4 Very Good

New York

Although Yash Raj Films is considered by many as a production house churning out only romantic and goody-goody films, the fact is that they too have taken the less-trodden path and came up with fantastic and meaningful hatke films (Kabul Express and Chak De! India are the classic examples). Their new offering, New York, too is another hatke flick from this production house. What is impressive about New York is its narrative-it deals with serious topics like terrorism and post-9/11 scenario but at the same time, its impact doesn’t limit itself only to niche audiences. It’s a meaningful film, which caters to all kinds of audiences. And that’s its biggest achievement!

The story of the movie: Omar (Neil Mukesh) arrives at New York to pursue a Master’s Degree at New York State University. Here he meets Sameer aka Sam (John Abraham) and Maya (Katrina Kaif) who become his best buddies. Time flies fast and it was soon time for college to get over. At this point of time, the 9/11 attack occurs which forever changes the lives of these three friends. How this incident affects them adversely and what steps they take to resurrect is what the film is about.

New York strikes a fine balance-it is dealt with maturity and yet manages to strike a chord with audiences of all ages. It is not at all formulaic and the story is narrated in a not-so-usual and interesting style. Also the film doesn’t waste time at all-the story begins from the first scene itself. There are no unnecessary songs, no unwanted scenes-the focus is just on the three main characters.

There are several scenes in the film that would remain etched in one’s mind. The most unforgettable sequence of the film is undoubtedly John Abraham’s flashback. This wonderfully shot and enacted scene will astonish everyone for sure. Even globally acclaimed Khuda Kay Liye failed to give such an outstanding description of the torture cells.

The only flaw was that the film, particularly in the 2nd half, got a little bit confusing at places but still this can be overlooked. However, the film succeeds in giving a powerful message and also an excellent insight about the chaotic situation post 9/11 created by the Bush administration. It also raises a question about the terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks-what did they achieve by those cowardly attacks which they considered as great? In the name of jihad, they ended up devastating the lives of so many people in US who were detained as terrorist suspects.

The climax of the film may seem unacceptable to many. However, the final scene of the film is very impressive.

All the four main actors of the film manage to give one of the best performances of their respective careers! No matter how hard John Abraham tried to give a brilliant performance in the past, he always ended up receiving appreciation for his fab body. This was evident especially during Dostana. However for New York, he would surely be liked by everyone for his brilliant performance only! He rocks the screen from the first scene itself and manages to give a praiseworthy performance. Watch out for him in the torture scenes and in the climax. Keep rocking, John!

As expected, Neil Mukesh gives yet another outstanding performance after Johnny Gaddaar! In fact, it was Neil who dominates the first half and does a great job. Like John, he too impresses a lot in the climax. Katrina Kaif surprises! She was always accused of not being to able to act and speak in Hindi. Post-New York, she would be considered not only as a glam-doll but also as a wonderful actor.

Irrfan Khan as FBI Agent Roshan as usual comes up with an outstanding performance. He also provides some comic moments in between! Nowaz, who played Shahana Goswami’s husband in Firaaq, has a small but an important role in the film and he does a fine job.

Pritam’s music is good, but not as great as his other works. Two songs stand out-Hai Junoon and Mere Sang. In addition, the film also has two instrumentals composed by Julius Packiam which are intriguing and haunting. Mere Sang is probably one of the best picturised songs of the year. Watch out for the scene in the song when John is walking down the street and a group of protestors pass by carrying textual posters of ‘Buck Fush’!

Aseem Mishra’s cinematography was perfect. The lensman performs better in the detention scenes. Rameshwar Bhagat’s editing was flawless.

Aditya Chopra surprises as the writer of the film. It’s great to see a person like him coming up with such out-of-the-box stories. Sandeep Shrivastava, who earlier wrote the screenplay of Ab Tak Chappan, excels through his screenplay and dialogues. Screenplay was unique since the film doesn’t pace ahead in the typical way.

Kabir Khan had already proved himself with his first feature film, Kabul Express. However, the film failed to do a terrific job at the BO since it was more of a docu-drama. However, in New York, he manages to come up with a sensitive, intelligent film that caters to a large audience.

On the whole, New York is a brilliant film to say the least. It not only gives a message, but throws a light on the wrong-doings of the Bush administration which devastated the lives of many. At the same time, it raises many questions. Brilliantly executed, wonderfully performed, New York will surely be remembered for a long time!