Terrorism is a global issue and varied film-makers across the globe continue to make movies/documentaries/short films that expose the ghastly face and effects of terrorism. Apoorva Lakhia charters that path as well in MISSION ISTAANBUL.
In MISSION ISTAANBUL, there's an Osama replica, bunkers in Afghanistan where he is supposedly hiding, also a television channel that telecasts exclusive footage from the terrorists [its called Al Johara here], a George Bush lookalike... Lakhia seems to have incorporated snippets and vignettes from real-life to celluloid in an effort to make the goings-on relatable and believable.
But, somewhere in between, the fight against terrorism becomes too Bollywoodish as the two heroes eliminate an entire army of terrorists and put an end to the nefarious activities of a TV channel. And that's difficult to gulp!
Perhaps, Lakhia's intentions are right, to make a hard-hitting film that marries realism and fiction beautifully, but the writing indulges in too many cinematic liberties and that's precisely why MISSION ISTAANBUL goes off target.
However, lovers of action fares are in for a treat, since the stunts, action and chase sequences in MISSION ISTAANBUL are truly captivating. Sure, a few sequences aren't for the faint-hearted, but you can't help but put your hands together for these sequences and the men behind those death-defying stunts.
All said, MISSION ISTAANBUL goes off target!
Vikas [Zayed Khan] is one of the most promising journalists in the country. Owais [Suniel Shetty], who heads a controversial Istanbul-based news channel Al Johara, makes him an offer to head the channel. This offer comes at a time when Vikas is undergoing a divorce with his wife Anjali [Shriya Saran].
But little does Vikas know that the decision will change his life forever. Owais is killed and Turkish commando Rizwan [Vivek Oberoi] tells Vikas that if he decides to quit as well, he would be bumped off as well. In a place where the gun has the last laugh, will a journalist survive or will he fall prey like many others?
MISSION ISTAANBUL unravels at a feverish pace and that's most important for a thriller. The story travels from India to Turkey to Afghanistan to Turkey again, in the very first hour. The characters are well-established, the script is laced with incidents that seem straight out of newspapers. Coupled with Lakhia's execution, top notch cinematography and stylish action, the film begins to grow as reel after reel unspools.
But, alas, the film goes for a toss in the second hour. Things actually stagnate as the two heroes turn into super-heroes and combat an army of villains on land, sea and air. By the way, they don't get bruised even once! Lakhia and writer Suresh Nair seem to have substituted action for content and that's the most glaring flaw. In fact, you feel that Lakhia and Nair must've decided to go on a vacation in the second hour, entrusting the responsibility on the stunt directors to conclude the second hour.
There's not much scope for music in the film, but in terms of composition, just one track -- 'Jo Gumshuda' -- is easy on your ears. The Abhishek Bachchan track is such a waste. Even the tune is completely forgettable. Gururaj R.J.'s cinematography is top notch. Action, as mentioned earlier, is the hallmark of the enterprise.
Both Vivek and Zayed come up with competent performances. Vivek does a fine job, essaying his part with ease. But why does he sport a smirk on his face most of the times? The director could've avoided that! Zayed is equally charged. In fact, you witness a new Zayed in this film, the renewed confidence shows. Shriya Saran is wasted. Shweta Bhardwaj does well in stunts, but wears one expression all through.
Suniel Shetty [sp. app.] is as usual. Nikitin Dheer is effective. First JODHAA AKBAR, now MISSION ISTAANBUL, this boy's going from strength to strength. Shabbir Ahluwalia is another talent that needs to be tapped by film-makers. He's very good!
On the whole, MISSION ISTAANBUL rests on action and only action to salvage the show. But that's not enough. At the box-office, this mission won't work!