Friday, 26 June 2009

NEW YORK film review - 5 stars. The film carries an emotional impact and seeds a bed of uplifting pride for the people of America

By Devansh Patel
Observer, London

New York review

It's plainly evident that all of the film makers of the world have approached the subject matter of 9/11 with appropriate honour and respect. So far so good. But when you sit for two and a half hours and come out of the screening rooms watching a film like New York, you tend to say – So good and so true.

I was worried walking into Kabir Khan's “New York”. Not that it was “too late” or “one more” for a 9/11 movie. I had other concerns. I was worried that Kabir would take this opportunity to get on his soapbox about some conspiracy or another. I was worried that can John Abraham surpass his Taxi 9211 performance for once. I was worried that will Neil be still remembered as Johnny Gaddar. I was worried whether Katrina Kaif could ever act in a film. And most of all, I was worried that a Bollywood film about 9/11 would be rife with swelling strings and easy answers. Well, for the entire film, my worries were unfounded.

The film revolves around three best friends from the New York State University and an FBI officer Roshan (Irrfan Khan) who are dragged into the aftermath of 9/11 with series of unwinding events making their lives a living hell. Omar (Neil Nitin Mukesh) plays a fresher from India who slowly but surely falls for Maya (Katrina Kaif) but is not able to confess his love to her. Enter Sam (John Abraham) who plays the cool dude American with panache. In a bizarre twist of fate and love, it is Maya who kneels down and proposes Sam. But during that one sweet moment which takes place post intermission, the film must've already taken you into hundreds of breathtaking moments pre interval. The plot may not be rocket science but the scenes, thrills and the suspense is, and for that my good friend, you need to buy the tickets to the most thought provoking movie Yash Raj Films has ever come up with (When was the last time you heard a Yash Raj Film was called 'thoughtful'?)

New York isn't about demeaning the Americans, oh no!. New York has no histrionics. It is simply a strong story telling without being preachy, involving us with the life of three friends and by default, the many whose lives were touched by this unforgettable tragedy. The script carefully walks the line between reverence and worship, emotion and manipulation. With only a blink of an eye exceptions, the material is handled with surprisingly delicacy.

New York is difficult to watch based solely on the 9/11 events it portrays, for which one may get offended but with its welcomed catharsis it's not likely to offend many. By the end of the movie I asked myself a question – What did Kabir Khan made me think about? The answer – In a nutshell, he made me remember that the United States of America was built on the hearts and resolve of its citizens.

Performances have to be witnessed than to be written about, but I'll still write them down. In order of no preference, I'd rate New York as a film completely based on four powerhouses of performers. Irrfan Khan, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh and to everyone's surprise...Katrina Kaif. Yes, you heard! What other directors since half a decade could not achieve, Kabir Khan managed to pull it off. Thus giving Kaif her most memorable role ever. I remember meeting John and telling him that it's going to be impossible to topple his Taxi 9211 performance. But he too proved me and his audiences wrong. John Abraham, please take a bow! Your performance don't deserve points but pat on your back...not butt! Neil Nitin Mukesh thankfully will no longer be remembered as 'Johnny Gaddar' now but as Omar. Neil is simply a crowd puller and it's time we Aa Dekhe Zara this boy from Bollywood. Cannot speak much about this man called Irrfan Khan because he is what he is and the best there ever is in our industry. There was no need to call him a 'museebat'. Jokes apart, in using his eyes to convey anguish, Irrfan delivers the gravitas of the circumstances with style and substance. Hats off!

Kabir Khan gives us an unshakable bird's eye view of the city of New York through the weary perspective of the individuals caught in the vicious circle of detainees while the rest of us remained stuck in shock on the sidelines.

Production values are excellent, from the editing to the interaction between the two friends, Sam and Omar to Omar and Roshan to Maya and Omar, the scenes are not trivialised as tension builds and the story reaches its dramatic crescendo. Dialogues and the Background scores are powerful. Cinematography is soothing to the eyes and the songs take you on an emotional high. New York is an absorbing and riveting film. It is in this context that Kabir Khan succeeds in delivering an insightful and powerful snapshot of one of the stories of courage, determination, love and hope from that fateful day in September. New York carries a gigantic emotional impact and seeds a bed of uplifting pride for the people of America.

New York serves as a catalyst for the manner in which we all shake our heads in disgust to imagine how we all have a tendency to forget the sanctity of humanity on any given day.

Rated as – 5 on 5 – Observer, London.

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