Monday, December 22, 2008


SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA is a sensationalist movie made by writer-director Apoorva Lakhia and loosely based on the real-life stand-off between Mumbai coppers and mafiosi in 1991. The film is structured as an extended oddly sepia-tinted flashback. An apparently antagonistic lawyer (Amitabh Bachchan) interrogates the police chiefs that sanctioned the bloody shoot-out. Sanjay Datt and Sunil Shetty play the rozzers justifying their brutal actions. Vivek Oberoi plays the head of the Mumbai mob, eager to become independent of his Dubai-based boss. The first part of the movie shows cops and gangsters face off against each other and fleshes out their failed marriages and relationships. The second half focuses on the actual shoot out and its ramifications. Any attempt to craft a serious character study is undercut by the lurid shooting style and glorification of the gangster lifestyle in the big song and dance numbers. Worse still, the big item number is a complete rip-off of "Beedi" from OMKARA - down to the item girl's outfit to Vivek's dance style to the actual melody! As for political message - the movie may start out as critical of collateral damage but at the same time it's depiction of violence is pure exploitation cinema. (And let's not even get started on the fascist overtones of Amitabh's closing speech).

SHOOTOUT AT LOKHANDWALA was released in Spring 2007 and is available on DVD.

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