirron Kher) & others and hope to start a blissful life amidst the woods. But bliss is too far away as Avantika finds out one night, courtesy her neighbour Salma (Nauheed Cyrusi) who pleads for help and warns her of a fair amount of danger lurking around them, with people not apparently being what they seem to be. What follows is a web of deceit, mistrust, treachery and cold blooded planning and plotting which forebodes a cataclysmic event. Entwined with all of this is an investigative journalist Riaz (Vivek Oberoi) who must play a deadly game of his own to prevent these events from unfolding.
Now you would say its not even remotely close to Dil Se but I can’t convince you that it does unless I give away crucial story information! Let’s just say that where in Dil Se there were SRK, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta, in Kurbaan there are Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Vivek Oberoi. Then there’s also love amidst deceit, taking unfair advantage of someone’s position, passion fuelled by revenge, holy war, assorted bunch of cohorts, the works. Replace Kashmir with Afghanistan/Iraq and New Delhi with New York and you have the nouveau riche Kurbaan! The story’s credited to Karan Johar, BTW.
Taking nothing away from it, Kurbaan still is a compelling piece of story telling. Director Rensil D’Silva does a commendable job in treading the risky line between narrating a series of events and preaching gyaan to the people. The movie doesn’t take the side of violence as an answer for atrocities nor does it condone it totally. It neither portrays a bad picture of the protagonists but nor does it extol the virtues of holy war against the west. Whilst for many it may seem pointless, I, for one, would agree with it…I don’t want a movie to become some beacon of righteousness or telling me what’s wrong or right. It sticks to its narrative around some happenings and their after-effects.
The lead pair deliver good performances though I’d rather see Saif do breezy roles rather than ones where he looks uptight and ill at ease. He was better in Ek Hasina Thi as the character with the shades of gray and that portrayal was a suave and breezy one. Kareena delivers a mature performance but she should’ve taken a leaf outta big sis’ books as to how to play an understated character (rmr Karisma in Fiza?). Vivek Oberoi does nothing special to shake my non-belief in him as a actor. Om Puri is sadly wasted in this one and Kirron Kher comes across somewhat annoying with her Kabuli accent.
The music of the movie is an asset and probably should’ve been used in a much better way than it was. The climax of the movie, though on predictable lines, is well handled (and thankfully, is different from Dil Se…well, not totally different!) and some would say, was a fitting end. Few sequences stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre and I mean it in a positive way. But its definitely not the most powerful movie to come out this year, as some adarshwadi people would like you to believe.
And hey, don’t take my word for it…see it for yourself. You have as much a right to reject my opinion as I have to pooh-pooh others’