It has been little over one and a half hours since the wait began. A look at the watch raised hopes. Another 20-odd minutes and my tryst with obnoxious filmmaking would come to an end.
Why do people make such hopeless films? Has the quality of screenplay and direction in Bollywood touched such an abysmal low? Are our actors and actresses really out of work? These are some of the questions I was asking myself, as I watched Raman Kumar's 'incomplete' film Sarhad Paar.
The film does cross the sarhad -- that of the audience's patience. Don't get ideas when I talk of audience -- the only ones around are some couples and a bunch of youngsters. While the couples try to enjoy a private moment, the youngsters are interested more in the off-screen antics than onscreen.
Coming to the film's story, Major Ranjit Singh (Sanjay Dutt), of god-knows what battalion, goes missing in counter-insurgency operation along the shoddily-shown Indo-Pak border. I believe that this is the first time that the Indian Army has been portrayed in such poor light. 'Small' Indian bunkers housing light machine guns are shown to be located on the Pakistani side of the fenced border. Someone please show the border to the director of this film.
Meanwhile, back in his village in Punjab, his wife Pammi (Tabu) and sister Simran (Mahima Choudhary) await a word on the Major's release, even as the villagers proclaim him a martyr by installing his bust at the village crossroad.
Our hero does come back, dishevelled and mentally-sick through the shoddily-depicted (once again) Wagah border. He was supposed to have crossed over along with some other Prisoners of War, but seems like the director lost them in Lahore.
During the course of the film, the audience is informed that the Major was tortured and humiliated across the border (not by the Pakistani rangers but by our typical Bollywood unshaven, fanatical and psychic villain 'terrorists'.
The villain's father comes to the Major's rescue and manages to 'arrange' his official return to his homeland. He also passes information through him of a devious plan that his son was hatching to destabilise the country. I am still to figure out what that plan was. Perhaps, it never made it to the editor's desk.
What happens next is something you DO NOT want to see. You know who will win and who will lose. You get to hear the same old bragging about the victory of goodness over evil and stale patriotism -- something that really makes the audience yawn and wish they had rather seen the sexy Celina Jaitley in Vikram Bhatt's Red.
Oh, I forgot to mention Chandrachur Singh. He plays Dutt's brother-in-law cum terrorist. That's it about him.
The climax is so badly shot that words in the latest Oxford dictionary may seem insufficient. The scene where a sword-wielding Dutt encounters AK-47 bullets without even a body movement may make Chow Yun Fat in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon look like a diaper-clad toddler.
Bad story, bad direction, bad performances; everything is bad about this movie. What really puzzles me is how Nimbus Motion Pictures actually let this movie be released without even finishing it. No wonder, most multiplexes are cancelling its shows.
I give this terrible film a zero star rating. Phew! Now I'm off to the nearest massage parlour.