Every once in a while, there comes along a movie that forces you to think.
Deewaar - Let's Bring Our Heroes Home does that and more. It forces you to think of a legitimate reason for its existence. You will search the depths of your soul, and I guarantee you will fail to come up with an answer.
If you trying to escape from a maximum-security prison, would you do it in broad daylight, when the guards are fresh and alert, or does the cover provided by night seem a better option?
Logic would indicate that after 18 unsuccessful escape attempts, the inmates led by Major Ranvir Kaul (Amitabh Bachchan), would choose the right option. But the makers of Deewaar - Let's Bring Our Heroes Home would have us think otherwise.
The movie revolves around the attempts of 33 Indian prisoners of war, who were captured in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, to get back home. That gave the director, Milan Luthria, ample scope to weave an intriguing story. But it was not to be.
The prisoners eventually manage to escape from the prison, aided by Maj Kaul's son Gaurav (Akshaye Khanna), who has made his way to Pakistan illegally, without any support from the Indian government.
The soldiers are eventually successful in their achieving their objective, helped in no small measure by the journeyman Khan (Sanjay Dutt).
Radhika (Amrita Rao), the female lead, seems to be added as an afterthought. Her contribution to the movie is one song and one chase through the streets of Lahore. She falls in love with Gaurav and when the time comes go back to India, he leaves her behind to fend for herself. So much for true love and gallantry!
A star-studded cast that includes Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and the very talented Raghuvir Yadav has been thoroughly wasted in this farce of a movie.
A true reflection of any movie is often in the tiny details and Deewaar fails in that sense too. The producers, who spent Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million) on the movie, would have us believe that one year of research went into the scripting of the film. If that were really the case, they need to hit the books again.
Authenticity is left far behind, right from the first scene where they show an Army truck crash into a TATA (an Indian company) truck, to the point where they show all the Pakistani soldiers and officers speaking in Hindi. They are even shown counting in Hindi. A little Urdu or Punjabi would have been nice.
Or how about the time when they show the Bullet Enfield (an Indian motorbike) on the roads of Pakistan. Early in the movie, a Pakistan guard recognises a matchbox of Indian make. Amazingly, not one of them manages to notice the bike.
And that's not all.
If 33 prisoners escape from a prison, the police, the national guard, the army and every other armed force would be on red alert. But even as the POWs make their way towards the Indo-Pak border, only three jeeps containing not more than 20 Pakistani soldiers chase them. No helicopters, no artillery support, nothing of the sort.
Strikes you as vague? That's what Deewaar is.
The movie earned a place in the Limca Book of Records for having the highest insurance cover. One wonders whether there is any cover against flopping miserably.
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Akshaye Khanna, Kay Kay, Amrita Rao
Director: Milan Luthria
Producer: Gaurang Doshi
Music: Aadesh Shrivastava
Lyrics: Nusrat Badr