Farhaan Akhtar must have had some sort of insecurity when he started to make Lakshya. If he did want to make a war movie, there was absolutely no reason to disguise the real content of the movie in this way. Lakshya, in the end, is nothing else but a well-disguised and well-presented war movie. The movie does talk about the frustrations, ideology and final salvation of an individual but the backdrop is beautifully crafted as the Kargil war between Indian soldiers and Pakistani mercenaries-cum-soldiers.
Hrithik Roshan is Karan Shergill, who wanders around in his laid-back style and weird yet suitable hairstyle and is reminded, more often than digestible, by his girlfriend that he does not have any 'lakshya' in his life. The girl friend is Preity Zinta, who plays the role of the journalist Romilla Dutta. She does look good in her new hairstyle and some exceedingly well-chosen outfits that suit not only her personality but also the kind of role that she plays. The movie begins in the present with Hrithik having just joined the regiment headed by Colonel Sunil Damle, played to perfection and yet wastefully by Amitabh Bachchan. In fact, any other actor could have played the character of Sunil Damle and Amitabh was not really required for the role. If at all Farhaan wanted to effectively use the services of an actor of Amitabh's caliber, he should have chosen a meatier role for him and could have actually shown him to have some real influence on Lieutenant Karan Shergill finding his 'lakshya' (the aim of his life).
As it turns out in the flashback, Karan was a laid back person studying in Delhi and having absolutely no idea as to what he wanted to do with his life and career. Boman Irani, who is insipid in his small role, plays the well-enacted character of his father. It probably is a tribute to his astonishingly good comic performances in his last two movies that a relatively serious role in this movie, albeit small, may not be appreciated. Karan is in love with his classmate Romilla who has plans to follow in her father's footsteps and take up journalism as her career. Romilla is the steadying influence in Karan's life and she encourages him to take his first decision when he decides to go for an army career. When Karan comes back from the Military Academy days later because of the strict regimen there, Romilla greets him with disdain and literally tells him to either be a man and stick to his guns or beat it.
Karan re-joins the IMA, becomes a competent army officer and is posted to Kargil sector. He comes back home, vindicated for the cruel (tsk...tsk) remarks of his girl friend. He even takes revenge in a scene where he calls up Romilla and when she wants to meet up, tells her that since she decided not to meet, he will be the one to decide when to meet....ridiculous, what?
Anyways, he is called back from his vacations when the war starts and that is when the movie really picks up the pace. With Romilla too joining the war scene as the reporter (remember she wanted to be a journalist) covering the war for her news channel, the story moves into top gear. The war scenes are well enacted and directed. Instead of wasting the footage trying to do justice to all the big names in the movie (as was the case with earlier war movies like Border and LOC), the war is shown with Karan as the central character and it does make the necessary difference. Somehow, the viewer is able to identify netter with the theme and the individual frustrations and adrenaline rush of the soldier. Hrithik Roshan does a fine job with some well brought out emotions at the correct places. He subtly manages the change from the laid back Karan to the extremely disciplined and determined Lieutinant Karan Shergill. The change in hairstyle and the clothes are definitely helpful but he also seems to have grown as an actor since Koi Mil Gaya. Preity Zinta is good in her role and does look like a journalist. She has avoided the temptation to look glamorous and has instead gone for a look and acting style that suits the character of Romilla Dutta, the journalist, to the tee. Amitabh Bachchan and Om Puri are excellent, as usual, but utterly wasted. Having watched the movie and the utter lack of space that Amitabh had, I seriously failed to understand the hullabaloo over the casting of this movie and Farhaan's said disputes with Amitabh.
Farhaan Akhtar has done a good job if he wanted to make a sincere war movie that is shown from the perspective of the current generation whose members are widely believed to have no aim in life and even if they do have some aim, those aims are frivolous according to many. He has succeeded in making the viewer empathize with Hrithik's character and finally rise to a crescendo with Karan Shergill realizing that the aim of his life is to fight for his country's honor and his actually achieving this aim by winning an army post from the Pakistanis in the Kargil war.
The music and songs are good and do not look out of place in the flashback portion despite the 'Main aisa kyun hoon' song actually coming out of nowhere. The songs in the second half, although a part of the story and supplementing the mood, somehow seem to be an extra. The background music is unexpectedly quiet for a war movie but does set the mood as and when required. Also, since most of the movie is shown from an individual's perspective, the silences and the tastily done background score suitably reflect the pensive atmosphere in the second half.
To summarize, if you want to watch the movie because it might give you a taste of Dil Chahta Hai, please stay at home. If you want to watch the movie as the second of the three June releases of Amitabh Bachchan, please stay at home. If you want to watch a movie that entertains you without requiring you to put the slightest stress on your mind (Main Hoon Na, anyone???), please stay at home. If you want to watch a sincere, well crafted, in its own genre movie that entertains you as much as it makes you think, you have your Lakshya.
Posted at 11:29 pm by Nitai