Why did I decide to undergo this torture? Brenden Theatres in Concord was playing this Bollywood movie and when an American establishment plays a Hindi movie, I feel compelled to support it. Alas, I am probably the only Indian who feels this way given I was the only person at the movies. And I didn’t even get my Intermission break!
About Kurbaan – While interviewing for a lecturer position at New York University, Saif Ali Khan’s character (Ehsaan) states that he likes people with opinions. It’s the people without opinions that scares him. Taking that meta-narratively, Kurbaan should be scary since it comes out with no political opinion. The viewer is simply taken through a tale of global terrorism and given honest facts without any sort of social message that resonates home.
Maybe that is where Kurbaan fails as a movie and where New York shined. At the same time, New York almost justified terrorism by glorifying the wronged protagonist while Kurbaan gives us a cold, hard look at the narratives on the global terror platform without casting any judgment or delving into the background of sleeper cell members to find motivations.
Some dialogues are noticeable especially from the lecture hall, which is ironically not preachy. Ehsaan tells us that Jihad is mentioned in Quran only 41 times, while love, peace, mercy, compassion mentioned 355 times. When a White American student argues with Riyaaz (Vivek Oberoi) and tells him to leave the United States if he really feels like America is an oppressor, Riyaaz has quite a reply: “Okay. We will. As soon as you do.”
The United States is criticized for occupying foreign lands and killing innocents but Rensil D’Souza and Karan Johar do not glorify the actions of those who kill in Allah’s name. And this plot element poses an exceptional debate due to Vivek Oberoi’s character–quite similar to that of Neil Nitin Mukesh in New York–who is fantastic in his ‘comeback’ role. He is the saving grace of a movie that falters and looks like a “New York – The Sequel in Philadelphia.”
*Brenden Concord 14 is playing Three Idiots (Aamir Khan) starting on December 23, two days before the Worldwide Premiere. If you live in the North Bay Area and traveling to Fremont is a pain, please support this establishment.