Efforts have been made but could have been much better – 3.0/5.0
A lot of hype has gone into this film – Saif projected to do a serious solo role for the 1st time as against his normal association with comedy
in multi starrers, a big name like Kareena, incessant promos for Arrow shirts, the ban in Pakistan, the list goes on (should I count the nose punching incident?; not sure if that was also part of the script). With so much hype, the final result is a bit disappointing. But not counting the hype generated, it can be termed as watchable in parts.
Saif plays the lead role as Agent Vinod who is a RAW agent & the film is about how he, wi th help from other RAW agents & later Kareena, track & defuse a USSR era nuclear bomb small enough to be carted around in a briefcase but obviously dangerous with a lot of shooting (which also claims Kareena in the end) & a few bombings.
The story takes you around the world starting from Afghanistan traversing Russia, Sri Lanka (in flashback), finally coming through Somalia & Pakistan before coming to New Delhi. There are other multi-cultural settings in the film – Kareena is of Pakistani origin settled in UK & dies in India, another lady is found by Saif in Afghanistan & helps him towards the end of the film in Pakistan. There were naturally conversations in the local language at these places but no translation available. At one level it gives a natural feel to the film, but at another level it meant that many dialogues are missed unless you know those languages.
The pace of the film is too quick at times & editing could have been better. The last half hour was stretched too long. After Kareena dies (don’t know what was the need to make her a martyr, she managed to live long enough to tell the password required to defuse the bomb even after being shot 3 times at close range; could well have lived beyond that as well), just when everyone in the audience thought the film has ended, Saif goes on another mission to UK to track the mastermind of the bomb & with the aim of shifting the blame away from Lashkar onto greedy business tycoons. Though the characters are fictional, there is a direct mention of ISI, Lashkar & powerful people in Pakistan harboring & nurturing terrorism in India which has naturally raised the hackles of the Pakistan authorities resulting in a ban in that country. Probably realizing this, there has been an attempt in the film to project that not all in Pakistan are responsible for the terrorism emanating there – the original ISI chief is shown as having such a good relationship with his RAW counterpart that he promises immediate action the moment he knows of the plan to bomb Delhi (& gets bumped off by others in the Pak ISI establishment who do not like this), Kareena is a Pakistani who tries to help MI6 & just wants to lead a normal life, the Pak ambassador in India is given the benefit of doubt that he is not aware of the planned bombing.
There are 2 songs (not counting the Russian roulette) which are good but again that comes right at the end of the film as if the director / producer (Saif himself) suddenly, as an afterthought, decided that the film won’t run without some songs. Saif & Kareena have acted well. Saif in particular has tried to put up a James Bond type action character with quick thinking & moves.
All in all, watchable once; efforts have been made but could have been much better.